Hello from Arizona! Part 1

Oh my!  I had no intentions of there being more than 3 months between posts, but I’ve been so preoccupied with so many things!  I can’t believe how much time has passed though — and how much has happened since then.  Yikes, I think I’ll break the catching up into parts!  😉

August 28th we headed to Arizona to house shop.  We knew Realtor had more than 20 homes waiting for us.  When we contacted him the next morning we were down to 18 (I think).  We were looking for a 4 BR, 3 Car, single story with a pool, and it had to be a regular sale (no short-sale or foreclosures).  We were okay with a 3BR that had a office/den, too.  I was hoping for an eat-in kitchen in addition to a formal dining room.  I had to make sure there was space for my piano and china cabinet I bought in Japan, and a nice sized backyard for the puppies.  It is amazing what got weeded out based on the piano, china cabinet and puppy yard.

Before we started we sat down with Realtor and got all the Arizona ‘rules’ explained to us.  It was a little shocking to us how fast things would move.  We could make an offer in the morning and be signing our contract that evening.  The market moved so much faster here than in California and I was a little very overwhelmed by some of the panic in my brain!  To top it off, Realtor told us that to make ourselves more competitive we would make an offer on multiple properties, at the same time 😮

Then we started looking at houses.  I began to feel like Goldilocks!  Too big, too expensive, too small, too scary (seriously…there was dried blood on the floor of one of the kitchens).  And then — Just right!  There was one home we called the Saddle House because it had some western and English saddles in the decorations.  When we walked in we immediately saw ourselves living there.  We tended to walk in different directions when we first went into a house.  In this particular house we both started calling out to the other with features we had found that were perfect for us.  There wasn’t a formal dining area, but the eat in area of the kitchen was huge and there would be no problem with the china cabinet.  There was a family room and a formal living area so there was no problem with the piano.  The backyard had a wonderful patio, a huge grassy area for the puppies and the pool was already fenced in.  The master was on the opposite side of the other 3 bedrooms.  My first question to Realtor was “what’s wrong with this house?”  His response….”It’s a short-sale that will go into foreclosure in 30 days.”  When I asked him why he even bothered to show it to us he said that there had already been an offer on the house that had gone to the bank.  Unbeknownst to the bank, though, the buyer had backed out.  The bank was still processing all the paperwork and the seller was hoping to get another, exactly the same, offer from someone else before telling the bank and hoping the bank would continue processing and not start over.  Our financial situation was 10x stronger than the previous buyer.  We had a pre-approved loan, we had more money to put down, we were ready to close in less than 30 days.  We made an offer that matched what the house was listed for.  They.Would.Not.Give.Our.Offer.To.The.Bank!!!!  Turned out the listing was for less than the original listing.  They would not communicate with us at all!  They never gave us a chance to change our offer, or anything.  We were just so heartbroken.

All of this occured in 2 days time and we continued to look during that time.  The first day we found some other homes that we were almost equally pleased with.  Naturally none of them left us both happy.  I like one, he didn’t like it.  He loved that one, I didn’t care for it.  He loved that one, I felt it was too expensive, even though I like it too.  I loved that one, he felt it was too expensive.  It was very depressing.

The second day we found another home that we both fell in love with.  Again to Realtor “what’s wrong with it?”  He called Seller and they told us there were some stricter wants from them.  Close in 30 days.  Waive the appraisal.  5 days for inspection (7-10 is normal).   The price was right at the top of our limit.  We contacted our bank and they said there was no way they could do the inspection in 5 days.  There were a lot of other communications problems with our bank, but in hindsight I think we had a new loan person.   So we hunted for a new lender.  By the time we found one (we’re talking hours, not days) we had figured out – by them not getting back to us – that we weren’t going to get the Saddle Property.  We had the offer drawn up on this new property and went back to looking while we waited on a counter or refusal.

We decided to not stick around as long as we first thought and headed back a day and a half earlier.  The whole drive back I couldn’t get excited about the offer.  I loved the house and could definitely see myself living there, but something was off.

Ended up, the appraisal came back way too low for the lender, plus, because it was a “flip” (any home in Arizona being sold less than 3 months after it was purchased is considered a flip) – a 2nd appraisal was required by law, and that was too low as well.  The inspection came back with some interesting information and we used that to get out of the contract, since the Seller didn’t want to make any of the repairs we asked for.

It was very disappointing.  I had to give myself some mental time off from house hunting because since my return I was only working 4 hours a day, the other paralegal was still out on maternity leave, the attorney I was working directly for had just accepted a job with another firm, and there was a huge trial coming in 1 week.  Stressed?  Yeah, a little.

Fortunately, the Sunday night before trial started, our case settled.   I could focus more on the other cases we had that needed transferring or settled so my attorney could get ready for her new job.  Less stress!  I started talking to M about house hunting again.

Then, out of nowhere my attorney got accepted for an intern position in DC.  She had been hoping this would happen, and they accepted her for the position that was available in January, so that stress was relieved some too.  I started talking to Realtor about house hunting again.

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