We’re getting a human!!!

You all know in mid December Girl Ninja and I will be adding a puppy to the household, but we just found out last Thursday we will also be adding a human to the mix!!! No, no. Not a baby.

A roommate.

We were at a Young Life meeting (a high school outreach we are a part of) last week and one of our fellow adult friends mentioned she was moving out of her current apartment. I jokingly said, “Want to live with us?”.

To which she responded something like “Wait, are you serious?”.

I looked at Girl Ninja, and we did that thing married couples do where we have a whole conversation with our eyes without saying any words, and responded “Yeah, why not!” 

She came over last Friday and looked at the place and she’s all for it. She’ll be joining the family Mid October. Seeing that we want to be the coolest landlords to have ever existed, Girl Ninja and I made a “list of demands” that our new roommate must meet if she wants to stay in our home. Those demands are as follows…

  1. She has to live WITH us. She can’t be all awkward and isolate herself from us. She isn’t renting a room in our house, she’s renting the whole thing. She has just as much of a right to the living room, piano, bathroom, and kitchen as we do. She can come and go as she pleases, and she doesn’t need to check in with us if she wants to have people over.
  2. She can’t sign a lease. We aren’t just renting a room in our house to a random person, we’ve served in ministry with this girl for over a year now and want to keep things friendly. She’ll move in Mid October and she can move out a week, a month, or a year later for all we care. She told us she was thinking she’d crash for about six months.
  3. We will collect rent. We are thinking probably $400/month -all utilities included- would be a good “friend deal”. She is currently paying about $700/month, and while we could definitely charge close to that for our place, we don’t need to. She’s pumped because she gets to save $300 a month. We’re pumped because we get to help a friend save some money. Oh, and we told her that we plan to use her “rent” money for the good of the house. We’ll be reinvesting all of her payments directly back in to making our living space more comfortable. Maybe that means upgrading the dishwasher, adding in some canned lighting, or changing out carpet.

The best part about this whole thing is that she is moving in Mid October, and if you recall, I am leaving for The Netherlands, for six weeks, starting November 1st. That means, Girl Ninja wont have to be home alone while I’m gone! Instead she’ll be making orange mocha frappuccinos, painting her nails, and listening to Celine Dion with one of her good friends. That is what girls do in their free time right? 

So yeah, we are getting a human. We’ve always flirted with the idea of “communal” living and talked about which of our friends we would be cool living with. Now we get to give it a shot.

Would you ever rent a room in your house out? 

Finally getting settled…and dropping mad benajmins

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I’m happy to announce my six-week blogging hiatus is coming to an end! Girl Ninja is back to work, which means she is going to bed at her regular time of 6pm (okay really like 9:30pm). So after she hits the sack, I can hop on the old computer and pound at the keys a bit. Missed you peeps.

I’ve pretty much spent every free moment these last two weeks making our house less sucky. I’ve been up to the following things as of late…

    • changing light fixtures and motion sensors (haven’t electrocuted myself yet!)
    • painting the walls and trim
    • buying and returning area rugs (we are on our fifth try)
    • freaking out about how much we are spending
    • dropping mad skrilla on some new appliances
    • learning how to paint our nasty kitchen cabinets
    • putting fake security alarm stickers on our doors/windows
    • pricing out faux wood blinds
    • having a plumber tell me it is going to cost $600 to have a water line ran to our fridge, only to learn via YouTube I can do it for about $50 myself
    • visiting Home Depot a frustratingly high number of times per week
    • axing down trees and making our jungle of a backyard look a little more tame

I’m leaving the country for six weeks starting in November, so I’m trying to get as much of this house stuff done as possible before I fly the coup. It’s totally rewarding to see the house take a new shape each day as we keep plugging and chugging to make our house a home. I had $10,000 budgeted for all these odds and ends, but at the rate we are spending that sure wont last long…haha.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I still have random moments where I’m like “Why am I not still a renter?”, but then I just look at our freaking huge backyard and the scratches I’ve put in our hardwood floor and remember “Oh yeah, because owning this stuff, instead of borrowing, it is fun and exciting too.”  

I don’t know how people can buy houses only putting 3% down, starting off with negative equity would make me feel trapped, where at least now I know if we end up hating this house a year from now, we shouldn’t have a problem selling it thanks to a large down-payment.

Renting is legit, and so far owning is too. Only time will tell which one is best for us 😉

 

Box by box

We moved in to our house over the weekend! WOOOHOOOO!!!! It’s about freakin’ time considering we’ve owned the place for over a month now. We spent all last week painting the ceilings and walls before we moved furniture in (which was the best decision ever). Getting all our stuff out of storage and in to the house was a nightmare, but we are in and that’s all that matters.

Now we just have about eight million boxes to unpack and sort through. I’m hoping this weekend (Labor Day) there will be some good sales on appliances. Our fridge could use some updating, and if the deals are good enough, may update the gas range and dishwasher as well.

On Wednesday night, Girl Ninja is going out for dinner and drinks with some friends so I plan to upload all my Europe pics and I’ll write a blog post about our trip 🙂

For now, I need to get back to unpacking before Girl Ninja starts hitting me. 

Here are a few pictures of our (limited) progress of the main spaces. They are by no means done, but when they are, I’ll be sure to give you the full tour 😉

Old Living Room…

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New Living Room…

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Screen shot 2013-08-27 at Aug 27, 2013, 12.28.48 AM

Old Kitchen Nook…

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New Kitchen Nook:

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Didn’t know our house came with beef stew

So I was too lazy to count the actual votes for the Goosebumps inspired “pick your own path” game we played yesterday. Of the five or so options I pitched for today’s blog post, two were clearly the favorite: 1) A recap of our time in Europe. 2) A post about the garbage that was left behind for us when we bought our house. 

Seeing that I don’t have my camera cord immediately available, I’ve decided to write about the garbage situation. Fear not, however, as a Europe post will be coming in the next few days.

If you recall, we got the keys to our house about six hours before we were leaving the country. At first glance, things seemed alright. But after our realtor left, we finally felt the excitement of ownership. We could finally be in our house, without someone else having to be present. We could do whatever we wanted!

We started opening every drawer, closet, and storage space we could find. We were discouraged to find a decent amount of garbage and junk left behind. Our basement freezer had some nasty looking beef stew and short ribs stored in Tupperware. There was some kind of soup, about 20 bottles of cheap alcohol, and a ton of other food items left behind.

But what really irked me was our utility room. 

They left behind about 40 cans of paint. I get that a seller might leave some paint behind so the new owner know what paint to get for touch ups. That’s not what this was. The house was built in 1930 and my hunch is that every can of paint that has ever gone on a wall in the house has been passed on from one owner to the next. We spent a solid hour clearing the paint cans, paint thinner, stain, grout, etc out of the utility room and setting them in our driveway. My excitement was now frustration.

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What’s more, when we did our final walk-through a few days before we took possession, I noticed there were three lawnmowers and a wood chipper near our backyard storage shed. One of the mowers appeared to be working, the other two had clearly been retired long ago. I was hoping the sellers would leave the working lawnmower  with the house so I didn’t have to go out and buy one.

They didn’t. 

But what they did do was leave us the two non-functioning mowers and the huge inoperable wood chipper. I was sensing a patterns. The sellers took everything they wanted, and left behind everything they didn’t. This was especially true for things they couldn’t just throw away in the regular garbage can (paint and lawnmowers). What should have been there problem, was quickly becoming mine.

While we were in Europe, we decided to have the house professionally cleaned. Fourteen hours of cleaning, and $450 later, our house finally felt ready to be lived in. We sent an invoice to the sellers for reimbursement and made them pick up the garbage we piled up in our driveway.

Taking possession of the house was easy, getting the sellers to uphold their contractual obligations, not so much.

At least it’s over and now we get to do fun things like paint!!!

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We are no longer renters.

Over the weekend Girl Ninja and I packed up our tiny little 700sqft apartment rental and threw all our stuff in a storage unit. We take possession of our house on Wednesday at 9pm, but leave at 3am the next morning to take 50 high school kids to summer camp for a week. What’s more,  24hrs after we get back from Malibu British Columbia we hop on a plane for a two week trip to Europe.

So even though we get the keys to our pad on Wednesday, we won’t actually be in the house for another month. We wished we could have closed a day or two earlier so we could have avoided the storage unit issue, but the sellers were unwilling to budge. Note to future self, don’t offer a close date the night before a significant life event.

We were super sad moving out of our rental. In fact here is a picture documenting our sadness as we checked out of our apartment (note Girl Ninja’s amazing carpet lines!)…

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I think we are particularly fond of renting for one primary reason: we have always made friends with our landlords.

While the amenities offered at a large apartment complex are great, we just couldn’t give up the benefits of having a personal relationship with your landlord. For example, our landlords love us so much they gave us back our full security deposit… before we even began moving out! How awesome is that!? I bet ya a million dollars no large rental complex would do that!

So while we close this chapter of life we look forward to opening a new one. I can say with confidence renting doesn’t suck, hopefully the same will be true for home ownership.

When you were a renter did you prefer the big apartment complexes or renting from a single owner? Have any renting horror stories (we don’t)? Those of you that own, do you ever miss the freeing feeling of knowing you can move whenever you want?

How much are closing costs?

Girl Ninja and I agreed to pay all closing costs associated with the purchase of our first home. Now that we are approaching the final stretch of this purchasing process (we sign papers tomorrow), we’ve received the paperwork that breaks down all these pesky fees. Spoiler alert: It ain’t pretty.

Here’s how those costs break down on our $285,600 loan amount…

    • Loan Origination Fee – $2,856
    • Processing Fee – $795
    • Wire Fee – $25
    • Appraisal Admin Fee – $50
    • Appraisal Fee – $425
    • Credit Report – $33
    • Tax Services – $77
    • Flood Certification – $10
    • Settlement or Closing Fee – $821
    • Lender’s Title Insurance – $649
    • Courier Fee – $50
    • Government Recording Charges – $225

Total Fees: $6,015

But wait…. there’s more!!!!! 

We also have to pre-pay some items…

    • Interest for 15 days – $513
    • Hazard Insurance Premium – $600
    • Hazard Insurance Reserves – $100
    • Property Taxes for Six Months – $1,450

Total Pre-Paid: $2,663

So all said and done we are dropping $71,400 as a down payment, and another $8,678 on fees and pre-paid items.

Or in other words we will be $80,000 poorer once we get the keys. Wowzers.

  1. How much did your closing costs run?
  2. Did you pay them or have the seller pay them?
  3. Remind me why buying a house is a good idea…haha.

p.s. It should be noted that when one negotiates “seller paid closing costs” the buyer is still paying them. I get irritated when people brag that they had the sellers pay their closing costs, as though they’ve negotiated some majestical deal. You agreed to a higher loan amount so you don’t have to pay closing. I agreed to a lower loan amount, but will pay them. It’s just a matter of paying those costs today, or paying them back over 30 years at 4.125% interest. 

Thursday poll on Friday

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Discuss.