Wednesday, March 28, 2007

1001 Days (Y1/M11/D28)

It's been a few months since my last 101 in 1001 update so here we go:

26. Rent the entire Lost series and watch it in bed marathon-style during a rain storm. Unless it sucks. Then maybe go with Twin Peaks.

March 27, 2006 finished finished Season 1, Season 2 is in the house. Although, I've heard from one of the writers that I shoudl "prepare to be disappointed". That was heartbreaking because I am so loving the show right now.

32. Throw a party for at least 20 people.

December 2006: Latke Palooza.

36. Call Ray and catch up.

I've called you twice, Ray. Ball's in your court.

39. Make some new girlfriends.

I'm counting old law school friend who now lives near me as "new." So, check!

44. Write a novel. Even if it sucks. Maybe during NaNoWriMo.

March 28, 2007. Started.

65. OMG. Change car insurance carriers!

January 26, 2007. After being divorced for over five years, I finally got my own separate car-insurance policy. God bless my ex-husband, the man has the patience of a saint. Seriously.

(So that's seventeen down in about eight months. To be on track, I need to knock out around fifteen more this year. Eep! I better get busy.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

House Number the Fourth (Y1/M11/D27)

We bid on another house (for those of you keeping score at home, this is house number 4). This house could be The One for a few reasons: (1) we are currently the only bidders; (2) this is an U-G-L-Y house; and (3) it's too expensive for an investor to come in and flip but it needs too much work for your average home buyer.

I like it a lot because it doesn't need any construction. That is, the square footage is pretty good (over 1,700) and the floor plan is well laid out. It's also on a nice big lot on a wide quiet tree-lined street. It has new windows, a newer roof and newer central heat and air. Other than that: Oy.

The kitchen and both baths need to be gutted (love those pastel pink toilets!). The acoustic/popcorn ceilings need to be scraped. The carpet all has to be ripped out and the original hardwoods restored. Both the interior and exterior need painting. It also needs all new landscaping; it's overrun with birds of paradise and succulents and and unidentifiable shrubs. I'm hoping that I can get all that work done (including some DIY) for under $100k. Optimistic, no?

Anyway, we should know something by Friday.

If we get it, I don't even know where we'll start. I guess there are two smaller bedrooms that just need paint and carpet removal, so we'll do that and live in those while everything else is getting torn out.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

DIY Stuffed Animals (Y1/M11/D23)

So, E got me this book that teaches you how to make Stupid Sock Creatures and it's been really fun and soon I will post photos (but my camera is STILL not talking to my laptop). Anyway, after making a few I got interested in "soft sculpture" which to me basically means: stuffed animals. And I came across this amazingly talented woman in Astoria, Queens. And these are pictures of her work (lifted from 425sqft art). Man. These are adorable and brilliant.

That is all. Carry on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Could it be House Number the 4th? (Y1/M11/D21)

E and I have been up to many things lately. For example, we went to see John Lovitz at the Laugh Factory (rather good!). And after we went to Greenblatt's Deli and they really do have the world's best rare roast beef just like it says on the menu. Also, they advertise a number of sodas "with cane sugar." And, it's a little embarrassing, but I didn't realize corn syrup is not Kosher. It just never dawned on me (apparently because I am a very bad Jew). Anyway, you can read about it here and here.

We also went hiking in Runyon Canyon (no, not that same night) with Sidney and our neighbors who have a very sweet Wheaton Terrier that plays with Sid. There, Eric and I discovered that we are simply not physically fit. But the view from the top of the canyon is pretty great and you do feel great after it's all over. And not just like: "Wow! I'm glad that's over!" More like: "Hey, I got off my lazy butt! Go Team Me!"

And there was lots of other stuff too, but honestly, it all blurs together because house hunting takes up so much of my energy. (No! Really?) Anyway. We are interested in another property which I lovingly refer to as: The Crappy House ("TCH"). You wanna know how crappy it is? Okay, twist my arm... I'll tell you!

In the back yard there is a big ole pool cover. You know the kind? It rolls onto a giant pole at one end of the pool and you use a crank? Like this? Okay, so there's one of those in the back yard. But guess what? There's no pool. That's right. And there never was. There's just this giant pool cover on what appears to be a broken crank. It's awesome. Apparently, an older couple lived in the house and eventually they went to the hospital and did not come back. And nobody has lived in the house for quite some time and their heirs have come and picked through the belongings (and apparently dropped off a pool cover) but the house is just sitting there. And I'm not sure but I think they are just selling the house with whatever crap is in it. E is particularly interested in an autographed photo of Liza Minelli that is framed and just laying in a corner of one of the rooms. I noticed a very odd little brass squirrel about the size of my thumb. His facial expression is kind of rabid/crazed. Why would anybody buy a little brass rabid squirrel? Needless to say, the house needs a major overhaul but it's in kind of a fancy pants neighborhood so it might be worth it. We don't want to bid too early because that has burned us before. Instead, we are just lurking in the shadows. As always, I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I know Dr. McDreamy (Y1/M11/D7)

I decided to give y'all a rest from my real estate trials and tribulations and impress the hell out of you with my celebrity connections. Seriously, People, prepare to be impressed. Ready? I have a very personal connection with Doctor McDreamy. Yup. I do. Ya see, when I was just a wee girl of eighteen (maybe nineteen) I worked with Mr. Dempsey in one of his finer films: Loverboy. Sure, I was just an extra in the pizza parlor scene where Mel (of Mel's Diner fame) comes storming in and jumps over the counter. But nonetheless, I was paid and that means we worked together. Awesome! (Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a bit when I said "very personal connection;" "sighting" would probably be more accurate. But I'm trying to create some excitement over here. Sheesh.)

Okay. I have to go and scour the MLS. Love ya! Mean it!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

House Number The 3rd: REVEALED! (Y1/M11/D 6)

Hi! Crazy Girl here to vent some more.

It's been four days since we made the FULL PRICE offer. Technically, it expired twenty-four hours ago. And still no response (but they keep saying a response is coming). I have now convinced myself that my offer is the best offer they have and they are calling all other bidders to submit "best and final" offers. Which is truly annoying.

My agent mentioned that they already have a cash offer but she doesn't know how much. But if they had a full-price cash offer they would have called me to get me to either up my price or to tell me that the sale is pending, right?

So annoying.

UPDATE: So the sellers went with a different full-price all cash offer with a 21 day escrow. Seriously, People. I'm never going to find a house.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Housing OCD (Y1/M11/D5)

I am having major anxiety about the response to our bid. Seriously, I have mental problems. How else can you explain the fact that I've run through approximately 50 counter offer scenarios before the poor seller has even had a chance to respond?

You think I'm kidding about being a total nut job? I am not. Consider these additional facts: E and I went by the open house on Sunday just to get a more solid idea of what work is needed on the home and when I went into the master bedroom there was a woman with a measuring tape measuring the bed. First off, who doesn't know that queen-sized beds all have the same dimensions? But anyway, I soon believed that this woman was the other bidder on the house. And it took every ounce of self control for me to not attempt to talk her out of buying this house. (For the record, I managed to not say a word to her).

But if she needs to measure a queen-sized bed, I doubt very much that she knows what it costs to replace original 1928 paper-wrapped electrical wiring throughout the house. I doubt very much that she realizes window replacement costs about $1,000 per window and there are no less than 9 to replace. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, this house has a flat roof in the back half of the house; that's going to bring some problems. I mean, I know what I'm getting into here and I don't need to be bidding against some silly woman who has no idea what this house is really worth because she has no idea what the renovations will cost. She probably won't even think of doing a sewer cam, for god's sake! Madness!

So, as you can see, I've worked myself into quite a lather based on nothing more than: (1) somebody else has made on offer on the same house as us; and (2) some girl brought a measuring tape to the open house so she could measure a queen sized bed. Yeah. Apparently that's all it takes to send me over the edge.

Anyway, it's T minus 2 hours until we are scheduled to get a response. I should probably lie down until it's over. But I don't think my boss will be pleased to come in here and find me pulling a Scarlett O'Hara.

UPDATE: So my agent called me at two o'clock (two hours after my offer was set to expire) to say that now the seller has four offers and won't be reviewing any until tonight (WTF? Is it 2004 or something?). The seller may counter some offers she may counter all offers, it's undetermined. If we don't get this house, I think I will just deal with listing agents directly from here on out. I have access to the MLS, I can write my own offers (it's just a fill-in form, it's not my first time buying a house, and I am an attorney after all). And at the end of the day, I think the listing agent will push through the offer that gives him the biggest commission (and that's always gonna be the dual-agent offer). I guess I'll have more news tomorrow. And thanks, Zay! I do need to breathe.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

House Number The Third (Y1/M11/D3)

We found a house that we liked so much we made a full price offer. Can you believe it?

In fairness, we found a house I like so much. E thinks it's a bit small and he's not wrong. And he's not looking forward to the inevitable expansion construction. But we both love the neighborhood; it's a little Spanish bungalow on a pretty cul de sac and very close to a large but very private park (great for El Sid!).

My agent was blatantly unhappy with the way I structured the deal (because it reduces her commission by a grand). So unhappy, in fact, that she incorrectly wrote the offer no less than three times.

She also floated this fact: the seller already knows there's four-grand in termite repairs and the seller will likely add the cost of repairs to the counter. I wouldn't balk at that if I were making a less than full-price offer. But given that they knew this information when they set the price for the house, I feel like it's already included in the list price (i.e. coming out of the seller's profit). And it's no secret that the seller has done zero work since buying the house two years ago but is nevertheless looking at more than $100k in profit on this transaction. And god only knows how much more work needs to be done on this 1928 house. But I don't want to get ahead of myself.

Our offer expires Monday at noon, so we'll know more then. Cross your fingers for us!