Saturday, November 7, 2009

You Want Answers? I WANT THE TRUTH ...

The truth is that at least for now, we have no answers. But we should by Monday afternoonish. That's when we'll find out from the lender whether or not they want 5 percent down or 10 percent down. If it's 5 percent, we're ok. If it's 10 percent--we have the world's largest bake sale, charge $100 a cookie and invite everyone we know. That means you.

Here's what's going on:

Chuck met with the head of the city planning department on Wednesday. What we learned is that the code differences between what the previous owner had in mind and what we have in mind may require some additional electrical outlets (no big deal); more heating, because the standards between what he wanted and what we want are different (semi-big deal); and the possibility of putting in a firewall between the garage and the lot next door (not a big deal) because the garage is right on the property line.

Apparently the city has been out to look at the roof and the foundation, and they say that both look good, but the permits will have to be researched to make sure all that's left is the final. We have to do some seismic stuff--the washers that bolt the house to the foundation are the wrong size.

Chuck also met with the savant contractor--the one who is brilliant with plaster and wood and such, but kind of a nightmare of a business person. He gave us a number, it jibed with the number Chuck had arrived at after hours and hours of measuring and pricing. Rafael may be a nightmare, but he's our nightmare, and one we know how to deal with. Also? His work is flawless. He's just going to require a lot of babysitting. Which we're going to be able to do, because once the main house has walls, a complete kitchen and at least one functioning bathroom, he's going to move into the rear apartment. In keeping with the idea of naming all of the room after Steinbeck themes or novels, we're calling that apartment the "Tortilla Flat."

Chuck also met with the bank, which agreed to our offer price if they're completely out of the deal in terms of financing. They don't want anything to do with this house for a second longer than necessary. So what's left then is the construction loan and mortgage.

You're seeing a lot of Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, and may be wondering where I am in all of this. For right now, I'm not really anywhere. If and when we have the deal in place and move forward, I'll be pricing and buying fixtures, pricing and choosing appliances, figuring out the kitchen and looking for tile. Once the walls are up, I'm also going to be doing a lot--if not all--of the interior painting. (Those of you who know me and are laughing right now? Shut up. I know it took me three years to paint the living room of the old house, but I've changed! I swear I've changed!)

Does anybody really change, though?

Onward we go. None of this would be possible or happening without the largesse of our friends, who are lending us their house until their bank gets its act together and accepts the short sale offer that's been pending for months. I wake up every morning in what used to be my friend's office, and it's surreal. It takes me a minute to remember where I am, and I am humbled all over again.

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