This week it’s going to be the last push to get over The Great Battle of Paperwork that has consumed the last month of my life. I was hoping dive headlong into The Great Battle of Tearing Shit Out of My New House, but apparently the bank and
devil appraiser decided they aren’t going to let me off that easy, and that they needed to have some say in the projects I do on my house.
Yes. You read that right. And if you know anything about me, you know that being told what to do ranks just under trying to tell me what I can’t do on the list of activities that will likely result in having a hammer thrown at your head. Guys, most of the time I’m a nice, educated, well-mannered, even-tempered young lady, just as long as you stand the hell back and let me get on with what I’m good at– tearing things down and building stuff. Stand in the way of that and I go a little… um, what’s the phrase I’m looking for here? Oh yeah. Batshit crazy.
Here’s a small example of some of the fun I’ve been having: A couple of weeks ago the house needed to be appraised for lending purposes (perfectly understandable) and because it was owned by some large conglomerate auction company that is located nowhere near here and would simply put the house back up for auction if I didn’t take care of the details of getting the loan approved, I was responsible for getting the house dewinterized (which means getting the water and heat back on) for the appraisal. Since it had been approximately five degrees below freeze-your-ass-off for a while, it was necessary to do coordinate these efforts so that the house could be dewinterized, the utilities checked, the house appraised, and then rewinterized to ensure nothing froze on the same day. That experience went like this:
- Finalize plan to have plumbers at house to dewinterize Thursday at 08:00 sharp, appraiser to follow at 13:00, well inspection at 15:00, house to be rewinterized the following morning.
- 0800: House dewinterized. Costs me $450
- 13:00: No appraiser
- 14:00: No appraiser
- 15:00: No appraiser
- 15:01: Well inspection begins. Septic company that quoted me $800 to inspect system and pump out tanks (on house I don’t own) says the price was to pump a 1500 gallon tank, but because there are two 1000 gallon tanks there will be a $150 upcharge. (Company also calls me back two days later and says they forgot to add the $50 digging fee and need a credit card before they will send the well and septic report into the county.)
- 16:00: No appraiser. After several frantic calls to the bank, find out that the inspector cancelled the inspection and no one bothered to tell me. Try to set up a new inspection for the following day.
- Cancel re-winterization. No appraiser. No call from bank. I lose my shit. Ask plumbers to show me how to drain pipes and put antifreeze in toilets without completely re-winterizing. (Cost $250)
- Finally hear from bank. Apparently the appraisal has been scheduled for Sunday 13:00. No one cares that it will cost me an additional $450 to have the pipes rewinterized and dewinterized again to ensure they won’t freeze without heat for 48 hours in sub-freezing temps.
- Wake up with 102 degree fever. Borrow space heaters from every person I know and set them up in house to ensure pipes don’t freeze before inspection.
- 12:00 In fever induced state of delerium, drive to house to turn water back on for appraiser.
- 13:00 No appraiser.
- 13:30 Hear from bank that appraiser will be coming at 17:00
- 13:31 Devise 101 way to kill appraiser. Toss up between stringing her up and shooting her at dawn, or coughing my flu germs all over her face.
- 15:00 The mythical appraiser actually shows up at house!
- Plumbers come back to re-winterize. Attempt to charge me an additional $450 dollars for the pleasure.
Here’s why I’m telling you guys all of this. Well, first, to share my pain and frustration, which was considerable and can only be alleviated by thousands of people crying “This is bullshit!” in unison. And second, because if that ordeal hadn’t cost me three days of my time and a fuckload of money, I wouldn’t be nearly so irritated at this:
Here are a look at some of the things she noted (pictures from actual report):
Debris? Debris? That’s a goddam treasure trove, lady.
For those of you who haven’t had the fun of going through the property appraisal process, there are a few basic ways they can “mark” an appraisal. One is “subject to the following repairs” (in which they list the necessary repairs, and was what happened back on Memorial when I had to reinstall the kitchen cabinets in order to get the loan to tear apart the kitchen and expand it… another experience that tested my sanity) or they can mark it “as is”, which means the current condition of the house is reflected in the appraised value and no repairs are listed.
Since the appraiser (correctly) marked the appraised value “as is”, which was still $40,000 above the purchase price, mind you, there shouldn’t have been a list of repairs included in the report. But since there was, (and despite the fact I’m putting another 20% down on the loan) the underwriter basically started running around with his hands up in the air, screaming “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” and the end result is that the bank is going to make me escrow what will probably be an additional $10,000 to make these repairs to the house, and then get it reappraised before they’ll give me my money back.
And since the appraiser has to come back out to the house at some point in the future and verify the repairs are done, that means I can’t do important things like tear this ridiculous bathroom out before I do stupid shit like re-roof the not-leaking donkey shed.
Now, this is all stuff I was going to do eventually anyway, and I’m all about being understanding of people just trying to do their job, but the fact that they already cost me $1700 and four days of my life just to get the appraisal, and are now going to hold a big chunk of my cash hostage so they can determine the order of projects on my house? Let’s just say it doesn’t make me less likely to go to jail for burying someone in the backyard.
And if you can imagine, that’s only a small fraction of the stress and drama I’ve been dealing with in the last four weeks.
However, what I’ve said through this entire process is that I don’t expect things to be easy. I will happily work hard, spend money, wade through piles of shit and paperwork, as long as in the end I get to call The Liberty House home. And I do. Which means the last 1150 words was the final purge of my frustration, and now it’s time to let it go and formulate my plan of attack for getting the necessary work done. For those of you who can’t read the tiny print on the appraisal excerpt (Hi Mom!), that list looks like this:
- Scape and paint interior (specifically upstairs full bath ceiling, master bedroom walls)
- Repair exterior wood, scrape and paint
- Repair or replace cracked window in bedroom
- Replace missing windows in basement
- Install missing outlet covers
- Repair missing guardrail on rear deck
- Restain front porch and rear deck
- Replace roof on home
- Replace roof on outbuilding (aka Future Donkey Barn)
- Re-side garage
- Remove debris
There are also a few must-do repairs that weren’t on this list, including:
- Repair radiator pipes
- Replace all improperly winterized (and now broken) faucets
- Install new locks on all doors
- Remove skylights
- Replace window in master bath
- Install new garage door on back of garage
Then–after all of that is done, inspected, and approved by the bank– we get in to the first round of cosmetic-ish changes to the house, like:
- Remove all carpet
- Replace back door
- Sand and refinish first floor wood floors
- Remove wallpaper
- Paint parlor, worlds largest hallway, mudroom, study, and basically every other room in the house
- Tear out master bath and at least cap water lines.
And we can’t forget getting ready for the donkeys:
- Fence in pasture
- Remove junk from inside barn
- Repair barn windows
- Build stall
- Remove concrete floor from stall area
- Repair barn spigot
- Reseed pasture
The second round of cosmetic changes to the house will probably look something like this:
- Rebuild master bath
- Install flooring in master bedroom
- Tear out closets in study and add built-ins
- Tear out cupboard under the stairs in entryway and add in built in shelves
- Remove glass block from parlor “doorway” (wait til you see this one the grand house tour, it’s fantastic)
- Replace light fixtures throughout house
Then I’ll take like a 15 minute nap and start on fun stuff like building a pergola on the patio, redoing the kitchen, and tearing out another bathroom or two.
While there are a lot of projects on the list of immediate stuff that needs to be done for the bank that I would like to tackle myself, I have to factor in the need to get that stuff done and approved quickly to get my money out of escrow (and because my entire body starts to itch when I think about leaving that carpet in the house longer than necessary) which means I’ve been getting quotes for things like re-roofing the house and siding the garage, and will probably have a crew of people helping me out for the next month or two.
Let the adventure begin!