Monday, April 27, 2009

My House

So the home inspection was last Friday and everything went well. There were no issues to speak of. The only thing the inspector pointed out was that the house was pretty dirty. The current owners have only been there a year so i guess they knew they were moving and figured why bother cleaning the place. There were no foundation or roof issues. Also he saw no signs of leaks. He did mention that the filter in the furnace was filthy and that we should have our furnace serviced and cleaned. He also said we should have the air ducts cleaned because judging by the current condition of the house it has probably never been done. We hadn't thought of having these services but they are good ideas so we are going to do them. The interior was a little smaller than i remember but that's OK. I think everyone has to start somewhere and I think this is a good place for us to start. If in the future we feel we need bigger then we will get bigger. But for now this will do.

On Saturday we went to see our mortgage broker at the bank. We were initially going to make a larger down payment but she advised against it. We are still paying over the 20% needed to avoid the penalty but we were going to pay 25%. Since it doesn't make any substantial difference in our monthly payments we will stick to the 20%. If we have money left over at the end of the year we will make lump sum payments our increase our monthly. We haven't signed the papers yet she suggests leaving that until closer to the close date (June 26th).

So that's it. and as promised here are the pictures of the house.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Buying a home

So we almost have ownership of our first home. I will go back and start at the beginning. We have been looking for homes in Ajax for weeks probably close to a month now. In fact we have actually put in several offers on a few homes at this point.

House 1

The first offer we put in was for the house listed in the picture of an earlier post. We put in what we thought was a fair offer. In fact the house was only 3 yrs old and our offer was for close to 20k more than they paid for the house when they bought it. I will admit that it was 20k less than their asking price. I think the seller has a right to make a profit. However, if you do the math from my previous sentences you will see that they were expecting to make over 40k in 3 years. Well after we made our offer the sellers agent got back to us and said that there was another offer on the table and we had to come back with our best offer. So we did and our offer was 5k less than their asking price. Then the sellers' agent comes back and says that the other offer beat us by 1k but we could counter offer. Just so we are clear, this is not allowed. The way it is supposed to work is that the seller takes the higher offer between to two of us and moves on. What the selling agent did in this case was go back and forth between us creating a bidding war. When it got to the point that we were at the asking price for the house we bowed out. We liked the home but we didn't think it was worth what they were asking and we didn't like the idea of paying 40k more than someone did as recently as 3 years ago. Also, this was a basic house, they made no upgrades to justify the substantial price increase they were asking. So, we were disappointed to lose the house but happy that we didn't over pay.

House 2

We found a bank foreclosure in the same general area as the previous house. It was in great shape and since it was a power of sale we thought we would get a great price. The problem was that the bank was taking forever to respond to our offer. Our contract always said that they had only 24 hours to counter. They took 3 days and they only took 2k off their asking price. Well we went back and forth this way for 2 weeks before they were getting close to a price we were comfortable with. However, by that point we had moved on to other homes.

House 3

This was the only older home we bid on. We actually bid on it because House 2 was taking forever and a day to give us a response. This was easily the largest house we saw and had the most land. It appears that most of the newer homes we saw were built on much smaller lots. This house was very large and the basement was finished incredibly well. We were kind of taken in by the size and some of the finishes. So we put in an offer. However, after we put in the offer we started to add up all the work we would have to put into this home. The house was built in the mid 80's. It had all original windows and the original roof. We figured that by the time we fixed all of this we would be in 20k-25k. I don't mind a bit of a fixer upper but this is more than I had in mind. So, we pulled our offer. The seller was so desperate that they came back after we said we were no longer interested and offered 15K less than their original asking price. But by this point we were sure that we didn't want this house.

House 4

On the same street as house number 2 there was another house we liked. However, we thought we would not be able to get them down to a price we liked since they had already lowered their listed price by 10k, so to get them to come down more seemed unlikely. However, since the bank was taking forever to get back to us we decided to use the time to give it a try. I mean what the hell, the worse they can do is say no. So we put in an offer on Friday. They came back on Saturday with a one time final offer. Their offer was for 2k more than what we thought would be our high. However, this was a nicer house than I think anything else we had really been interested in. Also, the close date was June 26th as opposed to the June 1st closing date we wanted. Still, we decided to take their offer. This house had 4 bedrooms and everything else we were looking at had only 3. This house also had laundry on the upper floor and a stainless steel appliance package. There are hardwood floors on the first floor and carpet upstairs. We are going to examine our budget and if we have enough left over we are going to change the carpet to matching hardwood floors. We made the deposit today and we have our home inspection scheduled for Thursday. So as long as everything checks out with the inspection then by this weekend we will be able to say that we are homeowners. :)

Pictures will follow after the house passes inspection and it becomes ours.

That's it for this week.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cut Backs at work

So there were massive cutbacks at work this week. But I survived and I am still employed. It was a pretty shocking series of events. Basically I came in Tuesday and people started getting fired. I didn't realize what was going on until one of my co-workers came over and told me. I then started to walk around the office and I noticed that more than a few offices were now empty. My boss's boss called a lunch meeting for the team to tell us what was going on. She gave a speech, most of which i can't remember, and basically said that management above her head called for greater cut backs than they were already making. In all 13 people were let go from my floor and 1 person from my direct team. I was on a friendly level with at least 3 of the former employees. It is going to be very weird not having them around the office. This whole situation was just a very eye opening experience for me. In my head I know that large companies have no loyalty and are only concerned with the bottom line. However, this is the first time I have seen it in action. These people have lives and families they have to support and now they are on the unemployment line.

I am going to spend some time in the coming weeks working on fixing up my resume. I think I am relatively safe. The work i do is not really done by anyone else in the company. So there is no redundancy in my job. As a consequence getting rid of me means getting rid of that type of work all together. So I think I have a little bit of security, but then again who the hell knows. Either way I am not worried. I think i have marketable skills and experience that would allow me to find a new job fairly quickly. I was actually contacted by a recruiter early this week for a job that pays 20% more than my current salary. That being said I am not looking to leave my current job just yet. I like where I work and I generally like what I do. But it is nice to know I have options.

Next week ... Putting an offer on a house.