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    Monday, May 17, 2010

    where did I leave off in this tale? (House Hunt/Purchase)

    So it seems I last left off on my story stating that yes, the bank (BoA) liked my offer, but Escrow had mis-read my offer and wrote up the info wrong to the bank & therefore we had to resubmit my actual offer to the Seller's Bank. (See my post on May 6th for more details.) Bummer, huh?

    Fortunately, I didn't have THAT long to wait for a response. On  May 7th (5:43p) I posted to Twitter the following Update:
    "Has Great News! Bank has approved my *Actual* Offer to purchase the Condo! Finally! :) Deposit $ to Escrow will have to wait till Monday... "

    (considering it was after 5pm when I found out that we were actually approved by the Seller's bank, etc., there was no time to get $ to Escrow that day in order to actually START the Escrow process).

    First thing Monday Morning, my Deposit $ went over to Escrow and Escrow got their Escrow Instructions to me (via email) so I could start printing off pages and signing them. Fortunately, I could sign & scan the pages in order to email them back to Escrow.

    An interesting twist is that the Seller REALLY wanted to close by THAT FRIDAY (5/14). Wow! That would mean a 5 Day Escrow!! Um, ok, but let us get our Home Inspection in etc. So I quickly scheduled that for Wednesday (5/12) but then discovered that Utilities were off and the Seller had no intention of turning them on for a Home Inspection when they were trying to close in just a couple of days/by end of the week. So *I* had to call to schedule Electricity (SCE), Gas (SoCalGas), & Water (Irvine Ranch Water District - IRWD) to be turned on by Wednesday (if possible) so that my scheduled home inspection was actually worth doing. (Kinda pointless to have a home inspection when the guy can't check anything).

    Got ahold of SCE & IRWD first and got those scheduled. They said "no problem" for getting things turned on as of next day (Tuesday, 5/11). SoCalGas, however, was another story. They need at least 2 days lead time so earliest spot they had was on THURSDAY (5/13). Doh!! However, after explaining my situation, that I needed it on for a home inspection and just found out that utilities weren't on, etc, the gal I was speaking with was able to get approval to have the time rescheduled to Wednesday (tacked on after the existing jobs in the area were done). Yay! But wait! Problem - they need someone home or access to the inside. Uh, oh! I don't have keys yet and the unit isn't on a combo lokbox....that's gonna be a problem.

    So some scrambling around and a few phone calls later, one of my work's vendors who's already helping me out with stuff related to my move and said he'd look over the unit & give me his opinion on it/what might potentially need fixing (free of charge for the looking over of the unit) said he had a spare combination lokbox and would loan it to me/put it on the unit. Whew! Plus the Seller & the Seller's Broker decided to meet with me (and my folks) on Tuesday and give us keys to front door (not all keys) even though the deals not final - that way we can come over whenever to look it over or have workers in to give us estimates. Yay! So by end of day Tuesday, I was able to call back the gas company and tell them that Yes, the unit has a Combo Lokbox and give them the combo (so they could get inside and test/turn on the gas).

    Wednesday, May 13th - Home Inspection Day (rescheduled for 1:30pm from earlier in order to hopefully give time for SoCalGas to get over there & turn on the gas before we get there :). In the morning I get a call from the Termite Inspector, who was also scheduled to do his inspection that day. His first call was 'cause he didn't have the right combo (turns out his secretary transposed a number or two in the combo) and then later to give a verbal report/update saying that Things Look Pretty Good to him. (Whew!) I'll get a physical copy of the report later. (Now bank at this point said they didn't need a Certified copy, so I was just planning on getting a plain ol report from them). Also, while he was on the phone he mentioned that the gas company was there at the same time he was. (Yay! They made it in time! :) However, the only thing that was of concern to me was that the Termite Guy said the water wasn't on. What?!? It should be on by now.

    So I call IRWD and confirm with them that Yes, according to their records, the water is on and was turned on as of Tuesday. Um, ok. Weird. I'll check it when I'm over there fore the Home Inspection then.

    1pm I'm picked up at my work to carpool down with my mom to the place for the Home Inspection. (We stop briefly at my dad's work, which is nearby the place in question, to pick him up as well.) We get over there and another vendor friend of mine (through work) is there to walk through with us (yes, another favor :). Only had to wait a minute or two before the actual Home Inspector showed up and we all got started. First thing, however, was to figure out why the lights weren't coming on. Home Inspector found the main breaker down by the street/side of building (not the inside the unit breakers) and turned them - problem solved. However, Water STILL wasn't turning on. We looked all over and couldn't figure out why. I ended up calling the property management company just to make sure there wasn't another valve or something that was related to HOA/property management that we were missing that needed turning on. There wasn't. (They don't touch any utilities related stuff that deals with the individual units.) So then I called IRWD and had them on the phone while they directed me to the street side water valve/meter. Looking at the meter, it appeared it was on for our side - the handle/lever was turned into the on position whereby its parallel with the pipes - but there was no water flow. And obviously the Meter had been Reset cause it was at 00000, so the water guy had been there. This is getting really strange now! As I still had IRWD on the phone, they put in a request to have a technician come out as soon as possible to figure things out. Of course, by the time the technician GOT there, we had already left (by a 1/2 hr).

    Technician calls me on my cell phone and says there's an oddity - he's looking at the street side meter that's marked for my unit (19C) but the meter number doesn't match his records. He'll have to investigate further & call me back. An hour or so later (however long it actually was) I got another call explaining that at some point the meter was replaced but IRWD's records were never updated with the new meter number. How weird is that? So end result of this call - THIS guy turned on the water at the meter. Ok. Finally! (Weird that in the IRWD's records it shows as being turned on, when it obviously wasn't, but now this guy turns it on. Right?)

    Of course I want to test this claim that the water is actually on - so my folks go by the unit on Thursday and test out the water. Yes, it IS on (yay) but it turns out that there's a leak under a sink in the bathroom (a valve is corroded), so the water is turned back off (our side of the valve at the street side meter) until we get the valve replaced/fixed. At least we know about this problem now.

    And since the Seller's Broker has been on our case all week about getting $ & all signed docs over to Escrow ASAP so they can close Friday (something about being Seller being assessed $1700 in additional Fannie Mae...if it doesn't close on Friday - none of which we can find in writing anywhere, nor does BoA know anything about these supposed fees that will be charged if it doesn't close 'on time') on Thursday morning (first thing) since we've had our inspection and better know what we're getting into with this deal (and yes, still want the place) we get a cashiers check over to Escrow with various original signature (my signature) documents so that things are 'done' on my end. At that point, we could only Wait while Escrow did its thing.

    Theoretically, it could still close on Friday, but Friday came and went with no word other than a note saying that BoA signed off and forwarded the package to Fannie Mae and we were left waiting to hear back from them on their approval of funding/financing (or whatever).


    So, that's pretty much where I'm at right now. Waiting for it to close. Fingers crossed this comes through soon cause it would be really nice if it does close today (or just this week) and then I can start scheduling contractors for various small repairs and improvements I want done BEFORE I move in. (There's no *major* work that needs to be done fortunately. Whew!) If all goes well, then I can use my scheduled move date of THIS SATURDAY (5/22) to move my appliances (Fridge & Clothes Washer/Dryer) and furniture (bed, tables, bookcases, etc - I have no couch right now as my roommate is the owner of most of the living room furniture right now ;-) straight over instead of going into storage. Then I can temp live at my folks (spare bedroom) while the work is being done and move the rest of my stuff over after the work's done.
    That's the ideal plan at least. We'll see what happens.

    Oh, and this past Saturday I was there to meet with a couple more vendors so they could get me quotes (like from our Window Shades guy and from a Painter we use - heck, with vaulted ceilings, I'm not painting this place myself!). So if you saw a picture of my niece that I uploaded (to facebook) when she and my sis came to visit (they were bringing me boxes for packing), yes, I was still at the unit from meeting with the vendors earlier that morning - which meant I was able to show off the place to my sis. :).

    Well, that's the update. We *might* close today on this place. We'll see what happens...and of course, you guys know me. I'll keep ya in the loop. :)

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    They liked my offer!?! YAY!!...But wait a minute, um, *that's* not *my* offer!

    The continuing saga of my hunt for "affordable" housing in Southern CA...

    So if any of you were following along via Twitter, on Tuesday (5/4) you saw the following excited posts (or Tweets to use the correct Lingo ;-):

    OMG OMG OMG!!! Mega Exciting News!!! Seller's Bank (Short Sale) has approved the offer I made (April) on a Condo in Foothills Ranch!! #fb

    and then:

    and the Seller's Bank even wants to close in 2 weeks!! That's AMAZING!!! :D

    (For those on Facebook, yes, you too also saw these posts - 1st Tweet was imported to Facebook, and 2nd tweet I added as a Comment on my Facebook post).

    However, since then, things have developed an interesting Twist (& complication).

    Yesterday (5/5) morning while reading through the paperwork, it became obvious that the Bank's Letter of Acceptance was referencing wrong information (not part of my original offer signed by both Seller and myself). Doh!!!

    Doh! Finally got to look over paperwork that bank wrote up for their approval & Seller's broker (or escrow??) wrote my offer wrong... :(
    Which means that I now have to resubmit to the bank for clarification on various points. Boo! :(

    By 4pm (5/5) I got an email from my broker (also my aunt :), who had been on the phone basically ALL day trying to straighten out this matter (and another one - more details later in this post). Goodness!

    Basically, the escrow officer read my offer wrong and presented his/her misinterpretation to the bank for approval. DOH!!!!

    Some background: There are 2 units with identical floor plans (1 bedroom + loft, 1 bathroom, 900 SF) that were Available in the same complex in Foothill Ranch and I liked them both, so I put offers in on both. One was significantly cheaper than the other but it had $10K in back owed HOA fees that *had* to be paid before the bank would sign off on a sale. (Reminder: Both are Short Sales so need Bank Approval.) By the time you added in the back owed amounts (etc.) on the cheaper one - #19C - it was only $5K cheaper than the other unit (#39G).
          [Other differences between the two: #19C would also need to be painted as it has blank white walls; a mirrored closet in dining room area that I'd want torn out to use as space for say a China Hutch; would need to look into sun blocking window shades for all the windows facing west - there's a lot - and some quite high up!, and a couple of light fixtures were OK but could be updated to 'nicer' ones...while 39G was already painted in colors I actually *liked*, had nice pretty nice light fixtures already, had that unnecessary dining room closet torn out, etc. Oh, and 39G is Poolside. Overlooks the complex's pool area...which is good and bad :). ]

    Anyways - I first saw (& yes, actually walked through) both units on Sunday afternoon April 25th. My broker did her comps and figured out the best deal that I could afford that would still be enticing to the Seller (and did her homework on what 'hidden' costs might be lurking...such as back owed HOA and property taxes, if any - yes in the one instance), and after I agreed with her suggested offer on each unit she wrote up both offers and I signed both sets and we got them off to the respective Sellers' brokers. And then we set ourselves to wait. But we didn't have to wait for long! I believe we actually got responses from both brokers the very next day (or so) saying their respective Sellers/Owners were defnitely interested and would sign off on the deal. Um, ok wow. Both accepted, huh? Wow. Guess we'll see *which one* really follows through (or follows through first) or else I will get to make a decision between the two. :) Not a bad position to be in, obviously.

    By Friday (4/30) we had received a Seller's signed copy of my Offer from the broker on #19C. (But nothing back from 39G who keep *saying* the Seller was going to sign and was still saying he/she would.) We also go word from the Broker for #19C that they had already forwarded the now signed Offer to Escrow and the Seller's Bank for Approval and that they expected the Bank to approve it early next week (1st week of May). Wow, that would be fast if it happens, right?

    So we're waiting, and then on Tuesday - I get the call from my broker that yes, the bank accepted. (YAY!) Only problem is that Escrow misread my offer and presented it wrong. For example: I said I'd Pay X amount and that figure *included* payment for the back owed HOA fees (up to the $10K). Seller's Broker wanted it all listed on the first page of the Offer so it'd be clear & 'easy to read' and we complied and wrote it up that way. Deposit amount "A" plus $10K ("B") plus balance of purchase price ("C") = "X" amount paid (Total Price). Easy, right? Wrong, apparently. Escrow read that I'd be paying X *plus* an additional $10K. Um NOOOO!!!

            Also, the box was checked on my Offer saying the Buyer - that's me - would pay for Termite Inspection. Normally, yes, the seller pays for it, but on Short Sales my aunt has found that typically the Bank hates that. We didn't want to have the bank come back with a counter saying that the they the Bank objected to the Seller paying the Termite Inspection so we were proactive in just saying that I, the Buyer, would go ahead and pay the Termite Inspection. **However**, Escrow wrote down that the Seller would pay for Termite Inspection in their Presentation of the Offer to the Bank. Ugh!!

    Isn't Escrow supposed to be careful in reading these things? (They're *supposed* to be very detail oriented, right?) MAJOR oversight here!!

    So now (5/6) we  have to get Escrow to fix their mistake and re-submit the presentation to the Seller's bank for approval. We'll see what happens. Possibly fixable.

    But Wait! There's More!!

    In the meantime, remember that 39G unit (poolside, with nice paint & fixtures) which said the Seller was interested & would sign, but I never actually got a signed contract back from the Seller?

    Yesterday, my aunt got a call from ANOTHER Escrow company wanting my mailing address, phone number, Social Security number, and date of birth. Um, why? She got ahold of the Escrow officer and asked "what's going on? Why do you need the SS no, date of birth, etc.?" Turns out its for the 39G unit and Escrow officer said the negotiator wants it because the Bank is requesting it for their files. Jody, my aunt, then says "I don't have a signed contract from the seller, so why does the negotiator have the offer?" Escrow officer wasn't sure herself but needed the requested information "in order for the negotiator to continue processing the offer." Period. That's it on the explanation. (By the way, my offer is an All Cash offer, so why do they need that info for an all cash offer?? I could understand if they wanted the info to do a credit check on me if I was doing a bank loan, but I'm not doing a loan. I'm doing cash. Plus I already provided proof of my finances when I first submitted my offer.)
          Next my aunt (finally) gets ahold of someone in the Seller's broker's office and ends up talking with the Agent's assistant. He tells my aunt that they sent the offer through to the bank WITHOUT THE SELLER'S SIGNATURE to just get the process going and that he'll get my aunt an update later via email.

    Um...say what?!? Who in their right mind sends in an offer to be processed *without the Seller signing off on it*?


    What drama! :) Laughable - and hopefully fixable - drama, but drama nonetheless.

    Hopefully *one* of these offers/deals actually goes through soon. That would be really nice. :)

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    May the Fourth be with You!! (Happy Star Wars Day! :D )

    Happy Star Wars Day!
    May the Fourth be with you...always! :D 
    "Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?" (Intergalactic STAR WARS Status Day - so you know I'm going to be posting a bunch of Star Wars Quotes on Twitter/Facebook today ;-)

    It's May the 4th (Be with You): Intergalactic Star Wars Day !!!

     In Honor of the Day (& Trip down Memory Lane for some of us): "Troopers" COPS parody: 


     for a cool Behind the Scenes/Interview with creator of Troops: 

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    call for help moving :)

    Anyone available Saturday, May 22nd to help me move out of my current place?

    I'm thinking it might be the best date to move my furniture (etc.) to storage so that
    A) my friends/family who are helping me move don't have to give up part of their Memorial Day Weekend to help me move, and
    B) I have time after I move to work at cleaning, patching nail holes is walls, & repainting, if necessary (etc.)
    I want to make sure I leave this place it good condition so I can get my Security Deposit back, after all!

    Anyways, that's my thought process right now. Any chance that anyone is available to help me move that date? (Moving from Irvine, CA to Garden Grove, CA)