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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Settlement is on Friday. It's been a long road to get there-- wait, no it hasn't. Cliches aside, this whole 'let's buy Don's grandfather's house' thing has really been a sudden whirlwind in our lives. We bought our first house, a cute yellow townhouse, in February of 2004. I was a junior in college, he was a sophomore. We planned to stay in it until Don finished college or for five years, whichever happened first. I graduated in May of 2005, and found a job in August (phew!). There we were, happily settled for the time being. Then, out of the blue, in November, his mother called. The 'big house', as the family called it, was back on the market.

When Don's aunt Maugie (his father's eldest sister, Margaret Anne) died in 2003, the executors of her estate sold the house, because Don's father didn't want it, and his uncle couldn't afford it. A young couple bought it, presumably with the intent of fixing it up and living in it. Alas, we thought, the ancestral home is lost to us. Or we would have thought that, if any of us were particularly inclined to think in such high-falutin' language. But in November, the lovely young couple put the house back up for sale, having mysteriously changed their minds after owning the house for two years.

We weren't planning on buying another house just yet-- both of us had just gotten pretty good jobs, and we wanted to use the new income to save some money so we would be able to put a decent down payment down and wouldn't be slammed by closing costs and moving fees. It was a good plan. But then came the phone call. The big house is back on the market, Don's mother told him. You could totally afford it. Totally.

So we looked into it over the weekend. Could we? As it turned out, we could. So we called our realtor. We had really enjoyed working with the realtor who helped us buy the townhouse, so we turned to him again. Did he think we could do it? He certainly did. Not only that, but he thought we could do it rather better than we'd hoped: as it turned out, our cute little yellow townhouse had somehow managed to double in value in less than two years. So we put it on the market. A little less than two weeks later, we had an offer, and a contract.

Then came the financing fiascos. Our lender's appraisal of our new home-to-be showed that the roof was in disrepair and the basement was damp. Well, yes. It's an old house. The basement's made of concrete, and in heavy rain like there was on the day the appraiser came, it gets a little damp. That's why someone invented dehumidifiers. And the roof? It needs to be replaced. We planned to do it immediately. Not good enough; the lender insisted that any house they financed must have a roof on it that is good for at least two years. Yeah, right. We worried. Then our realtor said, why not let Long and Foster give it a shot and see if they can get you a loan? You shouldn't have to jump through all of these hoops. We gave it a try.

Settlement is on Friday, for both houses. The yellow townhouse will no longer be ours at 11 AM. The big house will come into our possession at 4 PM. The movers are coming at 8:30 Saturday morning.

It's going to be some kind of adventure.

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