Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Car Named Jinx

Jinx. My little Jinx... There has never been a better name for a car.

So as you remember, our little brand new Mazda 2 was rear-ended a couple of weeks back at a stop light. Thankfully, the person who hit us was very kind and responsible, and has been nothing but amicable during the repair process.

I dropped off my car at the best auto shop we could find, and the car was scheduled for a two day repair. It was due to be finished on Tuesday. At around 4pm, I received a call from someone at the shop:

"Hello, Julie? You know how your car was slated to be finished today? Well... it was ready, but someone hit it in the parking lot."

Seriously? Seriously.

Apparently, the receptionist noticed an SUV pulling in next to my car, then backing out and driving off. Finding that odd, she went out, and noticed a brand new scrape along the whole back panel on the driver's side.

Thankfully, they're fixing it for free. But I can't help but wonder if buying a brand new car is simply asking for trouble. I'm not sure what it is about my Mazda2- it's so small, I figured it was a smaller target for people to hit, and that the odds would be in my favor.

We brought the car home on February 1st. This is what has happened thus far:
  • Two cars involved in a serious collision in front of us (thankfully, proper following distance saved us from being a participant)
  • Rear-ended at a stop light.
  • Someone parked too close to us and knocked off about 2 inches of paint from the driver's side door. SUV height- go figure.
  • Hit and run, with the back panel scraped up and dented in.
It. Hasn't. Even. Been. Two. Months.

What breaks my heart is that I love this car. This has been, by far, the most enjoyable car I've ever driven. It's the perfect fit for us. But I don't think I can take getting hit on a regular basis.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Introducing Casa Crustante

We have a commitment letter from the bank! All that is stopping us from slam-dunking this purchase is the contractor bid and the appraised value. The bank will not finance for more than what the completed appraised value of the home would be. The land value alone is about $20k more than what we offered, so hypothetically we should be okay. Plus, our loan agent mentioned that our list of loan contingencies is the smallest he's ever seen, so I think we're almost out of the woods.

Speaking of woods- are you ready to see what a $94,400 house looks like? That's right, 1/5 of an acre, just north of Seattle, in a quiet neighborhood, for less than $100k.

There it is, the Casa Crustante. (I'm not keen on the word "crusty" but I like the word "Rodante," so I put them together.)

And I know you're not supposed to get emotional about house buying, but there's something really comforting about it this little house. It reminds me of the house I grew up in, in some weird way. And although I think it's ugly, it's kind of charmingly ugly. Homely. Very homely.

Plus, it even has the same floor- check out the asbestos tiles:

Let's not forget the lavish kitchen:

Don't worry- you can't catch tetanus from pictures alone.

If you're wondering what we are tentatively planning on doing, here's the list of goodies we're using to flesh out our contractor bid, in blog form:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Day Has Arrived...

Today has every potential to be a Big Day for us. I have successfully orchestrated a 203k consultant, an inspector, and a contractor (who is well-versed in 203k renovation financing- a difficult find) to all show up at our potential home at 1pm today. I have also managed to revive the utilities (with the exception of gas) to our old house- and today we will see how big of a project this really is.

This could be a very good day for us, or a bit of a heartbreaker.

If the project is too small, the contractor may walk. If the project is too big, we will walk. We want the renovations to fall between $30k-$50k- it's almost like Price is Right- although arguably more exciting.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Is it really only Monday?

We dropped off a large packet of loan documents yesterday, and I couldn't help but sigh a giant sigh of relief. I'm trying not to be high strung about this whole adventure, but there's simply SO much paperwork and fine print and I feel like if I'm not scouring every single line of text I'm going to miss out on something that will make us lose this property. When we dropped off the paperwork I expected a day or two to be completely lazy.


So we got the approval to kick on the utilities, and now it's suddenly a flurry of activity again. Electricity is through Snohomish PUD, gas is through PSE, and water is through the city of Mountlake Terrace. Somehow we're supposed to get everything turned on, and have an inspector, 203k consultant, and contractor(s) to check out the property in the 48 hours that we're allowed to have the utilities on. Then we have to rewinter the property (even though it's officially Spring..).

So I could use a little luck- I'm a little overwhelmed suddenly, and I'm looking back at the relatively peaceful week I had last week and kicking myself for not foreseeing these next few steps.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Drumroll, Please

Just returned from the auto body shop. The grand total is.... $694.83.

Good news? It's really not that much. And the guy who hit us has been a consummate gentleman. He admitted fault, has been extremely apologetic, nobody was hurt. And thankfully he was insured. Score.

The best news? We now have a name for the car.... Jinx.

According to the Wikipedia article: A jinx, in popular superstition and folklore, is:
  • A type of curse placed on a person that makes them prey to many minor misfortunes and other forms of bad luck;
  • A person afflicted with a similar curse, who, while not directly subject to a series of misfortunes, seems to attract them to anyone in his vicinity.
  • An object/ person that brings bad luck.
  • A common slang term used when two people say the same thing at the same time, said as a game among children.


So the first time we drove out to see the house (March 4), it was a lovely afternoon, although cold. We wandered through the tiny home and started to daydream about what it could be. We left feeling pretty good about ourselves- after all, if we made this work we could be debt free by the time my husband turns thirty- a noble goal indeed.

On our way home, a car sped along side of us, and changed lanes just before the intersection. At that same moment, a car merged into that lane, and they collided. Everyone ended up okay, although both cars were seriously damaged.

This Sunday, March 13th, we were heading home from inspecting the house for potential flooding. As soon as we are heading back to our condo, we get rear-ended by another driver.

So, although I'm not entirely superstitious, I can't help but feel like our potential home could be bad luck.

Please tell me I'm nuts.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Car Woes

So I realize that anything I can post is going to be pathetically minor compared to what is happening in the rest of the world. (Sending all my love and my prayers to Japan...)

But I have to rant. Because that is what I do. And if I don't rant I'm going to end up taking wood glue and pouring it down someone's throat while they sleep at night. Particularly the guy who just hit my car.

Yes. My brand new car.

You know, the one that JUST rolled over 1600 miles.

And the one that we deliberately bought in the BRIGHTEST COLOR POSSIBLE so people would see it. And NOT hit it.

So to the fellow who was either playing on his cell phone or decided that his gas pedal is synonymous with a brake pedal, and that red lights simply do not apply to him....

Thanks a lot. The dented-in, scraped-up bumper is a fabulous look on a new car.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


So I'm being kinda crap with this updating thing. I've been meaning to, but good intentions simply aren't good enough!

The bank accepted our offer. Yay!

You want to know about this house? Okay, here it goes.

It is small. Under 700 square feet. It has two bedrooms, twice what we have now. It has a great yard, with lots of room for a garden. In fact, the previous owner had planter boxes full of strawberries, and strawberry plants are starting to come up. Giant rhodadendron out front, little purple crocuses, rose bushes, and a baby japanese maple- all in the fully fenced front yard. Perfect.

The house itself? Well, it needs some (a lot) of love. Somewhere between $30-$60k worth of love. And we're kind of in limbo until we know exactly how much. I'm scrambling to get contractors to give us estimates, and we need to get the power back on so we can see if any utilities work at all..

The loan will close in 30-60 days, at this point we're not certain even if it will. But we are moving full steam ahead- I'm not going to miss out on a great opportunity just because I'm afraid of it all falling through.

There is a long road ahead for us. But it might just be a road that leads us home.

Friday, March 4, 2011