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Saturday, February 13th, 2010

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How We Got the Townhouse
So we wanted this townhouse. Nice, brand new, decent square footage, tiny bit of yard. Not perfect, but within our price range, and in an unbeatable location, which is important for two people who don't drive.

We put in an offer, were accepted, were all ready to go about a week and a half ago when four creditors popped up and reminded the builder that he owed them a lot of money. They activated liens and everything ground to a halt. With that many corporations and lawyers involved, and a builder who seemed to be completely broke (even selling the townhouse wasn't going to make him any money -- our understanding is that he owed every cent to the bank already) the chances of our getting the place seemed slim to nil. Sure, maybe if we could wait around for a few weeks or months while everyone fought and haggled, but we don't have that much per diem left, and don't particularly want to start throwing money down the rental-pit while we wait for them to straighten things out, on the possibility that we might be allowed to buy it whenever they get around to figuring out who gets to sell it.

So we looked around, found a house in the same neighborhood, a couple of blocks from the shopping center which was across the street from the townhouse. The place was old and it'd need a lot of work, but it had good bones and it was a lot cheaper, so we could afford to upgrade the wiring and the pipes and put insulation and wallboard in the "finished" basement, replace the ancient windows with something energy efficient, fence the yard, and cetera. When that was done, we'd have a lot more space and a huge yard. I was actually enthusiastic about this; it'd be more work and hassle, but less money in the long run for a bigger place.

We put an offer on the house, a good one, and since our condo was near to closing we had cash on the way and could put up a full down payment with no sales contingency, whereas the other party competing with us wasn't in as good a position. We were pretty sure we'd get the house, and that was cool. Jim was still a little iffy about all the work needed, but had satisfied himself that we could afford to do it, and that we'd have a lot more in the end, for less than the townhouse would've cost us.

In the background, our finance guy (Derek) and the builder's real estate guy (Tom) were working frantically trying to get the townhouse deal to go through. Read more...Collapse )

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