Saturday, February 27, 2010

Escrow: Home Stretch

Well folks, this is it.  I signed my last bit of paperwork on Friday.  In the morning I stopped at the loan office and finished up my paperwork there.  In the afternoon I was joined by Mike, my mom, and my dad as we did the final walk-through and saw the repairs that had been done.

Updates:  The patio was not 100% removed and re-built as I would have hoped, but it is definitely repaired and will serve as an excellent entertaining area.  The water heater is now strapped securely to the wall of the closet and appears earthquake proof.

I walked through the house like a little kid on Friday: It was actually becoming a reality.  I'm not too sure what to do with myself after checking another item off of my bucket list.  I don't have a concrete bucket list, but owning a home or condo was definitely on it.  I've realized that within my extremely satisfying relationship with Mike, I've been able to check quite a few items off of my bucket list.  Here's a few that come to mind:

  • Graduating from college.  
  • Purchasing a home.  
  • Sitting on a deserted beach somewhere drinking beer.  The somewhere was Isla Ixtapa, Mexico.  The beer I believe was Dos Equis.
  • Getting a motorcycle license.  
  • Leaving the US without my parents, and Ensenada doesn't count.  So Mike and I went to the Bahamas!  

So I guess the question is, what's next?  I guess I'll add a kitchen remodel to my bucket list, since we're going to do it anyway.  Perhaps a bathroom renovation?  I think I'd like to learn how to sew window treatments of some kind like my mother always did for me.

So that's it for now.  I'm in my final stages of packing but I've hit a rather large dilemma: I've planned a little work trip to Mammoth over the upcoming weekend and I managed to pack almost every article of warm clothing.

So, my current hurdle is gathering up all of the clothes that I'm going to need to survive an extremely snowy locale and packing a weekend bag.  All that while trying to work, go to photography classes, pack the rest of my junk, and attempt to be a loving and doting girlfriend.  Thank goodness Mike has decided to head back to his parents house for the weekend and give me time and space to accomplish all of these things!

Love you all!  Can't wait to see you at our new home soon!

Mike & Kipp

PS Any thoughts as to where I should take this blog after the home buying process is through?  Home remodeling perhaps?  Pepper in some interesting photography perhaps?  No really, I'm looking for ideas.  Please comment below!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Escrow: I have no clue what day it is!

No really.  I thought yesterday was Day 30.  My realtor thinks today is Day 30.  My heart says last week was Day 30.  All I know is that we're nearing the end of our Escrow journey friends, and I thought I'd take a moment to thank you all for coming on this little road trip with us.

About 11 months ago we started this whole shennanigan and you've all been there for one heartbreak or another.  We want to thank you for all of your support, your well wishes, your prayers, your jokes, and the household items that you have so graciously disposed of with us.  We know you're happy when your cupboards are just a little less squished, and so we're glad to take those extra things off your hands for you!


What does that mean?  That means that a little termite work needs to be done and with any luck we'll be doing our final walk through this week.  Please pray we get our keys by Friday, because then we can start the painting process and move in relatively soon.  Otherwise we'll be painting and moving in the middle of the week, and to be honest I don't do well in the middle of the week.  I cry a lot and throw tantrums.  Just ask Mike, it gets ugly.

So one last photo to get you in the painting mood.  I know many of you have seen it from facebook, but here's the shot of the "bouquet" Mike gave me for Valentine's day this year.  It was perfect.  I ooh'd.  I aah'd.  Then I handed him cufflinks.  I am a crappy girlfriend.

Love you all!

Mike & Kipp

Monday, February 22, 2010

Escrow: Day 29

Wow, shouldn't this be my last post that has the title of "Escrow"?  Yah it should.  Will it be?  Probably not. 

As of Friday afternoon, my loan guy had run into a bit of a wall.  A self-built wall if you ask me

(Note: I never say his name in my entries because while I would never recommend him to you, I refuse to give him negative publicity.  I will not ruin his business, but I certainly will not help it along.) 

So back to my Friday story.  I found out earlier last week that the investors that were supposed to buy our loan were not going to do so due to a bit of information they had discovered very late in the escrow process:  Our complex is only 70% owner occupied.  Now you're scratching your head, "Wait, Kipp, did I read that correctly?"

Yes, you read that correctly.  The investors don't want our loan because of the neighbors.  It has nothing to do with us.  Wow.  That was news for us.  We had been told a lot of things about getting a loan: check your credit score, monitor your credit dilligently, keep money in the bank, pay down high bills, don't miss payments, etc. 

Never once in all of our classes did anyone tell us that the number of the units that are rental properties will affect your loan.  Then I started looking it up: Fannie and Freddie only care if there are over 50% rental properties.  Most loans only care about that if you are an FHA loan.  We are conventional. 

So it's just our luck: We found a property that we love.  We found a loan that we like.  The loan doesn't like the property.  Sheesh. 

So now our loan guy has (supposedly) been trying to sell our loan to other investors.  That was last week.  Tomorrow is supposed to be our last day in escrow. 

...This is the pause for you to laugh because I said "supposed to be our last day in escrow." 

Well let's just say on a scale of 1 to 10, my stress in this scenario is about a 9.5.  If this were the Olympics I might take the gold medal for stress.  Then again, I'm still not a perfect 10.0.  Hahah. 

So please, whatever you're thinking and to whomever you pray, keep the good thoughts for us and throw a quick shout out to your Almighty tonight before you go to bed.  We'd really appreciate it. 

And I promise, if we still get our keys this weekend, then there will be a cooler full of sodas (and man sodas) and pizza for everyone at our house!  (Yes, that's another shameless plug to get you all to come and visit us, and perhaps pick up a paint roller while you're there!) 


Mike & Kipp

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Escrow: Reflections

I was watching "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" the other night and it got to the part where Brad Pitt tells Angelina Jolie "I guess at the end, you start thinking about the beginning."  Well, the tears started flowing at that moment: this is an end for me and it hit me like 2 tons of bricks covered in bird poop.

I've lived in the same house for 25 years and 11 months exactly (well at least that's how old I'll be when we close escrow).  I started off in the yellow bedroom that was decorated with ducks and had a cute little trundle bed.  After a while I realized that my bed was cold so I used to walk next door to my parents room and climb into bed with them.  Then I'd turn horizontally and kick one of them.  I was a pain in the butt.

Then, when I was about 3 I was at a farm in Chino with my Grampa when I was bitten by a duck.  I became afraid of ducks and hated my yellow room with the duck accents.  With a little bit of convincing from my mother, my father agreed to buy me my own bed.  At age 4 I moved into white bedroom next door to my room and got my very own queen size water bed.

I lived in the white bedroom for the next twenty one years.  It's filled with my memories, my life, my belongings, and my trinkets and treasures.  Looking at the picture below, you may never know that you're looking at some of my favorite things:

On the left there is a cork board with a birthday card from two of my dearest friends, Cristina and Denise, from a few years back.  Also on the board is a purple foam and glitter crown that was given to me for my 21st birthday from the wonderful and amazing, Ms. Bailey.  That wig on the top shelf is from the infamous "Pregnant Britney" Halloween costume.  In those 2 white boxes are photos and scrapbook pages, but more importantly a precious collage of photos from Rose of my God son, Devin.  Back on the left is a bright blue duffel bag that is from my days on the WCHS cheer squad.  That yellow/brown candle near the top, right shelf is actually a custom candle that was made back when I was born.  It has my first, middle, and last name as well as all of their meanings.

Looking at that picture shows me how many memories I've already packed up (look at all those empty shelves!), but also points out how incredibly far I have to go to bundle, wrap, and pack up all of the memories I have made in this room.

This picture cracks me up, but it is proof that I really have held on to so many incredible moments and fun times in my life.  That is my sash from when I made prom court 9 years ago.  I know what you're thinking.  "Kipp, you're crazy.  Throw that stuff away!"  Well I haven't.  Maybe I couldn't.  Maybe I was clinging to what I thought was a good time in my life, but just last week I was packing up my Zeta things and I realized that I replaced good memories in high school with great memories in college.

That was all I needed to know.  Every stage of my life has been greater than the last, and I have to look back at things like this in order to realize that Mike and I are about to embark on the greatest journey we'll ever have.  Greater than our road trips to Las Vegas or cruises in the Bahamas.  We're about to begin our life together.  I'm about to move in with my best friend and begin building our little nest-egg together.

Now if that's too sappy for you, take a look at some other things that I found.

See that blue eye in the center of the photo?  That's Donald Duck, my least favorite stuffed animal in the world, staring at me.  Also sitting there is the horse that Rainbow Brite (my childhood idol) used to ride.

Don't tell Mike, but the bottom two boxes are full of Zeta letters, Zeta gifts, and Zeta awards.  I'm not done packing the Zeta stuff yet!

This one might not look too important.  It's just a ragged and dirty stuffed animal, right?  Wrong.  That is Fraggle.  Fraggles are the coolest things I've ever seen in my life.  No lips.  No nostrils.  No pants.  But they are still the greatest mythical creatures in my eyes.  They build total underground cities, they eat sugar posts made by Dozers, and they hide from big fat things that live above them.

Well that was my little trip down memory lane.  I hope you enjoyed it.  I don't think I'd be half as nostalgic as I am if my parents hadn't started a remodel project and changed the exterior color of our house.  To top it off, they got a new front door today and decided that 2 keys for it was enough and that they didn't need to make me one.  Now I'm not mad, but it's definitely starting to hit me: it's the end, and I keep looking back at the beginning and all of the memories.

My Grampa, sitting in our living room and holding one of my beloved Christmas Barbie's

My Gramma and Mom in front of our fireplace

Grampa, Gramma, my Aunt Terri and I on Christmas morning

In my bathroom with the famous "Mrs. Federline" wig on.

Our 2006 Christmas pose.  I look like an idiot, but even Mr. Beans is looking at the camera.  

Beans doing what he does best: absolutely nothing.  

Monday, February 15, 2010

I love...

Here's a little list in honor of yesterday's wonderful little holiday that was created by Hallmark and continued by hopeless romantics everywhere! 

...the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking.

...clear skies and cold, crisp mornings. 

...watching a movies with my own personal heating blanket, AKA Mr. Beans. 

...riding through country back-roads on the Vespa and smelling all the fresh vegetables in the fields. cold beer with ice chips floating in it. box mac 'n cheese mixed in with a bag of frozen peas. mother's enchiladas. 

...Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books.  (Okay, I'll admit it.  I watch the movies too.)


...working in the lab by myself on a weekend or a holiday (sometimes). 

...the sound of my parents in the living room and rustling newspapers. 

...Ramey's Carne Asada.

...fresh out of the dryer sheets and towels.  (I should really just buy a warming towel rack, right?)

...the smell of freshly sharpened pencils. 

...a hand made card or postcard in the mail.  (Snail-mail)

...when my car is clean, inside and out. 

...the way I fit under Mike's arm. 

...the sound of my bird whistling to me as I enter my parents' house. 

...getting to-go food from Vince's and taking them to Gramma's house. 

...cynical and sarcastic love books such as He's Just Not Into You, It's Called A Break Up Because It's Broken, and Such a Pretty Fat: Why Pie is Not the Answer

...road trips. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Mean Girls" or Marketing Sisterhood?

Sorority Rules at Cornell University

Okay so there is a lot of stuff flying around regarding Cornell University and Pi Bet Phi sorority.  The article that sparked my intrest is from Yahoo's front page and was written by a non-Greek, Ms. Jennifer Romolini.  (Yahoo, that was your first mistake.)  I have linked the article above. 

Read the Whole List from Pi Beta Phi Here

Now make your own assumptions, even take jabs at us ladies for it, but listen very carefully when I say that this is and will always be about putting your best foot forward during recruitment.  If you think it sounds ridiculous, think about all of the primping and poofing that our mothers taught us to do and the words "Easter dress" or "Christmas dress" that have been engraved into our minds beginning when we were toddlers.  Fashion is not a new subject for young women in America. 

The thing that irritates me the most about this whole situation is that people are angered at young ladies telling other young ladies what to wear.  Really?  Have you turned on the television lately?  If sorority women don't tell young women what to wear then perhaps Guiliana Ransic (E!) and Stacy London (What Not to Wear on TLC) will do it anyways. 

Do I care that the recruitment chair or advisor of this particular sorority told them not to wear watches?  Not at all.  It's a distraction during recruitment anyhow.  Does it bother me that they were told not to wear things unless they weighed 130 pounds or less?  Absolutely not, in fact I myself have wanted to say such things to other women in the grocery store.  Finally, do I find it odd that they were told not to wear things unless they could "pull them off?"  Hell no!  I cannot pull off a mini skirt, this is a simple truth.  So I don't wear a mini skirt. 

Now, in terms of the language that was used in the leaked outline of proper Pi Beta Phi attire, I find it amusing.  It is valley girl or mean girl lingo and I cannot help but laugh because it's irrelevant to the argument of whether or not what these girls are doing is wrong. 

What women of sororities do during these times is called marketing, nothing more and nothing less.  They are teaching their sisters how and when to put their best foot forward and if you thing it's snobbish or disturbing, then you are absolutely wrong. 

It teaches young women that manicures and pedicures are a treat and when you plan on shaking the hands of new acquantances all day, they are essential.  It reminds ladies that although your dye job is fantastic, roots will always catch up to you and they are one of the first things that people notice when they meet you.  More importantly, it guides young ladies to make proper attire choices for very precise situations.  Finally, it's about gently pointing out to a friend and sister that her make-up is a bit too much, or perhaps not enough.  Enhance your appearance and this will allow your personality  to shine above and beyond your outer shell. 

All of the above factors, as well as countless others about the fit or function of clothing, are relevant to them for the rest of their lives.  Business meetings.  Seminars.  Job interviews.  Etc.  A few added minutes to plot out your hair, make-up, and clothing choices can create an enticing appearance that (and here's that brutally honest part) that will open doors and create conversations that may have otherwise not have happened. 

So to the ladies of Pi Beta Phi,

     Keep on working out those wardrobe kinks...your members will be better for it in the future. 

Zeta Love,


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Escrow: Day 17

Well today we got a bit of bittersweet news:  although it's a good thing, it may result in a slight delay for our escrow. 

Back when the original owner decided to sell the house, the listing agent had a termite inspection performed.  During the inspection, they discovered the wood patio cover to be damaged by water and termites.  It needed to be replaced. 

Kim, the listing agent, very dilligently wrote the replacement patio cover into the bank paperwork and they agreed to replace it prior to the new owners (us) moving in.  Well, fast forward a few months and now we're flying through escrow but (you guessed it) the patio cover has not been repaired/replaced yet. 

So here we sit, waiting for the listing agent to tell us it's been fixed and pass the paperwork on to the escrow officer so that we can sign our loan documents and get our keys.  Now don't ge me wrong, I'm not complaining about them replacing the patio cover for free, but I'm just anxious to get started in Mike & my first home...

On a side note, Lowe's has a great deal on Olympic paint right now!  Mail in rebate for $5 back for each gallon bucket of paint purchased and $20 back on each 5 gallon bucket purchased.  Best of all?  The have a premium paint that not only carries a lifetime warranty, it is ZERO VOC!  Now everyone pray that Mike likes the colors I've tentatively picked out! 

Love, Mike and Kipp

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Escrow: Day 16

A friend of mine asked why I thought something was going to go wrong today and I responded, "After 10 months of hitting brick walls, I find it hard to believe that the good Lord chose to line this particular path with pillows."  That is my attitude.  I cannot believe our luck.  I cannot believe our blessings.  It sounds horrible, but I am absolutely terrified now that my world is about to come crashing down. 

After countless house tours, almost 30 offers written, 10 months, and 2 realtors Mike and I have entered escrow.  We've walked my parents through through properties.  We've had it inspected and checked for termites. 

As of yesterday, we were waiting for word from our loan officer in regards to our appraisal.  Our loan officer was supposed to order the appraisal and then after that he could put together all of the information and send it to the underwriters. 

Now it's hear I have to pause and point out that the underwriters are the people that decided whether or not to give you the loan.  I find it hard to swallow that "underwriter" sounds like "undertaker", and I feel like the loan is a death warrant.  Come on people!  Couldn't you have picked a better name for these folks?  Okay, resume update. 

In the late afternoon on Monday, January 8th, I recieved a phone call from my realtor and it went a little something like this:

Michelle: "Kipp, I've got some good news for you.  The appraisal was already ordered." 

Me: "That's great news!  When is the appraisal scheduled for and who do I write the check to?"

Michelle: "The appraisal already happened.  It was done last week, before the inspectin.  You don't need to write a check.  The listing agent may have taken care of it, or it's possibly built into your escrow fees." 

Me: "That's great, so now we need to make sure that the loan officer has the appraisal." 

Michelle: "More good news, the loan officer has your appraisal.  He says you might be able to sign loan documents by Friday."

Me: Gasp.  "By Friday?" 

Michelle: "Yes, and then we just need to send everything over to the escrow company and finish your escrow." 

Me: "That's great!  So that means we're right on schedule to close escrow on February 24th?" 

Michelle: "Or sooner.  If you have a 30-day escrow, it means your escrow can be completed in 30-days or less." 

Me: Crickets Chirping.  "Michelle?"
Michelle: "Yes?"

Me: "Can you put your fairy-godmother wand away for now?  Things are moving really fast." 

There you go folks.  The news that we never expected to hear our my lives: We may be able to close escrow early.  I've spoken to the my loan officer and I've got updated information to give him before we can sign the final package, but the loan has already come back approved.  So whatever you've been praying or whichever person you've been bribing, please keep doing it!  God is so good! 

Love, Mike & Kipp

Escrow: The Home Inspection

Please, insert suspenseful music here.

Well, the moment we've all been waiting for: Joseph from Elite Home Inspections arrived on-time in order to inspect our potential new home.

First stop: the kitchen.  Everyone warned us, and we were prepared for it.  A leaky kitchen faucet.  We've got one.  It isn't too bad and he said no boards under the sink needed to be replaced.  Cross that one off of the list.  Joseph also noted that the sink had been damaged through the white or porcelain coating.

A view from the dining area.  You can see the small breakfast bar as well as into the kitchen.  

Next stop, the water heater closet and back yard.  Well aside from being covered in leaf litter and debris, there isn't anything wrong with the back yard.  The water heater?  It's good too, except it needed to be strapped to the wall in case of earthquake.  (Side note: Michelle has already spoken to the listing agent and they should be taking care of this.  Sweet.)

A view from the back gate entrance, into the property.  Here you see the sliding glass door and the water heater door.  

Now it's off to the bedrooms and up first is the guest bedroom with the walk-in closet.  Joseph noted that the door was missing from the bedroom (odd) and that the door nob was missing from the closet (even more odd).  Other than that we've got a bit of a shotty seal on one window that can be fixed without replacing it, or if we really want to step it up we can replace our windows with the double paned type.

Interior View of the Walk In closet in the guest bedroom.  Joseph was in the attic which is why the ceiling is missing.  

Furnace?  Check.  Crawl space or attic?  Check.  Master bedroom?  A tiny bit of discoloration from the beginning stages of some moisture near the seam of the roof and the chimney.  Joseph's solution was easy: because the HOA takes care of the chimney and the roof we need to call on them to place some mastic along that seam and take care of it before it becomes actual water damage.

The master bathroom had 2 sinks and each appeared to have had the porcelain damaged and the toilet was missing the chain in the tank.  Oddly enough in life, I've had to fix toilets more often than I'd like to admit.  I know that hardware stores sell kits that include everything you need to change out the working parts in the tank of a toilet.  I think today I'll go buy one.

First sink in master bathroom, there is one just outside of the bathroom itself.  It's odd, but it works out pretty well if you ask me?  

Downstairs powder room and laundry room?  You guessed it, the sink was damaged as well.  I have no clue what these people did to their sinks, but I am starting to feel bad for the poor little sinks.

No, this isn't a sink as I had mentioned in the previous paragraph.  It's just the fireplace and I thought I'd throw it in there because I'm so excited about it.  

Joseph then took a thermometer and cranked up the heater and walked around the house checking all of the ventilation on the vents.  That was my favorite part of the day.  The house became instantly warm and while he was doing this, Michelle showed up with the best salad I've ever eaten!  I was warm and my tummy was full.  What else could go wrong?

Here's a view going up the 180 degree stairs.  My favorite part?  The mini closet below the staircase.  I'm thinking wine closet!  

Joseph proceeded to do the same with air conditioning.  This was not such a great experience, but I lived through it and we then walked through the rest of the house as he showed us any trouble spots.

Was it all rainbows and butterflies?  No.  There are a few areas we need to replace ourselves.  The first one is the water damaged front door, but I didn't get a photo of that.  The sliding door to the rear patio also gives people lots of trouble, so that something we need to think about replacing as well.

But overall, everything ran quickly and smoothly.  We have a big update for you coming soon, and it may involve something that no one I know has ever heard of.  Our next update might just involve a little tutorial on how to turn your 30 day escrow into a 20 day escrow.

Love, Mike and Kipp

Monday, February 8, 2010

When I grow up...

...I want to be a cross between Bette Midler, Paula Dean, and the Ree Drummond. 

Why?  Well let's see...

  • "Bath House Betty" is the single coolest human being alive in my book.  I'm not sure how you can top Beaches, Wind Beneath My Wings, Rosemary Clooney songs, duets with Barry Manilow, and being a ginger from Hawaii.  I mean for crying out loud, the gays call her the "Divine Miss M!"

  • Becuase Momma Dean has scientifically proven that everything, yes everything, tastes better with butter.  I gain weight when I watch her show.  I'm not sure why and I'm not sure how, but watching the show gives me a wider stance and a southern drawl.  And I love it. 

  • Now some of you are scratching your heads, "Who is this Ree chick?"  She's a mother.  She's an author.  She's the wife to a real life "Marlboro Man" as she calls him.  She's a photographer.  And even better than all of these, she's funny like Bette and cooks with butter like Paula. 

What's that?  Did I hear you say that you don't believe me?  Okay well head on over to and I guarantee you'll get lost in her photo blog, the story of how she met/married "MM" himself, or her recipes.  I dare you to be there for less than 1 hour.  Triple dog dare.  With a cherry on top. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Escrow: Pre-Home Inspection

Well, Friday was the test.  If something huge was going to go wrong, I had imagined it going wrong on this day.

For our home inspection, we had to have the water, power, and gas turned on and ready to go.  We had already scheduled for the power and water be turned on earlier this week, and that the Gas Company arrive at 9 o'clock this morning to turn on the gas for our home inspection.  I had been worrying for 3 days about what was going to go wrong and I just knew that something, or everything, was going to go wrong.

Mike & I had not seen the garage at all because ours was detached and we didn't know which one in the complex it was.  We also couldn't see the water heater because it was in a locked closet on the patio and we couldn't find the key anywhere.  My wonderful realtor, Michelle, called the listing agent on Thursday and got the garage door opener as well as its location but we still had no word on the locked water heater closet.

Well at 8:45 am, Mike, Michelle, and I all met at the property with our list of things to check and discuss.  The first was the window in the kitchen: when we had arrived at the property a few weeks ago during the rains, the window was leaking and it heavily concerned us.  Well while we were entering the property we noticed that the HOA had apparently come through in the short time since we'd visited and fixed the window for us!!!  That's right folks.  Cross that off our checklist because it was already fixed!

Yup, here it is!  Our newly fixed and freshly painted kitchen window!  

With that taken care of we were off to check that the water and power had been turned on as they were scheduled.  Water?  Check!  Power?  Not so much...  Time to call Edison!  I was pleased to find no wait time to speak to an operator, but when she couldn't fix our little situation over the phone, she decided to send someone over the condo.  Problem.  She couldn't give a window of time for someone to arrive.  She said it could be 10 minutes, or it could be 10 hours.  My heart sunk.  Was I going to have to postpone the inspection?  

I hung up and was explaining the situation to Michelle and Mike when my phone rang again: it was a lady from Edison.  She asked if I was in the Discovery community and when I answered yes she began to explain to me that she not only worked for Edison, but she lived in that community as well.  She then directed me to the main breaker panel (those are apparently not the same as the ones located in the individual units) and showed me how to turn everything on.  Houston, we have lift-off.  

Then, she thanked me for directing the previous operator to give the technician the gate code.  Apparently this Edison-employed neighbor of mine had never received the gate code after living there for 2 years.  I couldn't believe it.  I was ecstatic!  She solved my problem and saved me the fee for a technician coming out to the property!  

Well following this, all we needed was the door to the water heater opened.  After looking in all the cupboards for a key and taking a wire hanger to it, Mike and I had decided we were just going to take it off of it's slightly rusty hinges for the inspection.  Just as Mike is about to begin, Kimberly, the listing agent enters the door and announces that she has hired a locksmith to re-key the exterior door and he should be arriving any minute.  

This is the door that Mike was about to simply remove until Kimberly arrived.  

Go ahead, you can applaud now.  My agent was so awesome that she called the listing agent and the listing agent was so awesome that she called the locksmith.  She then walked outside and while she was directing the locksmith as to where the unit was, she found the man from the Gas Co. and brought him to the property as well.  

Well the locksmith finished up about the same time as the Gas Co. man, who upon his departure informed me that while he was looking at the furnace he discovered that the filter was dirty.  He noticed some new ones in the closet so he just popped in a new one for me.  

So please, everyone reading this:  Whatever you're doing and all the words that you have been praying have been amazing.  By 11 o'clock in the morning, the water was on, the lights were working in every room, and as Michelle said "we were cooking with gas."  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  

Stay tuned for the Home Inspection...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Escrow: Day 11


I spoke to our loan dude today (no name mentioned because I doubt I would recommend him to anyone) and it appears as though he submitted our documents incorrectly.  We had originally looked at FHA loans, but due to some saving and a bit of a loan from our family we have decided to go with a conventional loan.  Well the loan dude submitted all of our paperwork to the underwriters as FHA! 

It's all worked out now, but it was a bit of a "DOH!" moment for me.  I shook my head, squared my shoulders and moved on.  Now we're in the clear and getting ready to set up our appraisal!  Yikes!  That's a couple of hundred dollars for someone to tell me how much this property is worth and that scares me almost as much as the home inspection! 

So cross your fingers, toes, and eyes.  Pray for us.  Throw salt over your shoulder for us.  Do whatever it is you do for good luck.  (Just don't sacrifice any animals for us.) 

We promise that as soon as we're in the house and everything is settled, you're all welcome for dinner or drinks! 

Love, Mike & Kipp

PS Here's a little something that's been getting me through the day with only minor break-downs. 

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Home Buying: Our Journey

So I was having dinner with one of my longest and truest friends on Thursday night and she was so excited for Mike and I as we entered escrow that she couldn't help but ask questions about all of the (scary) details. 

I realized that we are not alone and many of you have been on this journey with us and I needed to thank you!  So for all of you that through phone calls, text messages, emails, and facebook that have kept us in your thoughts and prayers I thank you:

Cristina, Denise, Amanda, Rose, Desiree', Stacy, Lauren E, Rachel, Ellen, Leanne, Lauren R, Shannon, Jenn, Lia, allllllllllllll of you that I'm leaving out!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU for listening to me vent and watching me get excited about houses that we just weren't meant to have. 

And of course, I have to take time to especially thank Mike's family as well as my own for constantly inquiring about what we were going to need and stocking up on things for our house. 

This whole journey started last April (yes you read that right, April!).  Mike and I had been discussing finding a place of our own together in April, 2009 and the LA Home Fair came around.  We went to the Home Fair on April 18th, 2009 and began our journey there.  Boy, were we overwhelmed. 

We split up during the seminars and went to 2 different workshops each.  We met up again in the afternoon and went to The Galley in Rosemead afterwards to discuss everything.  I decided to call one of my mother's best friends and a real estate whiz for some help and she set us up with our first realtor. 

My advice to anyone that is about to purchase their first house: Meet with several realtors and discuss your options first.  While I am confident that our first realtor is an excellent woman and extremely good at what she does, I do not feel that she was the right choice for us.  This very funny and exhuberant woman was very busy and was more than willing to give us codes to view houses without her present.  While I'm sure that is great for some people, it didn't happen to work for Mike and I.  We wrote at least 5 offers with this lady, and never recieved much feedback from any of them. 

On September 14th, 2009 I called a reference and was introduced to a new realtor.  Michelle and I hit it off immediately and what was even greater than us getting along, she was present at every single one of our home viewings and constantly took our input back to her office and compiled new lists of properties to see.  Her persistence and effort are top notch and her attitude and advice is priceless.  The greatest compliment that I could possibly give Michelle is to say that in 3-5 years when Mike and I are ready to upgrade to a more "family-friendly" home, I would not hesitate to call her and work with her again.  I would actually be devestated if she no longer was a realtor at that time. 

Mike and I have written an estimated 15 offers  with Michelle and I've lost count of all of the properties we've viewed with her.  She's been part of our weekend plans now for 4 months and I'm said to think I won't see her very much in the future.

So thanks for being part of our journey, and I'll be sure to keep our updates coming!  I've got to go call Edison now to get the power turned on for our home inspection!  Yikes!

Escrow: Day 8

Well, you guessed it:  Problems popped up with the home inspection.  Getting all of the utilities turned on was such a hassle! 

Edison was awesome in scheduling their turn on for Wednesday, a whole 24 hours before the inspection.  Cucamonga Valley Water District was even better for scheduling their turn on for Tuesday, a whopping 48 hours before the inspection. 

Then came The Gas Co.  Ugh.  Stupid Gas Co.  Needless to say they wanted the most money for a turn on fee and then in order to get an appointment window that was only 1 hour long instead of 4 hours long, I paid an additional fee!  This is ridiculous.  Don't these people know that there are multiple schedules being coordinated here? 

Well all of the utilities are scheduled to be turned on.  Michelle is able to make it to the appointments.  And I've got to take just about the whole day off now.  Let's just hope Mike can be there.