Adventures in Real Estate

*peaks out from behind door* Hi Readers… are you still there?

I’m so sorry that I’ve been MIA, my dear ones. Things have been very, well, insane. See, the thing is: we bought a house.

A house! you say? Yes, a house. A cute little yellow four-bedroom cape in Weymouth, close to a park and the beach. Most importantly: close to Wahlburgers (I’m kidding, they’re not that good.) Actually, what I am excited about is that we’re going to be much closer to my bestie Michelle. But I digress: we bought a house.

It happened very quickly. Back in early November, Jason and I decided to start looking at open houses. At the fourth and last house of our first outing, we met Jean, the greatest realtor ever (it turned out). We took an immediate liking to her, and a month later allowed her to guide us to our new home. Fun fact: it was our first official day out, and we almost didn’t view it – it had escaped Jean’s report and was right around the corner from our original first choice (which ended up being horrible.) The house needed a new kitchen, updated bathroom, and a second bathroom, but we were up for the challenge.

The house is adorable: the floors are oak and in good condition; there is a fireplace in the living room and a hand painted tree on a closet door. There is a huge deck out back! The upstairs bedrooms are huge, with tons of closet space; and Jason gets his own office. We were pleased.

We learned quickly that my mother (holla!) would not be able to do the renovations if we wanted to get a 203K loan, so we interviewed a handful (read: two) contractors, and finally settled on Matt. It was actually much more complicated than that, as we were traveling in England and everyone kept forgetting to tell us things like YOU HAVE TO PICK A CONTRACTOR BY THIS DATE, but, whatever. Plus, the seller was a pill – it turned out that it was her childhood home, so she was struggling to fix/change anything that needed it. Finally, it’s January 9th and we’ve signed the papers!

This is where things get messy.

When we hired the contractor, we were given a four-week timeline. That quickly changed to six, which is fine and honestly, more realistic. They promised to start the week of the 12th, which they did… just at the end of the week so nothing really happened. But the next week they were at it full force (I guess?) and then. We got hit with the most amount of snow that Boston has seen in nearly 20 years.

Needless to say, things were quite delayed.

We (I) argued with the contractors a lot. They gave us a hard time about putting things were we wanted them, giving me a deep tub, and other little things that most people probably don’t really think about but apparently mean a lot to us (me). There were a few things that I wish I had fought about more; for example, they removed a light out back to put in french doors, broke it, and then had no intention of replacing it. They also removed a bunch of chair rail in the dining area, threw it away, and then told us they had no plans to work on that part of the room (we’re combining the kitchen and dining room for a bigger space). Little things, but I’ve been irritated. (Editor’s note: I complain about my contractor, but he’s actually pretty great.)

As the 6-week timeline stretched out to eight, Jason and I were preparing to sublet our apartment by the end of February. Since our mortgage payments started in March, we couldn’t really afford to stay longer than that. We both began to worry that we’d have no place to live.

And then we didn’t.

Right before the 4th storm in as many weeks we came to the house to discover water dripping in through the front window and later, the front door. Snow had pushed up against the house so hard that it broke the siding and formed ice barriers. The snow on the roof melted and re-froze, creating massive ice dams along the edge of the front and back of the house. I checked the eaves regularly that weekend and saw no issues… until we showed up one more to a huge black stain on a wall (from an almost-fire) and then, leaking in the eaves.

We were panicked. We called the contractor and asked what he could do. He promised to get the snow removed from the roof as quickly as possible but due to the demand, it took almost five days. By then, we learned, the damage was done. A few days later we got a call that the ceilings were falling down and the walls were wet. We headed over that weekend to see the damage (and remove some wallpaper). Long, sad, story short: we have to replace all the front and back exterior walls, in addition to finishing the house (which, btw, is currently SO CLOSE to being done – they were just waiting for the inspection on the electricity and plumbing, then everything was going in). They’re also worried that we need a new roof, and we definitely need to replace out front door. We have a lot to do.

They weren’t able to give us an updated timeline.

At this point we’re owned the house for almost two months, and haven’t yet been able to live there. We officially moved out of our apartment on February 21st, and have been living with my mother in law in Rhode Island for about a week and a half. She is generous to let us stay here, and it’s not bad at all; except for my commute, which takes nearly two hours. I do miss having my stuff, my space, but Pickwick is content (and dry and fat and warm, as am I. Yes, all three.) so I can’t complain too much.

I don’t think I’ll ever buy a house again though. This is it. This is the end of house buying for me. It has been stressful and not fun (ok, it’s been a lot of fun too). I am ready to be in my house! I’ve been meaning to write about this for quite some time, but everything is still so unresolved that I felt it wasn’t fair to you guys to burden you with this unresolved story. But my friend Allie gave me the task of writing this out tonight, so I had to.

And now you know why I’ve been missing. My whole life has turned upside down. I’ve barely been able to read, I’m exhausted all the time, and I am drinking one-too-many glasses of wine at dinner. I am doing my best to take it all in good humor, but it gets exhausting, ya know?

I hope that I have an update you all sometime soon. Jason is meeting with the insurance folk this week and I pray that we’re in the house by the end of the month. Keep your fingers crossed for me?

Until next time darlings,

E

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