Monday, July 25, 2016

We have a closing date!

So, this thing is really happening!  Obviously we knew it was, but now we have a scheduled closing date and know with certainty when we will have keys and get to take possession.  The one snag is that we are actually closing two days later than the date in the contract, and it also happens to be the date that we leave for a week-long vacation at a lake house with my mother in law.

How an 8yo boy packs for a week at the lake...

We have done this lake week vacation for the past 3 years, and this year is no different.  If the timing had worked out better, we wouldn't have even rented a different lake house this year, but we really didn't know we were going to purchase (and she had booked this months ago), and even at the point that we had an accepted offer and contract there were back and forth negotiations after the inspection, as well as a very long lead time to get the appraisal done.  We were concerned that if we cancelled and something fell through, we wouldn't have a place to stay this year (although the upside would be that she would have saved quite a bit of money, only losing her deposit).  The upside is that we no longer need to rent a place, and she can come and stay for longer visits!

One "lake week" favorite activity....wake surfing!

Regardless, even though we take possession the day this vacation is starting, the house will in no way be ready for long term guests, even for a week stay.  There are certain personal items we requested to have stay with the house (beds, aluminum fishing boat, kitchen table and chairs) but for all we know, they may leave other furniture behind, and potentially items like dishes, etc.  It's common around here for lake homes to sell "turnkey" with everything you'd need to enjoy the property staying with the home.  We didn't request that because we knew we'd likely replace everything (eventually) anyway.  We certainly aren't expecting anything to stay for that reason, and so we very likely will have a home with no bedding, no dishes, no silverware, no chairs, no get the idea.  So, not ideal for a week-long stay at a lake house.

These weeks are some of our most favorite moments.

The closing is taking place at a title company very near the actual home, so we do plan on grabbing the keys and running down there to take stock of things (and a few measurements!) before heading back home to finish packing up and heading out.  It will be nice to know exactly what we do have, and we can being our hunt for items that we will need to survive our time there (dishes, cooking items, a grill, etc.).

One year we had the pleasure of listening to this branch slowly creak and eventually tumble to the ground.  Then it was epic bonfire time!

Our next steps are to figure out which renovations we are going to do and when, and how much we went to do now vs. over time.  We have always talked about them being done slowly and over time, but there are some things in the works which may necessitate accelerating that.  The advantage there is that it would be DONE, and we could actually go to our lake house and simply enjoy it, instead of feeling like we were constantly working on it.  So stay tuned for more on that!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The dreaded "F" word...

You know that word, right?  No...not the four letter variety.  The five letter variety.  The one that sends home buyers running for the hills.


At the beginning of the appraisal process the lender, however their process works (which we inquired about but never really did get a straight answer about), initially determined that we were in a floodplain and would require flood insurance.  Initial estimates on our property ranged from $500-650/year (from my insurance agent, but without doing any research) to $800-1200/year (from Floodsmart, the federal website that tells you everything you need to know about reading flood maps, what to do next if you find out you are in a floodplain and also offers flood insurance) and up to $2500 a year from someone else my husband quoted.

What we did know was the median level of these quotes - around $1200/year - that meant an additional $100/month on our property that we just really did not want to pay.

In a lot of ways, this property is a bit of a stretch for us.  There is a lot we're not giving up to acquire this property, but there is a lot we will give up to get it.  We also know there's a lot we are getting in return.  Quality time with our children each weekend on a much slower schedule, extended visits with my mother-in-law each summer which will mean so much not only to her, but also to our children and us who miss her terribly after she moved out of state a few years ago.  It also gives us the opportunity to flex a few of our DIY muscles, which is one of our biggest hobbies.

But an additional $100 a month is a lot of money, any way you slice it.  It ramps our payment up to a level we weren't comfortable with.  Another way to think of it - that is $100 worth of fewer improvements I can make to the property each month.  So my husband had pretty much made up his mind - we were walking if the final determination was that the house was in a floodplain.

Luckily, we questioned the lender about their process, they went back to the people that made the initial determination and after reviewing everything, did ultimately decide that the home was not in a flood plain.

I'm sure it's a common scenario...I mean, it is a lake house, after all.  And we had some pretty gnarly flooding here even last summer.  The flood would have to be pretty bad to actually reach the home.  It sits on the lot in such a way that the property is in the floodplain (as any lakefront property would be) but the actual structure is not.  We have a few good feet in front of it to spare.  Granted, it's a risk and we do understand that, but we feel pretty confident in not having insurance required.

So, we press onward.  I will admit that this process has been stressful and seems like it has taken forever, but we are *so* close to being there.  We anticipate a closing in less than a week!  I can't wait to share more details about the home and some pictures as well!

Friday, July 1, 2016

I Have a Secret

I have a secret about the Navy Cottage.  It's NOT navy!  Ha!  

I'll share pictures once the deal is final, but I can assure you it is a very ugly brown color.  There are some other issues with it (well, pretty decent issues which we'll be addressing as soon as we take possession but there will be lots more on all that here I promise you!) that could result in a residing at some point.  Needless to say I have my eyes on a very navy cottage.  Think navy cement board shingles with a gray metal roof....

Here are some inspiration photos....

The above is my absolute dream style.  Below with the roof shows the complete picture as I envision it once completed.  

Obviously the focus would be lakeside, so their wouldn't be a main door there, but we hope to eventually add sliders (currently the only way into the house is on the side).  There is also currently a brand-new deck built onto the front of the house lakeside, but a fence wraps all the way around it, so you can't even step off the deck down to the water.  Another thing we hope to remedy.  But painting the fence white would tie this all in well.  I'd probably choose to stain the deck a weathered gray look.

While I love the wooden door, it is a lake cottage and I adore the idea of a fun pop of color on the main door as well.  

The boy loved the yellow while the girls, of course, loved the coral pink.  Who knows where we'll end up, but it will be a fun process!