moving makes me crabby

So, the house thing. God, where do I start? Ok, I mentioned this earlier, but basically, our down payment is coming from the UK. Dave, his mom and his brother own a couple of vacation cottages in Scotland. They’re taking out a business loan against the value of the properties, and our portion of that loan will be our down payment. Which is awesome, because when it’s all said and done, we’ll own a house here in North Carolina, plus we’ll be part owners of a couple of vacation cottages in Scotland.

Speaking of the cottages in Scotland, want to see them? Here’s one and here’s the other. I know, the view is totally hideous, right? Gah. I can’t wait to go visit there, but someone *cough*Dave*cough* needs to get his passport renewed before we can go anywhere.

So, yeah. The loan. It seems that the bureaucracy involved in getting a loan is just as tedious in the UK as it is here. So there’s a couple of little things that need to be done before the loan funds can be released, but those little things are expected to take at least two to four weeks. Why? I really couldn’t say.

Meanwhile, our closing date was supposed to be on July 21st. As in six days from now. Obviously that won’t be happening. The sellers have agreed to an extension, but if we don’t have the money by August 31st, they can walk from the deal. Hopefully it won’t come to that, we should have our loan money long before that date.

BUT. Our lease expires on July 31st. So what happens if we don’t have our loan funds by then? There are a few possible scenarios:

1. The sellers could let us go ahead and move into the house and rent it for the month of August. That was our hope, and it would’ve been ideal, as it would’ve meant that we only had to move once. But they said no – I’m not really sure why, I think they’re just being overly cautious about any potential risk for them. (Or it could be the way our realtor called it, which was, “They’re just being turds.” I love her.)

2. We could extend our lease by a month on this house (or even just a couple of weeks), which would give us enough time to secure our funds, close, and move. Again, that would be mean that we only have to move once, so yay, right? I called our landlady to ask for an extension. She said that while nobody has rented this place yet, “if somebody wants the house, I gotta give ’em the house.” Um, thanks for the loyalty to your current tenants, bitch.

The thing is, I totally get her reasoning: in this type of neighborhood, most likely the new tenants will be a family with kids, and they’ll want to move in August so they’ll be in the district before the school year starts. So she’s worried that if she extends the lease for us, it might cause her to lose a potential new tenant. But does she have to be so rude about it? Everything is such a headache with that woman.

Anyway, we won’t know whether or not we can stay here until a couple of days before our lease expires. And since I’m a chronic planner, the idea of putting it off that long (and then possibly having to scramble to find movers at the last minute, which will be impossible at the end of the month) makes my stomach cramp with anxiety.

3. We move out on July 31st, load all of our stuff up into PODs, board the cats, and find temporary housing. Maybe we shack up with Cat and Tony, maybe we find a short-term furnished apartment or an extended-stay hotel. This is seriously the least desirable outcome for me, since it means two moving days rather than one, plus dealing with the aftermath of a seriously stressed-out toddler. Catie doesn’t do well sleeping in new places, and the transition to a new house was going to be bad enough. But if we’re staying someplace for a couple of weeks and then moving to the new house? God. She’s going to be sleeping in our bed every night until her 3rd birthday. Ugh.

So yeah, I’m stressed. And I’m pretty horrible when I’m like this, I feel so irritable and mad all the time, and I’ve been snapping at both Dave and Catie. (Twice now I’ve yelled at Catie to just be quiet when all she wanted was my attention. And I made her cry. Mommy FAIL.) I just don’t know what to do, and not having a solid plan in place makes me feel like I’m going crazy. I hate it. But I continue to pack boxes anyway, because what else can I do?

random Wednesday stuff

1. It looks like we’ll be staying pretty busy with company for a while. My brother spent Saturday night with us, and shortly after he left on Sunday afternoon, Brittany came to visit. (Which, if you read her blog, you probably know exactly why she came on Sunday instead of on Thursday, which had been her original plan.) On Sunday night, my sister called – she had travel plans for this weekend that fell through, and she was wondering if she could change her plane ticket and come to Raleigh instead. Sure, why not! So we’ll have a continuous stream of visitors for over a week, which is actually kind of cool. Especially since it distracts me from the fact that…

2. Our house closing date is going to get changed. The closing depends on us receiving some funds from the UK (we’re taking out a business loan against a couple of pieces of property that Dave and his mom and brother own together), and we just found out from my mother-in-law today that it’s going to take longer than we thought, due to the fact that we have to wait for lawyers and surveyors and all sorts of legal mumbo-jumbo to finish up. And you know, that’d be fine, if it wasn’t for the fact that we have to be out of this house on July 31st, and if we can’t close by then, we’ll have nowhere to live.

So, we’re asking the sellers if we can rent the new house for the month of August (along with a letter from the bank in the UK promising that the funds are, in fact, on their way… at some point). And I’m crossing my fingers and praying that they say ok and don’t decide to walk.

3. In other real estate news, for the past two days I’ve been trying to help Brittany find an apartment in the Raleigh area. It’s been fun – her arm is all banged up and she’s taking Vicodin for the pain, so she’s been very giggly and stoned through the whole process. I’ve been her designated driver, and I’ve been taking lots of pictures of all of the apartments because I wasn’t sure she would remember anything that we saw. But we’ve found a few apartments that she likes, now we just need to narrow it down and pick one.

4. Today’s date is 07-08-09. Funny.

real estate update

I’ll write more about our weekend later (because man, it’s been a fun one), but forgive me here while I talk about buying a house and hopefully don’t bore anyone to tears.

Last week, Dave and I went house-hunting with our realtor again. I was trying not to panic, but it was looking like we were going to be homeless after July 31st unless we magically found our dream house. On Thursday, Dave had to work, so it was just me and Cara (our realtor friend) looking at houses, and pretty much everything we saw, I hated. A few of them were nice enough houses, but it just wouldn’t have been a good fit for us. Either they were too small, or they didn’t have any trees around (a pet peeve of mine; I hate it when neighborhoods are built and all of the natural foliage is cut down), or there wasn’t a place that we could’ve turned into an office for Dave, or the driveway was too hilly (visions of Catie in a few years learning to ride a bike and wiping out in the street = no thank you). There was always something that made it a no-go. So I was starting to get a little discouraged.

All of us (including Catie) went out house-hunting again on Friday morning. Aaaand now, it looks at though we’ve found not one but two houses that we really, really love. One house is in the perfect neighborhood and location, the yard is gorgeous, but the house itself has a couple of (really minor) features that I’m not crazy about (i.e., the pantry in the kitchen is really small). The second house is absolutely, 100% perfect, but I’m not totally in love with the neighborhood. I mean, it’s really nice, and it has a lot of great features (neighborhood greenway, pool, playground, etc.), the neighborhood just isn’t as aesthetically pretty as the first one. So, hmm, which to choose? Oh, and both houses are pretty much exactly the same price. Way to make the decision even harder.

Want to see them to get a better perspective of what I’m talking about? Of course you do.

This is house number one:
House #1

And this is house number two:
House #2

I know, right? They’re both really, really pretty.

So, this afternoon we’re meeting up with our realtor again to look at both houses and try to do a side-by-side comparison of them. And as much as I hate making decisions, I’m feeling pretty good about this one, because I’m pretty sure that we’d be happy in either place. So I’m trying to relax and trust that God or the universe or whatever will make sure that we end up exactly where we’re supposed to be. Cross your fingers for us. I’d really like this decision to be made so I can start planning our next steps (like, you know, the actual move).

moving on

When we moved from Seattle to North Carolina last year, it made sense to rent a house. We didn’t know the area very well, and we wanted time to explore and figure out where we wanted to live. Also, we didn’t exactly make money on the sale of our house, so we needed some time to come up with something that would approximate a down payment on a new place.

And here we are, ten months later. Our lease is going to expire in 60 days. Our landlady wants to know if we’re going to renew our lease for another year or if we’re going to move out. We have a little money that might be enough for a down payment. Our credit is just ok – it’s certainly not bad, but it’s not great either; we’re pretty firmly in the “average” range – and we weren’t sure if we would qualify for a mortgage or not. Sure, it’d be nice to take advantage of house prices being so low, but if banks are being stingy about handing out loans, we weren’t sure if we could work it or not.

(Incidentally, our pain-in-the-butt landlady is one of the primary reasons that I want to move. Everything is a headache with her, and everytime I talk to her, she’s always rude and snippy. Can’t. Stand. Her.)

I decided to contact our realtor here and ask if she knew someone we could ask about a loan. She gave me a referral, and it turns out that, lo & behold, we actually did get pre-approved for a mortgage! Which is really exciting, but now we just have to, you know, find a house to buy. No big deal, right?

So that’s going to be taking up a lot of my brainspace between now and August 1st. I’m much less stressed out about it this time than I was last year – moving across town versus cross-country? Yeah, not much of a comparison there. Of course moving sucks, and it’ll be a huge headache, and I’m sure I’ll bitch and moan through the whole process, but it’ll be nothing compared to our last move.

Plus, when it’s all said & done, we’ll have a place that’s really ours. This place has always felt like a house where we’ve just set up camp. We have our books in stacks on the dining room floor, because why bother buying new bookcases? It’ll just be more furniture to move later. This has never felt like a house where we could have people over for parties or anything; I would love to be in a house where I could have people over and not be embarassed about the visible litter box or the boxes that are still in the sunroom that we haven’t unpacked after ten bloody months. I especially can’t wait to get settled in a house that we can make changes to, so we won’t have to live with hideous wallpaper anymore.

Catie & her Daddy
Exhibit A: ugly fruit-oriented wallpaper in our kitchen. And I swear some of those figs look like testicles. It’s all I ever see when I look at the walls.

I’m worried about Catie, because I know that our last move was really hard on her. I expect this one will be easier; the people who are in her life now (her cousin Elizabeth, her friend Kiersten at daycare) will still be part of her normal routine after we move. But I also know she will be heartbroken to leave her friend McKenzie (and vice versa, really; McKenzie knocks on the door every single day to see if Catie can play). So it’ll be rough, but we’ll manage it.

whee!!

Plus, you know, an added benefit of home ownership is that we might be able to get a playset for the backyard. And judging by how much she loved playing on Elizabeth’s yesterday, I think that might be a pretty big selling point for her.

Now, off to find that perfect dream house…