Wednesday, August 26, 2009

See You (mon)Soon!

Last Friday we experienced one of the first monsoons of the year. Unfortunately, this coincided with an attempt to go out to the bars by Marisa, Jaye and yours truly. About 7:30 pm found us screaming, wind-swept, rain-splattered and running (in high heels) for the sanctuary of one Geisha a Go-Go sushi bar and club.

The next day Michael and I spent some time at an outdoor mall, which looked more like a scene from "Gorillas in the Mist" in an attempt to keep patrons cool. I appreciated the effort, but those misters were on full blast!

We also saw "District 9," which was pretty good. I'd be up for seeing a "District 10"...Michael would not.

On Sunday we had our home inspection! This meant we got to go see the home again, so I brought my brother, JP, along with us to get the family approval. The great news is that there weren't any major problems with the house. A few tiles were cracked on the roof and the water heater needs a new valve. The biggest thing was that many of the windows had lost their seal or vaccuum, which can be a little costly to replace since you have to re-do the window completely. Luckily we have the option of asking the sellers to do all of these things before we buy the house.
If this all goes through, we'd be closing on October 20...two days after our first anniversary! Since the traditional first anniversary gift is paper, maybe those final contracts will be our gifts to each other. A home isn't too shabby of a gift, after all. That is, in addition to the extra surprises I have in store for the Mr.!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Things are happening!

It was a big weekend in our search for the perfect house! Last Thursday we saw a listing for a new home in Ahwatukee. So while we went out there, we decided to pay a second visit to the one home that we liked from our last trip. I really liked this house, but it was expensive and it needed a LOT of work - new carpeting, new blinds, new linoleum or other flooring, etc. Then we went back to the original house and we were just so excited to be there! It was such a contrast - such a nice and new home that didn't need any real renovations! I mean, there are certainly projects that we'd be willing to undertake for cosmetic reasons (and to increase the property value), but nothing that needs to be done to be move-in ready! We ended up staying in the house a long time, running from room to room, checking the smallest details, visualizing, peering over the walls into the neighbors backyards - everything! We fell in love. This house was nicer than the earlier house and it's less expensive!

On Saturday morning we met with Paul, our realtor, and went over all the paperwork to submit an offer! We were so nervous all day, wondering what would happen. Well, we went back and forth a few times with the sellers and eventually came to an agreement! I'm so excited that in addition to negotiating the price of the house down even further, we also get all of the appliances (not originally included in the price) and a later closing date! Paul has been so helpful to us!

Tonight's the night! We're going to sign that final agreement on price, and then starts all of the official inspections by the realty company, appraisals by the lenders, etc. If all of that goes well, we can close on the house! I can't believe that we might be homeowners here soon!

I hope I'm not jinxing us, but I'm posting some more pictures in addition to the two below:

Other than this exciting stuff, we had a really great weekend! We got to hang out with the newlyweds, Amy and Erik - fresh off their honeymoon and newly moved into an apartment in north Phoenix. I made them some cupcakes from this recipe, and let me tell you, it was what I like to call a kitchen demolisher! Clean-up on these ones took a long time, folks!

They are chocolate with homemade peanut butter cream frosting. They also have a surprise peanut butter center:

We brought these over to Amy and Erik's apartment, then went out to dinner! We got to use some gift certificates at Dave and Buster's, which meant food, drinks and games! One of my favorite parts of the night was when we all crammed into a photo booth to have our picture taken. Here's a pic from the action:

And me acting annoyed as the guys play Big Buck Hunter:

Then on Sunday Michael hung out with his little brother Michael. They went to a Diamondbacks game with another Big and Little couple. He said that they had a great time, riding the light rail, eating snacks and staying 'til the very end of the game! Too bad the D-Backs didn't pull off a W.

Monday, August 10, 2009

House Hunting - Check!

We are official hunters of houses! It was a long day Saturday, starting bright and early at 9 am. We ended up only seeing 7 or 8 houses because some of the ones we had seen listed were now pending because of offers. We started out in Fountain Hills, where we saw a cute little house with some interesting decorating choices. The paint wasn't done very well and the carpet was this really weird dark/bright green. It wasn't a 10, but it was a good way to start the experience.

Next we went to a house in Phoenix. It was a part of town that can be hit-or-miss. Well, it turned out to be a miss. While the house itself was adorable and new, the neighbors had chain-link fencing with barbed wire around the top, pit bull puppies for sale and a bench press machine in the front yard. Michael made some jokes, we poked around inside, then left.

We found more success in the Ahwatukee area, which is a cute area but far away from my work. There was one house in particular that was nice - new and in need of very few renovations. The only big problem I had with it was that its yard was pretty small. I don't know if I can forsee Toby the Doby (our future dog...Michael's not a fan of the name I have picked out) frolicking around in this bad boy:

Still, it's cute, with two rose bushes and our very own palm tree.
But look: two closets! Double sinks! A glass shower and separate tub!

After having lunch with Paul, we saw two houses in Chandler. This was a bit of a disappointment for me because I had really fallen in love with the listings of these two houses. This just goes to show you how much pictures can lie about a place! They were both okay, but not winners. We are going to continue to look through listings and hopefully have another trip out to see houses!

That night we had a very small get together in Fountain Hills. The most interesting part of the night was definitely when we noticed some suspicious activity happening across the natural wash behind the house. Although the homes were very dark, we noticed that a person(s) were walking around the house with flashlights. This wouldn't have been a big deal, except we saw them at the next house over a few minutes later. They let themselves in through the back and didn't turn on the lights upon entering the house. Later they did turn on and off the outside lights (so it's not like the electricity was out) but they continued to use their flashlights. Well, the guys thought we girls were getting over-excited and paranoid, but I called the cops anyway. The sheriff's department showed up (two nice guys) and I pointed out the houses across the way. Later we saw some flashlights of the policemen looking into the home. My reasoning: if there were people home, we would have seen the lights turn on to allow the policemen in. We didn't see anything! I still think it was very suspicious. We'll probably never know if anything came of it.

On Sunday we went to see Funny People (which we really liked). We also returned Becks and Pierre (JP and Shan's dogs) because we had been dog-sitting them this weekend. They were good dogs and were definite snugglers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

House Hunting

Over the weekend I was going to blog about how difficult the house-hunting seemed. Our realtor, Paul Holmes, sent us a list of 200 listings, but 100 of those were already 'pending' and many were short sales. We really don't want to be involved with short sales because we've heard so many horror stories that they take so long to close on. Michael and I looked through listing after listing and we just weren't finding anything we really liked. It seemed like everything that was in a great location was really old and a little run-down, or was cute and new but out in the middle of nowhere and very far from our jobs!

Well, Michael went through and narrowed down the list a few times. He also did some searching in other zip codes not included in the initial search. What we were left with was a list of about 14 houses that were real contenders! After some elimination on my part (I think a direct quote from my notes was "Gross green carpet: *barf*") we now have a solid list of 10. Now I'm very excited about our house search! We made an appointment to go with Paul around to the houses this Saturday morning. I can't wait to see these places in person! There are a couple in Fountain Hills, east Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler, so we're all over the Valley.

Check out this cute backyard for one of the houses:

I'll take some pictures of the ones we like and keep you updated on any developments!