The property we made an offer on has an agreed price after the haggling back and forth. We’ve got the financial aspect covered. We have signed that initial paperwork for the process. The earnest money has been paid.
Not that there haven’t been some bumps in the road along the way. It turned out that this particular house had never been given an address…in this day and age, no less! That required a lot of trips from city hall to court house, back and forth, over and over, for the real estate agent. It had also never had its own electric meter, which required the seller to hire a licensed electrician and coordinate with the power company to install one. It was at that point that I must confess…I was worried the seller (a bank) would back out.
Now, those hurdles have been jumped, and we’re on to the waiting game until the closing. We can, however, arrange for the city to inspect the house and give us that oh-so-necessary certificate of occupancy that we need in order to turn on the utilities after we do close. The missing item that was going to cause a failure from the city was it’s utter lack of smoke detectors, which the agent promised to install prior to the inspector’s arrival. I thought that was a very nice gesture on her part, since she’s been making me crazy with her manner of returning calls. (She apparently prefers text messages and email…and I prefer to hear a voice!) Since it’s all electric, no carbon monoxide detectors are required.
Since this house was converted in the aftermath of Katrina…I have no worries about that inspection–the codes haven’t changed.
But that isn’t the end of it. I’ll get photos posted as soon as I actually start taking them and we start working. It will be interesting to see before and after pictures.
We have so much work to do…from the waist high weeds onward.
To make it a bigger challenge, we don’t really have any money, so the repairs, work, and materials…are all being done on a shoestring. There’s no furniture either–we’d gotten rid of nearly everything that could be called “furniture.” That means we have camp chairs to sit on, a camp table…and a bookshelf.
GM has the skills to do the work, whether its building a new entry or a new table, but we are also “tool challenged.” For power tools, all we have now is both a corded and battery power drill, a cheap jig saw, a dremel tool set, a router, and a scroll saw. Our most critical need is probably going to be a circular saw, as it can safely accomplish most cuts on both sheet stock and dimensional lumber.
For the house, the critical needs are going to start with plumbing and painting, and we already know that we need a new toilet.
We hadn’t noticed this particular detail on the initial inspection, but it wouldn’t have made much difference anyhow. This is probably one of the more glaring needs-to-be-repaired items, but it’s certainly not the most serious or expensive.
So our shopping list is growing: caulk, caulk gun, toilet, new wax ring, corner molding to replace the lovely job the toilet currently sports with corner bead for drywall…and plumbing parts. Some things have to wait due to financial crunches–we have to move in as soon as possible, and just plain don’t have the money for an instant remodeling of the house.
That means we are stuck with the flooring for now. It’s special too…along with the closet installations, the door to the utility room and a few other horrible things. The damaged kitchen cabinets, despite the bad installation and damage, are also something we have to live with. They too will get a scrubbing, coat of paint, and a promise for better things to come.
Despite the problems and needed changes and repairs…I like the house and the lot. I don’t like that it is considered “flood plain” but most of coastal Mississippi IS somehow flood prone. This area flooded during Katrina, but doesn’t habitually flood for every incoming tropical storm, unlike the bayous and some of the river front areas. (According to the neighbors, Katrina delivered about 5′ of water…enough to indicate that a hurricane is an occasion to go visit someone inland.)
So we’re looking at the weeds and sighing…we don’t even own a lawnmower. The graveled parking area is even sporting the waist high crop of weeds. For this, I had recently read something about how straight distilled vinegar, sprayed on weeds, will kill them quicker than using chemicals such as Round Up. Since we would prefer to avoid that kind of chemicals (we’re intending on doing some gardening and prefer organic practices) and distilled vinegar is one of the cheapest chemicals on the market…I’m going to give that a try. We have a healthy crop of native vines taking over some fencing, and that too will get the pickling treatment with the hopes that it works on them. (I already know that these vines are apt to thrive on Round Up from previous experiences.)
So here is our shopping list as we wait for news about closing.
- 2 gallons vinegar
- yard & garden sprayer
- drywall mud
- sanding block
- sand paper
- paintable caulking
- caulk gun
- roller pads
- extension handle
- paint tray
- paint brushes
- small/trim roller
- masking tape
- step ladder
While we can drive to Mobile, Alabama or the Gulfport/Biloxi area for supplies, we only have a Lowe’s in the Pascagoula area, along with the standard Walmart. That doesn’t give us a lot of options for supplies and tools. We also don’t see a lot of benefit in spending an entire day and half a tank of gas (to the tune of $30-40 these days) to save $10 on our supplies. For some things, there is also the option of mail order/internet shopping to get the items we need. We’ll see. I dn’t mind saving a bit if I don’t have to sacrifice too much quality to do so.