The price of an average house in Florida was about $250,000! Realizing we would most likely be unable to afford those prices in the “Land of Paradise” aka Manatee County, we checked real estate prices in Oklahoma, found we actually could buy a house at a reasonable price — so we decided we were going to Oklahoma.
Well, that was easily said, so we took the ‘luxury’ of three whole days to look at everything Oklahoma had to offer. But, it was a rocky road, filled with bumps, turns and emotions!
The houses were either too big, too small, too run down, too many stairs, too pricey, had a too steep of a driveway, and on and on. Of course, the one I loved, was out of our budget, and here begins the downhill and disappointment of our home shopping venture.
There was one house we called the “Racetrack” because at one time, it had a big beautiful in-ground swimming pool. But, the pool had been filled in with ground and left for weeds and patchy grass to grow wherever it pleased. The concrete rim was left for all to see, thus it looked like a racetrack. It did have a big master bedroom and an unusually huge living room. However, the kitchen needed a complete redo with all new appliances, and the yard was not cared for; the driveway was an uphill mountain, needed a new roof. The house did have two huge work/storage sheds that my husband loved.
Bottom line – I couldn’t see further than the needing run-down kitchen appliances, horrific cabinets, and the view of the ‘racetrack’ from the dining room window!
So, we continued on to another house (that I’m thinking we should have revisited) – but being disoriented and letting ourselves think the ‘pot of gold’ would be the next house, we passed it by.
This house had:
two living rooms,
a beautiful fireplace,
not a great kitchen, but do-able,
large master bedroom,
large dining room,
Spanish-type windows (which I liked), and
a flat driveway.
But, we went on. After all this was only the second house, and there must be lots more to look at.
We looked at an absolutely huge – must have been 2,500 to 3,000 SF executive house:
beautiful light fixtures,
a large stone fireplace,
a recreation room about the size of a football field,
an additional room (perhaps a poker or craft room)
super large dining room, BUT
the bedroom had a bad odor,
the house needed new windows and a roof,
the rooms needed a lot of fixing,
the backyard was almost nonexistent, needing lots of work, and
a two-car garage requiring major repairs.
And, so, we continued on our journey to become even more confused and overwhelmed!
Finally we visited a house in a lovely neighborhood; the owner was an elderly widower. This house had:
professional window and wall treatments,
new looking carpet,
nice laundry room,
great kitchen and laundry room cabinets,
built-in bookcase, and
an unused wet bar.
The back porch was small and open, but
the backyard was fenced, and
there was a small storage shed,
the front yard was shady and landscaped.
Now, keeping in mind, we were tired, cold (it rained, constantly, all three days), and finding that our ideals were very different (although, we ‘thought’ we had discussed what we wanted). So, I’m irritated because my husband seemed to be interested only if the house had Jenn-aire appliances and storage sheds for an economy price. Me, on the other hand, wanted a big house, a big kitchen with new and/or updated appliances, lots of storage, a big master bedroom, and a screened lanai so my cats could enjoy the outdoors safely. All or a sudden, we were 360 degrees from each other!
But, we compromised and made an offer on the house owned by the widower, and called it a day.
The next morning, my husband informed me he changed his mind and liked the “Racetrack” house better because of the two storage sheds. I hated the kitchen and the backyard with that damned concrete racetrack, and we both hated the driveway. But we both liked the big bed and living rooms. So, we pulled the offer on the widower’s house and moved it to the Racetrack house.
During all this stress and hullabaloo, I developed a dental problem! Wonderful – my dentist was more than 1,200 miles away! I called my periodontist and he said for me to be in his office immediately upon my return (luckily I was not having any pain). The news was not good – but, then I already expected the worst. He said the tooth could not be saved and I would need an implant. Now, implants are not sold at the 5&10-cent store – and, are NOT covered by insurance. So to make a long story short, I was looking at $3,500 for the crown work, and another $8,500 for the extraction, bone grafting, and implant foundation! Like, oh yeah, no problem, I carry that around just for the Hell of it! Then to find out, the process would take about 6 months, and we were leaving the area less than two months from now! So, I still have the tooth and hope it won’t cause any problems until I can find another periodontist and implant specialist in Oklahoma. You know – when it rains ….
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. So, now, we are back in Florida after a 3-day whirlwind house hunting trip. Instead of becoming closer to each other, it seems we’ve only added additional frustration, financial hardship, and barriers between us. This was not supposed to be how I had thought it would go. Of course, being the eternal “dreamer,” I live in a Cinderella world; A world flanked by fluttering butterflies, daisies swaying in the breeze, and a prince charming on a white steed.
The offer on the “Racetrack House” was turned down. Their counter offer was way out of line without any room for negotiation. We offered again, but that too was turned down. Actually, I was hoping they would decline on our offers, because as I said, I did NOT like the place.
We asked the Realtor if the widower’s house was still available. He confirmed that it was, and we pursued a new path. Since the place appeared to be in great shape, we agreed to the seller’s asking price with the stipulation that the house passed home and roof inspections.
The house passed, however, the roof had met it’s expected life expectancy and could need a new roof in 3-5 years. The insurance company would not insure the house, which meant we could not get the loan. What next? But, to our surprise, the seller agreed to replace the roof! He also agreed to a 1-year home warranty protection plan, and assumed responsibility for the closing costs.
There was a BIG mix-up with the mortgage lender and us. They claimed they were unaware that we would not be present for the closing, however, we told them all this when we were in their office! The closing date was missed and had to be extended because they didn’t get the paperwork to us on time! This in turn caused us to be thrown into a higher APR bracket – we were not happy campers. To make a very long story a bit shorter, the roof was replaced, the loan granted, and we closed on the house in June 2007.
So, here we are, homeowners! Yeah, homeowners but living more than 1,300 miles from the house! I’m not sure, but I believe there’s something wrong with this picture.
Okay, so the move is scheduled to happen in July 2007 – that’s one and one-half months AFTER we closed on the house! The delay in our leaving Florida was because there was a painful lump in my left breast that had to be surgically removed.
In February 2007, I had breast surgery, and it appears during the healing process there was a glob of tissue that died. This mass turned to concrete (or at least that’s what it felt like), and had to be removed.
Okay, so that’s over, and then our blood-sucking van (purchased when we were apparently brain-dead) decided to suck another cup of green blood from our savings account.
Not to be out done, the car decided to get into the action and exploded its air conditioning compressor! Yep, exploded and bent the frame! So, secretly, the Big Blue Loser and the Silver Sword are in competition to see who can get the most attention and suck out the biggest bucket of George Washington’s blood!
Okay, so we’re down to two days before the movers get here! We’ve been packing, and packing, and there’s even more packing to be done! We have over 100 boxes and still counting! Unpacking is going to be a real joy – I can see it all now! Paper will be stacked to the ceiling, and the chore of breaking down the boxes will be a 24/7 job! Sugar (one of our cats) is going to love the boxes, and Teddy (the other cat) is going to love the paper — however, we’ll need to watch carefully just what we throw out – it could be the cats!
Okay, mover’s have come and gone, we are tired, grumpy, sweaty and hungry – but look out Oklahoma, here we come!