Monday, Monday

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Tomorrow I meet another contractor.  Hopefully between him and contractor #1, I’ll get an estimate that gets the must-haves addressed.  Hope, hope, hope!

I’d really like to move from the must-haves to the wants.  I love making where I live pretty.  I love to decorate, especially if that involves crafting or mess-making (two different, but highly related activities).  But the house is not move in ready.  It is not ready for my craftiness!  So I have to make myself content with window-shopping, pinning things on Pinterest, and day-dreaming.

All this to say, (1) consider yourselves on notice, there WILL be a painting party! and (2) look at the gorgeous, gorgeous things that Green Front Interiors has just down the street from me.  Their stuff is not cheap (ergo, not in my price range) but it is well-made and really nicely curated.

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Two Contractors Interviewed

I now have two contractor interviews under my belt.  [Heyyyo!  Just kidding, get your minds out of the gutter, people.]

The contractors will get in touch with the subs they like to use and get back to me with their estimates.  The two folks I talked to were extremely different.  The first was deferential, unassuming, but kind.  He’s a winker, but not in a creepy way.  I myself am a winker, so I think I am a good judge of creepy winking versus not creepy winking.  Ahem.  In any event, he made a very good impression.

The second contractor was a blustering blowhard of a man.  He discounted everything my agent said and assumed she had no idea about houses.  I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that she’s a woman.  Not a smart move on his part, pissing off me and costing him this job, and pissing off her, and costing him future jobs.  I should go back and say that this man called me darling on the phone earlier in the week and had the nerve to insist that my agent be on time for our appointment this morning.  Really?  It’s me you have to worry about, buddy.  I seriously considered cancelling his appointment at that point, but figured even an asshole can be a good contractor, so I’d give him a chance.

Today, in the midst of our walk-through, contractor #1 showed up with a subcontractor to do some measuring, which was completely fine.  But contractor #2 I guess assumed they were both subs, and started ordering them around.  Which, really, it doesn’t matter.  Even if both of the guys who showed up were subcontractors, who the hell are you to order them around?  Luckily, contractor #1 is a great sport, and just gave me a wink with a twinkle in his eye.  Contractor #2 is going to have to come up with some pretty incredible numbers to get this job.

I have one more dude to meet with on Monday, and then we wait for the estimates to come in.  I confirmed today that the shower stall in the master bath is leaking, so that is a big bummer.  Hopefully it won’t be a budget-busting bummer, just a budget-adjusting bummer.

In a related note, I’m available for babysitting and legal ghostwriting!  😉  Momma could use the cash!

Interviewing Contractors

I’m meeting the first contractor today.  Well, I should back up.  After a week of worrying, I got word that the HUD inspector had come up with a list of must-dos that he thought would work in my budget.  And I think I can live with his list, so we are on track.

My mortgage broker explained to me what conditionally approved means – it means I’m as approved as I’m going to get at this stage in the game, which is great news!  Obviously, some stuff is still pending – I haven’t gotten homeowner’s insurance yet, and I haven’t had an appraisal yet because that depends upon the contractor’s statement of work — but that stuff is all supposed to be pending right now.  Hooray.

I have been trying to get in touch with contractors who have experience with 203(k) projects and work in Raleigh and have been recommended to me in some way.  Some folks have great recommendations, but won’t travel here for a project as small as mine.  That makes sense to me, even though, to me, this project is megabucks.  Some are here, but aren’t interested in my small potatoes, and one I emailed with said he didn’t think he could work in my budget.  I have champagne tastes, even in my contractors!  But I have interviews with two men lined up, and I’d like to interview at least one more.  [Where my lady general contractors at?]  That would yield three estimates.  That is a lot of my time, and a lot of my long suffering broker’s time (she has to be there at the house for the estimate, too), but, again, too me, it’s a lot of moolah!!

So wish me luck.  Here’s a shot of my inspiration for the exterior redesign.

From 1970s split to The Biltmore, on less than $40K! KIDDING!

This should have been posted on Sunday, but . . .

Thanks to WP’s known issue, it didn’t go.  Here is some delayed future-first-time-homeowner angst for you.

I’m still waiting – anxiously waiting! – for my HUD inspector to get back to me with a list of things that have to be done to get this house into condition where HUD will be OK with me moving in to it.  The list will also have a lot of my wishes on it, priced out.  I’m guessing that a lot of my wishes will remain just that – wishes.  That’s fine by me.  I’m not trying to turn Elephant Culo into some HGTV dream house.

This will be, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, my first house.  I’ve been a renter, a roommate, a couch-crasher, and for nine short months, a dorm resident up to this point.  While I have champagne tastes (and caviar dreams!), my expectations are a lot lower than that.  I want to get this house safe and clean and move the hell in.

I hope that’s not too much to ask.  I hope the big expenses aren’t bigger than my budget.  Hope, hope, hope, wish, wish, wish, pray, pray, pray.

Go to WordPress, They Said!

Why use Blogger? It’s so old school!

Why use Tumblr? It’s so wonky to have to log in and commenting and reblogging is off.

Go to WordPress, they said! You’ll love it, they said.

I scheduled two posts using the little scheduler tool, and both of them didn’t go.  It says “missed schedule.”  Googling the problem shows people talking about their php and installing newer versions of wordpress.  Presumably, these are people self-hosting and paying for the platform. Not me!

I can’t figure out how to fix it OR how to get my missed schedule posts to post – the option to post immediately seems to have disappeared into the ether.  But the problem has been around for 3 years, so, um, yeah, good job, WordPress.  Way to suck.

Debt Paradoxes

Alternate title:  When is $3,600 worth less than $3,600?

This process is full of debt paradoxes.  First off, it is a paradox that by borrowing scads of money, I will end up keeping more of what I earn.  This is thanks to federal tax incentives that make the interest on my mortgage tax deductible.  It doesn’t sound right at first – borrow over $100,000, end up with more cash to spend – but sure enough, that’s how this works.

The next paradox is a result of how lenders evaluate a borrower’s debt to income ratio.  They look at the monthly debt payment and compare it to your monthly income.  They do not look at your total amount owed relative to your total annual income.

Take me, for example.  One debt I have is a $3,600 student loan.  The current monthly payment on that debt is $52, which is pretty darn low thanks to the income based repayment plan.  If that debt were instead credit card debt, with an interest rate of 18%, the minimum monthly payment would instead be $90!  I used bankrate’s calculator to get that number.

Now, say I have a few thousand dollars to play around with and use to pay down debt.  If I paid off my credit card debt, that would have almost twice the benefit to my debt to income ration that paying off my student loan debt would have.  So far, so good right?

Here’s the thing.  I don’t have credit card debt.  I only have “good debt.”  So I just get a measly $50 off of my monthly debt:income ratio if I pay that $3,600 debt off.  Student loan debt doesn’t seem like such good debt to have now!  Strange but true.