flip this hovel

We never met our first realtor. The woman was a friend of Mike’s friend and worked primarily with million-dollar properties along Alki. For those of you unfamiliar with Seattle, Alki is a swank neighborhood in West Seattle that lines the beach. Alki is also a Native American word for, “You think you can live here? Paa-shaa!” It’s true. Look it up. So having never genuinely looked for a home, I believed the first realtor when she told me it was my job to look through listings and pass them onto her and she would give me her opinion. She also told me to look for a “good roof.”

And when my friend Alison suggested we check out her realtor, because what I was doing what not really the standard buyer-agent dichotomy, I figured why not. We were also unhappy with our mortgage guy who was recommended by realtor #1. It was like we were being paired with one of those Beauty and the Geek guys and instead of getting us a sweet deal on a home, he was making us memorize the first 21 numbers of pi. Plus, the loan he offered was about a percent higher than the loan we’re going with now.

At first I was feeling guilty for going behind realtor #1, but when I met our new shiny realtor who met with us in person, it was meant to be. The first lady wasn’t going to make any money off of us, which I’m sure she knew and thus, made me scramble around doing the work she was supposed to do.

So it was a good switch.

We first looked at a house that needed work, and by work, it needed new electrical and plumbing and that the new bathroom he installed wasn’t finished or built with a permit. But that’s what our new agent said after a walk-through, all I could offer was my thoughts on whether or not the seller looked like Buffalo Bill or Buffalo Bill’s dad. And our new loan guy? He was willing to meet with us on the weekend (!) and there were no crazy loans or trick questions about Stephen Hawking and he had no lint on his black sweater. None! How did he do that? I never leave the house without a flurry of bits attached to me.

And after all this time of hunting and searching and crying and hating ourselves for not having bought sooner, we made an offer.

At about 1200 sq feet, it’s not a huge home, but it’s gorgeous. There’s bamboo flooring, vaulted ceilings, granite counter tops and a little fairy that comes out to sweep all the hair I shed onto the floor. And we’re still in West Seattle with only a partial view of a crack house, which is sad because I watch Intervention and I wanted that full-throttle voyeurism.

The only thing is, I don’t think the offer will be accepted. I know they want a shorter closing date than we can offer, so if it’s a nay on this, then I’ll be okay. C’est la vie. Maybe the next place will actually come with a washer/dryer, refrigerator and a legion of hair-sweeping fairies.

I just want hardwood floors and nice neighbors, because that’s worth the closing costs alone.

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  1. I had the same experience with doing our realtor’s job. It wasn’t until someone else mentioned how many listings their realtor sent them each day that I realized we didn’t *have* to be our own realtors. We still used our original realtor, but only because *I* found our dream house right before we were going to fire her.

    And can you tell me where to find a hair-sweeping fairy? I’m thinking of getting my fiance one for his birthday (for my hair, not his. he doesn’t have much and thinks I’m bragging… “I have so much hair I can leave it around the house and still have plenty on my head! Ha ha!”)

  2. Butrfly4404 says:

    I’m sure you’ve already seen this, but have you tried http://sea.themlsonline.com/

    That’s where I found my house! (Well, not Seattle, but you know!)

    I ultimately found the house we bought, but my realtor was still a Godsend! She fended off other prosopective buyers and still found other houses for us that she thought fit us well (mostly the hus, though). Aside from that, our lives got turned upside down the day before we were to sign the purchase agreement. She did it for us…brought the family KFC for dinner…did everything she could to make sure we didn’t lose our deal.

    On the OTHER hand..my mom hired a realtor (actually from that site I linked – not good for realtors, but good for searching!) who got paid a base fee. She PRETENDED to hold open-houses. She PRETENDED to give showings (my mom had already moved into her new house). She was a total FLAKE.

    It’s so hard to find the right people to work with. Hidden agendas and lack of motivation can really kill a real-estate deal.

    Good luck with your offer.

  3. Hey Mona, still a smart ass I see…stumbled upon your page and couldn’t resist writing a comment. Thanks to you I’ve endured 3 more days of trememdously boring work so Biba Mona!

    Anyhow, I understand your frustrations about home buying. My fiance and I are looking for a home too and we can’t find anything decent for cheaper than $400,000 in Bumf**k, MD. We’re in the damn boonies, it shouldn’t cost this much to live in the country.

    By the way, Nathan is too cute! And don’t worry, my daughter is only 4 months and already 17 pounds. I’m afraid.

  4. Bamboo floors. Oh I’m so jealous.

  5. How exciting to be looking at houses, though! I want to start doing that too, but I (meaning my credit) am not ready yet. *sigh*

    Good luck on the house hunt.

  6. kat–I’m hoping to train my son to be a hair sweeping fairy. Why else would I have children?

    Thanks butrly, that’s exactly what I need–another addictive website.

    Leng–I can’t believe how expensive it is to buy a *decent* house. I can definitely afford the inventory of double wides.

    Bianca–don’t let your credit score stop you. If you live in Seattle, I have a great mortgage broker who got us a great loan and who explained the intracacies of that three-digit number.

  7. Mommy off the Record says:

    Thanks for your comment on my blog the other day. I’ve missed reading your blog and keeping up with you!

    I hope you get this house. It sounds great. If you get it, you must tell me how you like the bamboo floors. We’re considering putting in bamboo in our house too.

    Good luck – I’m crossing my fingers for ya!

  8. Ah yes, same experience here. Next time around we are going with a full service real realtor. Ha.

    Good luck with the offer! Exciting!

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