Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This is gonna be a LONG ass blog so strap yourself in, get some coffee and read. It's not going to be in order but I have to spill exactly what has been going on this past few weeks.  First let's begin here:

June 20, 2011

 Ok, soo we had our home inspection a few weeks ago. Now here's the skinny. Our home inspector, the incredible Brian, was amazing. He had the dry sarcastic kind of humor that Vadim and I both needed for what was about to go down. We just didn't know it yet. We arrived at the house right on time and had a team of people waiting for us there. Our realtor, Vanessa was there with our home inspector, oil tank inspector and termite inspector. Thank GOD no oil tank was found underneath our property. This could have caused us a world of problems. If there is a oil tank found anywhere on the property that has not been removed, you basically can't sell the house. Oil tanks that were put under the ground years ago have been known to leak and therefore spilling toxic materials into the ground and in effect in the water. So, this inspection is CRUCIAL when you are buying a home. You can be stuck with thousands of dollars worth of damage if it isn't taken care of.  If the people you are buying a home from swear up and down that there is no oil tank underground on your property, that doesn't mean anything. They might have had a bad inspector that missed it. Get your own people and make sure it's not there. It's worth the $200 you spend and any future ulcers. 

Our termite guy found damage in the back of the house. I wish I had taken pictures of this. It was pretty interesting. Termite damage is serious and needs to be fixed immediatly. Your lender will need proof that it was fixed by a licensed contractor otherwise you will not be able to buy the house. I'm telling you these banks are NOT kidding around. Trust me, we will get into that in detail later. I've given them everything they want to see besides my first born child, a sample of DNA and my first grade report card. These guys are so f**king ridiculous. Ugh, ok sorry. Onto the next.

I had talked to Brian, our home inspector, on the phone two weeks prior to having our home inspection. He seemed very cool and thorough. He has been in the business with his father for years and he made me feel very comfortable about what was going to be done on this day. He also arranged for the termite and oil inspector guy to come all at once which saved me a lot of phone calls. Once we all met, we started outside the property first. 

I wish I had the pictures to pull from my home inspection report but for some reason I couldn't pull them out of the report. I'm using sample pictures instead from the Internet to give you an idea. 

Brian said "Well....we have some issues....". Oh no! My heart sank. He handed us a pair of binoculars and told us to look at the chimney on top of our house. At first glance you would think nothing was wrong with it until you looked through some binoculars. Yup, it was falling over and falling apart! He told us that would probably cost around $5000-8000 in repairs and up. Hmm...great way to start our inspection off! 

                                                                  Chimney repair

He then looked at the outdoor area of our basement including where there was termite damage. The storm doors needed to be replaced since they were rotting away and the stairs leading down to the basement from the yard were crumbling. We knew this when we came to visit the house the first time so it's not like we were surprised or anything. Water had been leaking down to the basement and causing a lot of build up so we had been prepared to replaced the doors. The stairs we didn't realize were falling apart. With one quick flick of his screw driver on the sides of the concrete stairs, they started to crumble. Basically this was a hot mess that wasn't going to fall apart right away, but that we needed to fix. Eh no big deal.  Now on to the basement.

Long story short, we have the following issues:

Cracked Joists
Water Damage
Brick Erosion
Possible Knob and Tube wiring evident in the house 
Stairs separating...oh yes I'm not kidding...

Holy crap. Are you f**king serious? Brian said this was not the usual kind of inspection for first time home buyers but we are buying a 100 year old house, so these problems were normal. The problem was either the home owner or the previous owner did not take care of these problems and now they were at the point where if they weren't taken care of, the house could be in trouble.

Cracked Joists:

The beams supporting the house were cracking. This wood that was used in 1907 to build this house is probably 100 years OLDER than the house itself. So we are actually talking about 200 plus year old wood. Yeah, these babies need to be replaced. If they weren't, the house could collapse at some point in time.

                 example of what cracked joists look like...ours was not as severe...but in time it would be

The house was built on a brick foundation. Now, I loveee me some bricks, but since moisture seeps through bricks underground there is erosion issues. Back in the day, they used a mixture of limestone to bind the bricks together and create a strong foundation. Well, the moisture got to the point where the limestone started to erode and when it gets wet, it turns to sand. So you can imagine when Brian stuck his screw driver between two bricks on the wall, it went SIX INCHES IN! Not good. 

                                                                      mortar erosion

They had much work to be done on the foundation of the house. He reminded me all this was fixable but had to be done. We kept thinking "Oh god, the sellers are gonna freak when they hear about all this!" Oh but wait! We were NOT done! Besides leaks and some rotting wood we came to the grand finale.  The steps. Remember those pictures from earlier blogs of our gorgeous winding three story amazing stair case? Well, we had a problem. The stairs were separating. Now I don't have a picture of the staircase and couldn't find a good example of it online. Basically, underneath the stairs you can see that the slats of wood are coming apart. The stairs are very creaky which is normal for an old house but they also bend really easily. Now, imagine four stories (including basement) of stairs up and down dozens of times a day times 100 plus years times 200 old year wood being used in those stairs and NO repairs = serious major problem. Brian deemed the stairs unsafe. Basically anytime one or two or maybe all of them could cave in. There was no way of knowing other than hiring someone to come in and take a look at them. Oh boy. What a messsss!!!!

Then last but NOT least...Brian found evidence of knob and tube wiring in this house.  More on that next and what else happened. Gotta get my hair done and do two shows but I promise this is gonna get even better!!!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Part Two: The Hottest Day on Earth...wait...what do you mean we may not close?

Ok so fine fine fine all the fixes, all the stuff, all the problems blah blah blah. In the end I get a gorgeous f**king house right? It will ALLLL work out. No stress. Just put it in perspective. In perspective. In perspective. Ok, I can do that. No problem.

So...I go out with my bestie Tali for coffee and breakfast, and we dish about our lives and then take a quick trip to Tiffany's to ring shop. Now, listen, my incredible boyfriend basically bought me a house which is WAY more impressive than getting engaged in my book. This will be the first time we will have lived together and we kind of did it in a major way! Now, he has hinted to me the engagement part will be happening by our third year anniversary which is in November. He is VERY good at keeping secrets so who knows when or if it will happen then. Whenever and however it happens, doesn't matter. He is the love of my life and I am the luckiest girl on earth to deserve such a gem.

So...anyway...still I went to look because I'm doing research in order to educate Tali (who is a FIERCE jewelry designer and friend) on what I like. She is in charge of (when the time comes) going with Vadim to pick out the ring. Now, some people may say this is weird but trust me, I love my man but he needs help and guidance. He is totally cool with this. She also knows the diamond district and has connections. The bottom line is: I don't want him to get ripped off and I certainly don't want a ring from Tiffanys. You are paying for their rent and the name and a damn blue box.  I don't care about either.

Ok so the romance shit is done for the day. Let's cut to when I walk out of Tiffanys and get the phone call that....DRUM ROLL........we probably won't close on Monday. WHAT????

Now there are a cast of characters in this freaking show. The the sellers, the realtor, the lawyer and the mortgage guy. Now that I resolved (as in my previous blog) the dumb stick and wood issue by basically BEGGING the termite guy to write a letter stating it's no big deal we have ANOTHER PROBLEM! GO FIGURE! 

June 20th...termite inspection was done...damage was found...in the report it CLEARLY states...that the back window of the basement needs to be repaired....

Over the course of weeks I ask for the repair to be made...FINALLY I get a letter with the repairs and a diagram...of what was done...and then...

The diagram shows where the termite treatment was...and then ....in the back there is a little box that says: Damage shown on window....Damage shown on the window....

I get a call from Mortgage guy

"Uh....this needs to be fixed...or else we can't close...FHA policy"

HOLY SHIT! They have to get a licensed contractor in at the eleventh hour TODAY so that we can close on a house because a f**king window frame isn't fixed? All hell breaks loose. The realtor starts going nuts, the lawyer starts copying me on emails to the seller's lawyer. Everyone is panicking because this thing has dragged out for months and NOW there is a one small little window pane that is holding us up? WHAT? We are in trillions of dollars of debt in this country and me...little ole me is trying to buy a house and pump money into the damn economy and your going to tell me no because of a window pane????? Of course the seller is freaking out. She already spend thousands on thousands on the house and now this? Everyone is a mess.

My blackberry starts to smoke. I'm calling Vadim. I'm calling the mortgage guy. I call the realtor. I'm emailing. I'm texting. I'm pissed. I'm nervous. Everyone is breathing heavy on the phone not to mention it is 100 degrees out and I'm running out of Tiffany's during lunch hour in midtown Manhattan. I say goodbye to my friend as I'm still on the phone running to the subway. Why? Well, I told my mother I would meet her at the apt at 1 so she can give me boxes. What was I thinking. I run into the subway. I'm freaking out and wind up at a Dunkin Donuts with two munchins and a huge ice coffee that I can't finish and just make it on the A train uptown. I wind up hanging out with my mom in my room since it's the ONLY place with air conditioning. It's me, my mom and my parrot all in a room that fits a dresser and a full sized bed. It was a scene from a movie. The phone is CONSTANTLY ringing and beeping. What happens if we don't close Monday? When will we close? Will the bank find SOMETHING ELSE once again? I want this to be over. The mortgage guy tells me that unless they get someone in there TODAY to fix it, there is basically a very small chance we will close Monday. Which means probably pushing it back a week.  Oh no. No no no no no no no. Just when I think all hope is lost..a few hours later...I get an email from him stating the seller got it fixed and sent a letter and a photo of it by a licensed contractor. All the paperwork is in and now there is a better chance we can get this done. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed Fingers crosssssed. We now have two business days to finish up all the paperwork...well the bank does...we just sit...wait...and sweat....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Everyday a little death....Part one of the hottest day on earth

This blog began this morning....then much has changed....so this is part one of today...part two is in the next section...enjoy...

I'm awake in NYC and the heat is killing me. I just got back Sunday from a wonderful run of GUYS AND DOLLS at Barrington Stage. It was so much fun. I handled all the business for my house on the phone and Internet and now I'm finally back here to deal with everything. It's just so damn hot I don't want to leave my house. How funny is it I have a COFFEE date with a friend in 90 degree weather. Hilarious.

Well it's Wednesday and we close Monday. Three more business days left. I don't count Saturday or Sunday because I figure well, the bank can't really get to us then so it's just the next three days we have to deal with. We are still dotting our i's and crossing our t's. Notice I say GET TO US. I say this because everyday it's something different with these people.

Yesterday the bank was NOT satisfied that our termite repair report from the sellers which was minimal was not sufficient because the contractor said in his notes there was wood debris under the porch and on the side of the house. This means SOMEONE LEFT STICKS AND PLANKS of wood. They could have left it from garden work. They could have left it from when they redid the porch. Who knows.  Literally just a bunch of old wood that needs to be thrown out. Our bank somehow got it into their head that this means DAMAGE and the sellers need a licensed contractor to throw out wood. I mean seriously??? C'mon guys. Let's not get crazy here. This is dumb. I'm telling all of you actors/musicians/artists anyone free lance, if you want to buy a home and need a loan, it is NOT easy. This past two months I have almost had a nervous breakdown with the stress of the house. I even developed acid reflux for the first time in my life. The paperwork is unreal. My friend reminded me that this process involves a ton of RED TAPE. I laughed and said "Oh, I guess I should have been calling it red tape, but I've been just calling it BULLSHIT!" That was funny I have to admit.

Anyway, so back to the house. As you read previously, there were a TON of fixes to be done on the house. The seller had to have many contractors come in the house: a stair guy, an electrician, a plumber, a general contractor, a mason and a chimney guy ALL do the repairs. Probably five contractors in all giving estimates and doing the work. I don't envy them. What a bitch. You might be asking yourself: "Why did the sellers have to do all that work?" Well, here is your answer. See when you take out a loan, especially in the economic climate we are in, obviously the bank is strict. Normally if there are problems with the house found in inspection like in our case, the seller will give you money at closing to repair the items. So, they offered to do that. Hmmm....problem. First of all:

1. NO lender gives out credits at closing to people like us. Whose to say we will actually use the money to make the repairs. I guess that makes sense.

2. Estimates for repairs is NOT the final cost of the repairs. As we all know you can get quoted an estimate and then at the end of the completed repair, it shoots up $10,000 because they "found something else". No way Jose.

Basically we told them that they need to get everything fixed by closing with licensed contractors. Oh Jesus. I know that upset them. I mean I don't blame them. Two weeks till closing and you have to fix the basement, the chimney, the foundation, the stairs, some floors, some plumbing etc etc? Are you kidding me? I would be a mess. I felt bad but they need to sell the house and we can't buy it with the problems. Such is life.