So you know this house we're supposed to close on this Friday, and move into on Saturday? No. No, we're not. It's a long story. It exhausts me emotionally. Here is the short version (really): after all the insanity and the six months since our offer and assorted nonsense, we were scheduled to move and had done all our inspections. Thursday last, we got the appraisal report. Came in $10,000 under the contract price. I was surprised, since the contract price was about $40,000 under the tax assessment. We asked the sellers' lender (BoA) to take $10,000 off the price. Have they answered? No, of course not. Why do that?
Worse, the appraisal came with all sorts of "conditions" - things that must be fixed or the VA will not guarantee our loan, as these conditions make the property unsafe, unsound, or unsanitary. Take a moment and think of conditions that you think would rise to that level. Keep thinking. No, really, come up with a few really good examples.
Did peeling exterior paint make your list? No? Really?
Yeah, it made our list of conditions. So did adding a handrail to the service stairs (because they're missing a step, so that first one's a seam-splitter). But those stairs are redundant - there is a main staircase. Also, there's some water in the basement...and the eaves need repainting...and the roof needs resealing. And they think we need a handrail on the front porch stairs (I disagree). But here's the kicker: in a normal sale, the seller would get all these things done quick-fast so the sale could go through. In this (SHORT!) sale, the seller has no money; the approving bank (the aforementioned Bank of America that can kiss my @$$) is not going to pay for it; and I am not going to pay for repairs to the place until I live there, because before that it is not my house, and I do not undertake repairs to other people's property. For the record, there's a potentially serious liability issue there - do not do this.
So we requested a waiver from the VA...they denied it in two hours, but we didn't hear for three days...today I called and heard that they had not denied (or even received) it and I don't understand this news; we've extended our current lease a month; we're scrambling to get estimates for these repairs; I've re-submitted the waiver request to the VA; everything we have is in boxes. I've absolutely had it - I was at the limits of my patience before the latest round of drama started. I don't even want a house any more; I just want all the people connected to this transaction to be repeatedly run over by a truck at low speed.
And then my realtor told me that Bank of America has, on previous occasions, charged buyers $100 a day for delaying closing. (They can't do so here, because as the closing date approaches, they haven't even responded to our request to drop the price and therefore as of yesterday our contract is technically void. Nice job, geniuses at Bank of America. You have an entire legal department; I have a senile realtor and no experience in real estate law. NOT IMPRESSIVE.) I have heard that BoA recently lost an outrageous amount of money in what even I think was sort of a frivolous lawsuit on behalf of foreclosed-on homeowners in the Pacific Northwest. Good.
At this point I am open to renting until we move out of the DC area altogether and take up teleworking from an island off the coast of Maine (I would also consider an island in the Chesapeake. I'm very open-minded).
Moving this post to a lighter note, I am also courting small disasters in the shape of the foiling of some of my home decor plans. You may recall my endless wallpaper debates, and, as I mentioned, I've actually started ordering samples. They finally arrived - quite a few of them. Some are winners; some, not so much.
Let's see...for our bedroom, I've been set on this for ages and ages:
It totally doesn't work in person. I want something very crisp - sharp edges, with solid, even color - and this is almost "painterly," with watery color and feathered edges. Plus it's not as greenish/turquoise as it appears on the screen. It's out. Unfortunately, hours and hours of searching through wallpaper images have not revealed to me a worthy substitute. Woe.
I had intended this for the upstairs bathroom:
In addition to being a great price, I loved that the print was relatively simple and clean for a damask. I also thought that it was a faint gray-on-gray. Tragically, no. While the sample had the crispest printing anyone could ask for, it is a horrendous beige-on-beige. With apologies to anyone who feels the opposite, I loathe beige for home decor applications. A really resonant ivory seems appropriate to me in some circumstances, but beige I cannot countenance. And this one is a shiny, almost pearlescent, beige on matte beige. It's truly horrible.
Almost as long-standing as my (now abandoned) choice for our bedroom is my preference for the dining room:
That had one flaw that was foreseeable even from the on-screen version - namely, the background color had a parchment-y tone, rather than completely even color. And I absolutely loathe faux finishes on wallpaper - cloudy prints, "aged" finishes, any kind of thing that's supposed to look like bricks or wood or whatever. And sure enough, in person, it's parchment-y...but not really moreso than it appeared online. And from a distance of even a few feet, I don't think that would really be visible. And I think it's still a great choice to go above white wainscoting. So, I'm sticking with it. One room down.
For the second bedroom, I ordered a sample of this:
I loved that it had insects. That really said "Victorian grotesque" to me. I was concerned about the luridness of the background color. Again, the sample was a surprise in person. The background color was very toned-down and totally workable. The print was also much larger than I realized. Some of those flowers are the size of saucers. I think maybe the scale alone makes the print seem more modern, and that troubles me. I still love all the bugs. And I love the greeen. And I love all the different intense colors in the flowers - it would make it easy to bring in other colors in the room as accents. But...now I'm second-guessing whether it has the feel I want. I want wallpaper with a really historic sensibility, without making it look like the house is inhabited by 90-year-olds. I know that to most people's eyes, any wallpaper automatically reads nonogenarian, and I'm OK with that - I just have to get it to read artistic and interesting, rather than "museum," from my point of view.
For the third bedroom, as you may recall, I am working from this inspiration photo - I want three walls in this apricot color:
And then the fourth wall will be some wallpaper in the right color. And as I've mentioned, my point of inspiration is this paper (I need to find an affordable version, in a lighter shade):
I ordered two different shades of what seemed like a likely print, figuring they were both approximately apricot and I would pick the better one. One was ivory and the other was metallic gold. I'm not sure how that happened. My exhaustive search for a replacement has been largely unsuccessful, but tomorrow I am going to order this:
I think it has potential. HOWEVER. It also turned out to be a portent of disaster. You see, it's made by Pierre Deux, which company makes some of my very favoritest home decor prints. Wonderful things. And it is going out of business. It looks like there is still some stock in a lot of the papers available to buy - but only for a short time. So I was thinking that maybe I should look harder at Pierre Deux prints for the rooms as to which I'm still undecided, but I haven't really had much success with that.
My husband likes this print:
And I see where he's coming from, but it's very dark, too dark for a house with little rooms. And I love this print:
But I think it would be too much for our bedroom, and I want something with a lot of green for the second bedroom. So I am torn.
I have settled on a few other things. I want a warm, light-to-medium, yellowy-gray color for the living room. I'm not going to use wallpaper in that room at all. It has the uneven plaster that would be difficult to paper, and I want to use a lot of different vibrant colors of vintage velvet-upholstered furniture, and I need a neutral background.
I'm also thinking that I might just need to paint the upstairs bath the color of my Platonic Bathroom (and skip wallpaper there altogether - sad though that makes me):
I've got some ideas on specific paint colors, but still working on it.
And, in answer to your obvious question, if we don't get the house, I am just going to break into someone else's home and repaint and paper their walls.