Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bank of America can kiss my @$$

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):

Gast Architects: Projects traditional bathroom

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.


  1. I'll help.
    I'm itching to paint and decorate a house.

    Hope BOA get their butts into gear quick fast!


  2. WOW, I cannot believe the house shenanigans!!! That is just crazy. But whomever's house you break into and redecorate is going to be a lucky gal!!!

  3. hahaha...just don't get caught b.c then we wouldn't be able to hear from you for a while! haha. Love that last wall paper...it's my fav. And what fun projects:) Hoping Bank of America grows some niceness:)

  4. How frustrating!!!! This bank is just ridiculous! Who in their right mind would repair items in a house that isn't legally theirs?????

    If you want you are welcome to paint and wallpaper my house. You don't even need to break in and the sheets are clean in our guest room!

  5. You mean, Bank of America messed up something truly important??? Really??!

    I loathe them. Even more now.

    I cannot believe this, it is SO unfair!!! Now, in our case, since the house was an estate and the kids were paying over $10,000 a year in taxes on a property neither of them lived in, we made the decision to go ahead and pay for the front rail before we technically owned the house. We knew the kids weren't going to do it since they lived out-of-state... and in your situation, it's not just one thing but several you would have to pay for. I almost WANT to suggest that you just do it so you can finally get this house you so deserve... but my better judgement says you're right, that you should NOT have to shell out money on someone else's property.

    This really sucks. Hard.

    I am going to go cry. As I plot the destruction of all of the BoA buildings in my State.

  6. That is SO frustrating, I can't even believe that!! I'll say a prayer that this gets resolved soon for you, to a favorable end.

  7. I actually spit coffee out at my computer keyboard when I read that last line.

    I'm not a wallpaper kind of gal, but mostly because I'm not brave enough to make a decision. This is also why we have all off-white walls. I only get creative with upholstery and making pillow covers, since I can easily change those. I love the second to last photo, especially if it were fabric for accent pillows.

    Sorry about the appraisal issues. We're in the middle of refinancing and our appraisal (after we added .42 acres to our land, ripped out carpet and added wood flooring, took out the Formica countertops and added granite, landscaped, and did 100 other things to improve our home value) came in at $3K LESS than when we purchased our home almost 4 years ago. And, our house somehow "shrunk" by 30 sf... 85 sf from our tax records. AGH.

    Good luck finding more samples-- and even better luck having a home to put them in. You can redecorate my home in Texas if things fall through... can't ruin the home value any more than the current housing market. lol

  8. What a rollercoaster you've been on. Oh my gosh! I'd heard BOA was bad, but this is just cruel and tortureous. I agree with your statement that they have a whole legal team ... why can't they get the ball rolling? I'll pray that someone from the bank can get things figured out quickly.
    BTW - I liked a few of your wallpaper selections. I usually have an accent wall in wallpaper myself. :) You're not alone.

  9. Urgh! That sucks so much!
    We signed a contract on a new place a month ago and we're about to jump into the mortgage drama too. NOT FUN!
    If you like, you can always fly over here and redecorate our place. If we manage to sort out our own nightmare, that is...
    Good luck! I hope this works out!

  10. I am just in awe of the saga this has become. Thank goodness you have a legal background and are aware of things that could be come issues.

    I hope this works out SOONER instead of later. I don't have much to offer on the home décor front, since (as the Brits say), that's not my piegon ;)


  11. I actually like that parchment-y one, and I am not a wallpaper person AT ALL. I spent a very long summer scrapping wallpaper from a woman's house who had it in EVERY room. It was a little much for me. I can't live in that much pattern...overwhelming for my brain. But, that parchment one really speaks to me and I think it would be great in a dining room. Good luck finding ones with better colors.

  12. haha that last line made me laugh!!!!

    But really, I am so sorry about all the house stuff. Home buying (and selling) is a pain in the rear!!! I hope it all works out! I cannot STAND B of A, they ripped me off a couple of years ago - I'd already had trouble w/them so I switched to a new bank, but my student loan company accidentally still took my loan out of my B of A acct, which obviously didn't have enough money in it...so it over-drafted and charged EVERY DAY until I realized it (We were on our engagement trip at the time so I wasn't checking often like I usually do. awesome to come home to that disaster.) I was charged I around $875. Couldn't get them to refund it, even when my student loan company said they'd call them and explain that it was their mistake!
    WHATEVER BANK OF AMERICA, I HOPE YOU HAVE TO CLOSE DOWN. hahaha. :) I'm still a little bitter, can you tell?

    Anyway. Love the decor ideas, and you are welcome to come paint and wallpaper my house if you want to, if yours doesn't work out (although I of course hope it does) ;)

  13. You have got to be kidding me?? I know you aren't, but this sounds totally ridiculous! Ugh....I will step up my prayers to St. Joseph and ask him to intercede for a smooth closing or release from the contract. I honestly don't know which one is better at this point. Sorry you are going through all of this. I liked looking at all your wallpaper selections and analysis. I never have given much thought to wallpaper, so I appreciated and was fascinated by your insights.