Forest Hills, Queens, October 11, 2006 - As of today we've been saying "can you believe we've been in our house for (insert appropriate amount of time) already?" for five years.
We sort of bought the house on a whim - we were just randomly walking through the Gardens back in May 2001, when we came across this open house. I love going to open houses, and Sue sometimes indulges me. The house was a wreck inside - floors were full of carpet staples and needed redoing, ugly-ass moldy wallpaper needed destroying, bathrooms and kitchens needed gutting, some extra stoves needed removing - but it was bigger than any other townhouse we had seen in the area thus far. I saw the potential in the place, and was pretty much sold when we reached the roof deck. Sue was more skeptical, but we went home, ran the numbers, saw that we could indeed afford it, and somehow I convinced her that we should make an offer.
This was in June. Our offer was accepted, then the pain started. The inspection found termite damage and asbestos. A two-foot extension to the garage was found to have been done without any permits. They knocked a hole in the wall to remove the third-floor stove/sink unit, then hemmed and hawed about fixing it...
Well, the termite damage was old and non-threatening, but the asbestos removal was done half-assedly by some random guy the real estate agent hired. We had to find someone to do that professionally. They eventually fixed the hole, thankfully *after* we discovered that while knocking the hole in the wall, they also disconnected a bathroom sink drain so that it drained into nowhere. They fixed that, too. And they gave us some money to figure out how to get the garage extension grandfathered in (which we actually haven't done yet. It won't come up until we try to sell the place...)
There's more, but you get the picture - the experience was quite unpleasant. So much so that Sue cried and wanted to back out nearly every day. It didn't help that the real estate guy was a lying slimy bastard. *And* he had the audacity to keep bugging us to rent him our garage for his car.
But we persevered, and we *finally* set a closing date for September 12, 2001... which was, of course, pre-empted. We rescheduled for October 11, and four hundred or so signatures later, we were the proud owners of a whole lot of debt.
It's funny to recall just how unhappy we were; five years later, we can laugh about it while sitting in our living room enjoying a bottle of wine, knowing we made the right decision. And then we remember that we really do need new windows...