Up Close and Personal

For Buyers

Once you have an accepted offer on a house, you can anticipate being able to get into the house a couple of times before you close. The first time will be the inspection during which you’ll walk through the house with the inspector, getting to know your house “up close and personal” so that once you own it you know some basic things about the house such as where the main water shut off is, how to change the furnace filters, how to get into the attic and crawl space, where the electrical panel is and how it’s set up, etc.

In your excitement over the house, you might be tempted to ask a relative/friend or two to come see the house. This is NOT the purpose of this time. This is still the seller’s house, so “entertaining” relatives and friends isn’t appropriate during the inspection time. You might also want to get into the house to measure spaces for appliances and furniture, and the seller might allow you to get in another time to do that. Be respectful of the seller’s time if you ask to get in another time.

Right before closing you’ll be able to do a “final walk-through.” This is not a time for inspecting for further repairs. This is a time to make sure all of the agreed upon repairs have been completed and everything in the house follows the purchase agreement. You’ll probably leave the house from this final walk-through and go to the most exciting part of the home buying process, the CLOSING. (More soon on what happens in a closing).

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The “Ole Once Over”

Having a home on the market is stressful for a number of reasons, one of which is that you know there are strangers coming through your house and giving it the “ole once over” and sometimes a very detailed inspection. You know they’re going to even look in your cupboards and your closets. You know it’s all just part of the process, but it’s still a sensitive time and a very awkward feeling.

If you think at least that part of the home selling process is over once you’ve accepted an offer, YOU’D BE WRONG! First there will be an inspection. The buyer and sometimes their realtor will be there with the inspector. Sometimes the buyer invites a relative or two to come and see the house they’re buying, just because they’re so excited about it.

The SECOND person to come through the house will be the APPRAISER. This is to establish value, not necessarily condition, so they won’t be looking at your house with the same eyes and concerns as the inspector. The buyer seldom even knows when the appraiser is going to the house so there usually is only one person, the appraiser, who is in your house at that time.

Most people anticipate the inspection and appraisal, but there’s one more time that often takes a seller by surprise and that’s the “FINAL WALK THROUGH.” The buyer and their agent will come through one more time right before closing just to make sure that everything that was supposed to be left in the house per the purchase agreement is still there, and there is no damage to the house. It’s the buyer’s right to see the house before they sign away their financial life for the next 30 years, but most sellers aren’t prepared for the notification of the final walkthrough. It’s all part of the process and you’ll get through it!

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Posted in Real Estate Tips and Tricks, sellers

Property Management Fees

Many buyers and sellers aren’t aware of fees being charged in the transfer of real estate by property management companies working for Homeowners Associations. This charge is usually for a verification that the seller is current on all fees, and the simple correction of files changing the name and contact information from the seller to the new owner, the buyer. I’ve seen fees range from $50.00 to $300.00.

If you’re dealing with a Planned Unit Development (think covenants and restrictions), this fee will probably be included in your closing costs. It might look like this fee is assessed by the HOA itself, but this is a misconception because the Homeowners Association receives NONE of these fees.

If a condo community is involved, there may be an additional fee for a more extensive report including the financial stability of the community, the statistics of delinquency rate on monthly fees and the annual budget. This report is required by the buyer’s lender, so sellers generally believe that this cost should be the responsibility of the buyer. Because sellers are responsible for getting all HOA documents to the buyer, buyers think this cost should be the responsibility of the seller. WHO pays for this fee, sometimes as high as $300, really should be clarified at the time that the purchase agreement is signed.

Failure to get this clarification can become an “issue” just a few days before closing, and can even cause a delay in getting it all done on time. Call the Property Management Company of the community in which you hope to, or currently, live for firm information on the fees that will be charged in order to get the home sold.

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Grace and Dave’s Great RV Adventure … June 24, 2015

(Sorry … this one got out of order due to technical difficulties!)

Jane and I slept in the tent again last night. We had taken down the tent because there was a storm rolling in over the mountains, but then it never resulted in anything, and the clouds disappeared, mostly, so we had another clear night. So we quickly put the tent up again, and Jane prepared it for the night. We had the sleeping mats, which helped a great deal in our comfort, and Jane and I both made it through the night again. The clouds had completely dispersed sometime in the night, and I woke up long enough to enjoy them in all their brilliance one more time. Tried to wake up Jane but she was too sound asleep.

HANGING LAKE WALK

Dave woke us at 6:30, as agreed upon, so that we could get an early start toward Hanging Lake. We were off by 7:15 and arrived in the rest area by 8:00. We were on the trail by 8:20 or so. The walk is listed as “difficult” and it was that. It’s very steep and most of the time you’re stepping UP onto very uneven surfaces, mostly large rocks. There are some areas, short in length, that were more level, but for the most part, you’re taking BIG steps UP. The good part is that at that time of day, the entire trail is shaded and it’s cooled by the rushing stream coming down the mountain.

I learned from Dan Heist that on these kinds of walks “you can’t go too slow” and that has become my motto. We didn’t pass many people and many people passed us, which was fine by me. Jane was walking in her flip flops (not recommended for this walk) and she was moving at a great pace, like a mountain goat. She would wait for us to catch up which was perfect. The sign said to plan for 3 to 4 hours, so I was ok with taking even 5. The walk itself is strenuous just because of the high steps and the very uneven surfaces on which to plant your feet. I should have brought my walking stick, which might have helped in several spots. But I didn’t and I made it, so it was all good. We would stop and just look around us several times along the way, which also slowed our pace. The very last hundred feet or so are VERY STEEP… so much so that there are railings installed to help you pull yourself up. It’s also very narrow and when we got to that particular spot there was almost gridlock with some people wanting to come down and two people who were taking a very long time going up. Some of that was because of the difficulty of it but it was also because of their fear of heights.

We finally made it to the top and decided to take the add-on walk up to SPOUTING ROCK. We were told that the first part was the roughest and that it was worth the climb, so up we went. Again, it was shaded and cooled, so that was good. Spouting rock is the water fall that flows into Hanging Lake and it really does look like the water is spouting out of the rock. We were able to walk behind the falls and took some nice pictures. After spending some time around the falls, we went back down toward the lake. We walked about 50 yards, turned this corner and there it was! It is gorgeous! The water is pristine and beautiful and so calm. It’s a VERY SMALL LAKE, almost more like a pond, so it’s very quaint. There are walking paths almost completely around it and benches built in. We had brought some fruit and water, so we had a nice snack while sitting on the bench. Visited with a couple of people and then prepared for the walk down.

Of course, the walk down was easier than the walk up, but I’m not saying it was easy. The strenuous climbing UP wasn’t there, but the uneven surfaces still presented a problem. I could have really used my walking stick on the way down. About ¾ of the way down Jane told us her feet were starting to hurt, especially in her arches…which was no surprise to us. But, there was nothing to do but just keep going!

We got down in 3.5 hours, which was faster than I had planned for. I understand that some people can do it faster…some were actually running up and/or down, but I was quite satisfied. And tired. I was pretty much wiped out!

MUD AND MORE MUD!!

We had made arrangements for a raft ride the next day, so we had decided to move to a campground closer to Glenwood Springs, where we’d meet for the raft ride early in the morning. From there we’d leave for Grand Junction, so it was all on the way. That all meant that we would head back to Sylvan Lake after Hanging Lake walk, break camp and check out and move to Glenwood Springs Resort, which we did.

When we got to the dirt road, we found that they were spreading water on it, to keep down dust created by the construction that was being done to widen the road. We commented that the people at Enterprise wouldn’t be happy with the mud on the Camaro when we returned it. Little did we know!

We broke camp, packed up and headed out, down the now mud road, all five miles of it. When we got to Glenwood Springs Resort, and Dave started to level the RV, he reported to me that there was mud all over the underbelly of the RV. I took the hose and started to wash off the stabilizers and the lines he would be connecting and tried to wash off most of the mud in back of the wheels. I was amazed at how much mud had accumulated under that thing!

Dave took Jane into the WalMart near Glenwood Springs to get some water shoes for the raft ride the next day and they picked up a pizza while in there for supper. They had been told Uncle’s Pizza was the best, and I can say that it was really very good. We all turned in pretty early and had a good night’s sleep.

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Go with Grace Events — Tour of new Temple in Carmel

From time to time I schedule special events I call Go With Grace events.

It’s common for us to be able to go into houses of worship for most religions, so the fact that only members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly known as Mormons, can enter their temples leaves many people curious and even suspicious of what exactly goes on in there!

I am not a member of their Church, but I’ve had the pleasure of representing a number of Mormons. I’ve gotten to know them and have gone to their churches with them. As a non-member of the Church, however, I’m not allowed to go into their temples. With one exception. When a new temple is built, they have a short period of time during which they have tours of the entire temple to the general public.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to tour the Ochre temple in Utah and it was a very interesting and inspiring experience. This month, the Indianapolis Indiana Mormon Temple will be opening its doors to the general public. I’d like to invite you to join me and some of my Mormon friends to tour the temple and gather after the hour long tour for light refreshments and a casual, informal discussion of some of the beliefs, rituals, and practices of their religion.

I’m hearing that it’s quite beautiful and can’t wait to see it, and would love to share it with you. My group is limited to twenty, so please contact me if you’re interested. We will begin touring at 6:15 pm, Friday, July 17.

Watch my website for more information.

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Grace and Dave’s Great RV Adventure … June 25, 2015

As I was lying in bed thinking about that mud, I thought that it really should be washed off all over, since it was so thick. I thought that I could probably do that before we had to leave for rafting. After Dave and I got up and ate some breakfast I told him I would clean more of the mud off the underside while he was preparing to leave. Little did I know!

As I was spraying the mud, it just didn’t seem to want to come off the pipes and lines. I looked for something that was long and “substantial” that I could use to start scraping it and found something in the tool box that could work. As I started scraping, the mud in most places was like THREE INCHES THICK!!! With my scraping it started to just fall off in CLUMPS. I was so glad that I had decided to do that there, as I had thought about doing it at the Pitcher house once we got there. That would not have been good! I worked on it for about 45 minutes, after which time we had to get going so as not to be late for our rafting trip. I figured I had gotten most of it off, and could work further on it in Grand Junction.

RAFTING

We had been trying to get a rafting trip in this whole month so we were excited to hear that we could finally get it this week. Because of the heavy snow melt and rain, a popular rapids, Shoshone rapids, was unpassable. We were told that the Forest Service allows rafting when the water level is up to 6000 cfms and it was currently over 11,000 cfm. So the raft ride we would be on would put in after the Shoshone and go further on down the river to make up for it.

Once we registered, I took the phones and cameras back to the RV. To my dismay, there were several rivulets of water coming out of the bottom. The one that especially concerned me was dripping off the sewer hookup. My fear was that in my “scraping” of the mud I had poked a hole in some line that was now leaking a valuable fluid, such as brake fluid. Or, possibly worse, that it was now leaking black water, which for you non RVers, is NOT a good thing! I’ll leave it at that! I got on my hands and knees, to check it out and maybe say a prayer, and couldn’t really tell where the drips were coming from. So, with no other option that I could think of, I put my hand under the drip to catch a drop to smell it.

To my delight, there wasn’t any kind of distinctive smell, so I figured it wasn’t a mechanical fluid and it wasn’t a sewage fluid. Without knowing what it was, I concluded that it must be some wet mud still attached to the bottom, and returned to the rafting company. I didn’t say anything to Dave at the time, since there wasn’t anything he could do about it until after the ride anyway, so there was no need for him to even have to think about it. Whatever it was, if it needed attention, we could do that after.

It was a good two hour ride, with mostly Class II rapids and a few Class III in there. It was pleasant enough for everyone to enjoy the views and excitement of getting a good splash. The guide was good and took us into areas of rapids that looked the most promising for splashes. She was very accommodating and very capable. Fortunately, when we returned to the RV, everything was dry, so we got in it and returned to Grand Junction. We were once again filled with stories to tell everyone and fell into bed for another good night’s sleep!

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Grace and Dave’s Great RV Adventure … June 23, 2015

Sylvan Lake State Park is just outside Eagle, CO. It’s a great place to stay, if you want to get away from it all and experience the peace and quiet of nature left to its own. After travelling along I70 about 30 miles, we got off at Eagle and just followed the signs to the park. We drove through a very interesting subdivision that reminded me of West Clay in Carmel, IN…like a planned development with various styles of houses and price ranges, some apartments and even a small business district. It was quite weird driving through this very nice, upscale subdivision, on our way to a camping area/fishing lake. The street became a road, which became a dirt road for five miles. I was beginning to wonder if I was really on the right road but I just kept going, since I was driving the RV and there wasn’t a good place to turn around. Dave was in the rental car, a convertible Camaro, no less!

We finally got to the visitor center, checked in, and proceeded to the camping area and lake. WHOA!!!! It was so beautiful! The water was as clear as glass and the surrounding area was mountains and blue sky. That was it. Our site was in the middle of the camping area, and it somewhat disappointed me because there were no trees to provide good shade anywhere in the camping sites. Soon, however, I got over that, because the quiet was supreme. There was no electricity, but we could use the generator if needed. There was water available, but not at each site, and there is a dump station off to the side. There were showers and restrooms available as well.   Generators had to be off by 10pm and could start after 6am. But there were few generators going. The quiet and the beauty was extraordinary! It really was just what I wanted.

We were glad we had the Camaro, because it’s quite a long drive back to the lake and we knew that we could use it instead of the rv to get anywhere we wanted.

SLEEPING IN THE TENT

Yesterday, after we had set up the rv and had some dinner, Jane and I decided that it was going to be such a beautiful night sky that we needed to set up the tent and spend the night there. The tent we have has screen on the sides (down to about 30 inches from the ground) and all across the roof. There is a “roof” that we can put over it, if we want it, but we really didn’t want the roof, since we wanted to be able to lie down and just look up and watch the night sky.

The tent area at the camp site was pretty rough with gravel, so we took the comforter off the bed, Jane’s sleeping bag and another blanket to try to “cushion” the surface. Then we put the two new sleeping bags and our pillows in there and we were ready. Jane brought her word search book and I brought my ipad for reading and the lantern, just in case, and we were ready for the night.

Since it was still dusk there were no stars to see, so we occupied ourselves with our activities and then made a pact with each other:

  1. If one got cold and wanted to go into the RV, we would wake up the other, so that one wasn’t left in the tent alone;
  2. If one woke up and the stars were particularly beautiful we would wake up the other one to see them;
  3. If one snores the other one can wake them up to stop them.

It didn’t take long until we started seeing stars, so we settled in and started pointing out new stars we were seeing. All at once, a shooting star flashed across the lower right quadrant of the sky! We just happened to both be looking in the same direction, so we both saw it. A gasp escaped from our mouths and we quickly turned to each other with wide eyes and an expression of wonder and delight. “Did you see it?” we both asked.   “YES!!!” It was Jane’s first shooting star, so it was a great night!

It got quite cold that night but both of us snuggled into our sleeping bags and actually were hot…except for the part of our body that happened to be outside of the sleeping bag! To my surprise, however, we made it through the night. When I left Dave the night before I told him that I doubted that I would still be in the tent at sunrise, so I was delighted that we were able to stay there the entire night. We both woke up several times to see the stars twinkling and shimmering, which was another great benefit to sleeping in the tent.

The surface we laid on WAS rough. The hard ground wasn’t a real problem, but the stones definitely affected my comfort level!

Once we got up and going in the day we left to find Hanging Lake. We found the rest area but it was completely full and there were about 20 cars waiting in line for a parking space. We decided to leave and come back the next day, much earlier in the day.

WE KEEP BUYING STUFF!!!!

We had seen a sign for Costco earlier in the day so we decided that we should check it out, since maybe they would have some camping supplies in Colorado that we couldn’t find in Indiana. So, off we went. And we were right! Their camping section was much more extensive than Indiana so we took full advantage. We found some reclining folding chairs made by Timber Ridge that were AWESOME!!!! We sat in one, leaned back, and didn’t want to get up! Then we found some self-inflating sleeping mats, so we threw two of those into the cart. Another lantern, some batteries. More snacks and chips. Headed to the check out when Dave looked at me and said, ”How are we going to get all this into the car?” Good point…we were in the Camaro! We got it all in, with barely enough room for Jane in the back seat. No kidding….just enough for her little body! We even had to put the top down in order to get the chairs into the back seat! But it all worked.

So far, on this trip, we’ve replaced the awning, and purchased the following items for future RV use: sleeping bags (for the times we want to sleep in the tent), self-inflating mats, lanterns, batteries, markers, and a few maps. We’ve borrowed a step stool from the Pitchers for this trip, so we need to return that and get our own. I hope that all this purchasing activity means that Dave is deciding that he likes this and will continue it!

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