February 4, 2009

Retrofitting Required

Posted in Everyday, Home at 5:49 am by ListenMaudy

We still haven’t heard whether we’re approved for our mortgage yet. In theory, we should find out today. We don’t have any idea of our closing date or our interest rate until we’re approved, so we’re anxiously awaiting the email from our mortgage broker.

In the meantime, there is too much excitement with our realtor. We have an allowance from the seller/bank for just under $2,000 for “retrofitting.” Apparently, retrofitting is a set of codes in LA County that includes a seismic gas shutoff valve, tempered glass on sliding doors, fire alarms, and low-flow showers and toilets.

We have been told by the seller’s agent to have the work performed and then to submit an invoice to escrow to get reimbursed. I have so many problems with this, well, maybe only two real problems; most of the other problems are with our realtor. First, what counts as an “invoice”? We want to do most of the work ourselves so we can get nicer shower heads, instead of paying that extra money for labor. Second, what happens to our reimbursement if the sale falls through? There is language in the signed offer contracts that state that we cannot get reimbursed for any repairs done before closing. And yet, they are requiring us to do repairs before closing. How does that work?!

As for our realtor, she insists that we cannot do the work ourselves. At first, she said we had to have it all done professionally. I in no way believed that we were required by LA County to have our low-flow shower heads professionally installed. Have you ever changed a shower head? It is ridiculously easy.

After some pushing, she now insists that we need to have the repairs inspected. She won’t tell me if it’s legally required, by whom, and you would need a copy of the inspection. She also insists that replacing a toilet is “not as easy as you think!” and doing it ourselves won’t save us money. What?! What planet is she from? Both Muffin and I have changed toilets. It also is ridiculously easy, and um, I am pretty sure that not having to pay someone else $20 an hour to install a freaking toilet will save us money.

We will need to have the gas valve installed professionally since we found out last night that there isn’t one at the house now. That means that we should be able to have the retrofitters inspect the house and do that repair. We’re planning on doing all the other repairs before they come so the house will pass the inspection.

I emailed her back to ask her my two main questions. She is driving me crazy. I wish I could switch realtors in mid-sale. I think that would be way too complicated, but it would be great just to get rid of her. I don’t think any other realtor would be better; in my experience, they have all been cut from the same cloth. Granted, I’ve only worked with five realtors, but I’ve had bad experiences with all five.

For today, I’m waiting on an email about our mortgage and an email about retrofitting. I thought that once the offer was made, things got way easier, especially after inspections were over. Buying a house now has been such a terrible expereience, I would just like it to be over. The depressing part about it is that once we close, that’s when all of our real work has to begin.

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