Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Camden Trip

Jennifer and I went up to Camden, Maine for our third annual visit to the Nathaniel Hosmer Inn. We stayed in the Mary Wheeler room once again and it was as good as ever. It's really cool when you get to know the inn keepers and can chat about all sorts of things. We finally climbed Mount Battie and have now climbed all of the peaks in Camden Hills State Park. It was a short, but steep trail. Before we left I made sure to read up on the mountain and found a cool web page explaining its importance, geologically speaking. Here is the page Bedrock Geology of Mount Battie I was able to spot a few of the examples they mention, which was pretty cool.

We also tried something else new this year and went to the last day of the Union Fair. I know some people are sketched out by fairs and for good reason, but it seemed like something to do and it is always fun to see the animals. Unfortunately since it was the last day a lot of the animals had gone back home, but there were some pigs, sheep, cows and goats still hanging around. After exploring all of the areas we walked back towards the car and noticed a ton of people filling the grandstand. I asked Jennifer what was going on and she said the only thing she knew about was a demolition derby at seven. I thought it was odd since it was only six, but then realized we had to stay because if all of these people were lining up an hour early it must be a good show. Sure enough it didn't disappoint! We only stayed for three heats of the small foreign cars and left, but not before seeing some crazy crashes and even getting hit with a little exploding tire shrapnel. Overall it was a good time and we can now say we went to a demolition derby.

On Sunday we did a little hike up to Maiden's Cliff, the hike Jennifer and I went on two years ago. It's a great hike with some amazing views. We then let the GPS guide us back to the highway and towards Freeport for a little shopping. Then it was back on the road to good old Somerville, where we tested the heat for the first time. I think summer is officially over, now its almost time to go apple picking and cider donut eating. YUMMY!!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Second Place

Two pieces of news...

First last night for BoCaNO we went to the Kinsale for trivia and got second place in a tie breaker. The tie breaker question was "What is the population of Rhode Island?". We guessed 3.2 million and were the closest of the other two teams. As a result we won a 30 dollar gift certificate. Nice!!

The other news is that we will be staying in our current apartment for another year. Woohoo!!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

House Inspection

Do we start with the good news first or the bad news?

Okay I will go with the bad news. We are not going to buy the house, because the house inspection revealed several issues that we just can't afford to take care of at this point in the game. The good news is we aren't going to be buying a money pit. I won't go into detail about the issues, but it was going to be several thousand dollars worth of repairs. Now most people would say to negotiate the price down, but that still wouldn't give us the capital we need to go ahead with the repairs. So now we will begin the search for an apartment since we have given our notice already and want to find a place with cheaper rent.

If anything we did learn a whole lot about the house buying process so when we do decide to get back out there, we know exactly what we are getting ourselves into. Oddly enough Jennifer and I aren't too shaken up over the deal, which is strange and makes me wonder if we were doing the right thing. It all happened very quickly and the costs of closing and everything else kind of got out of control. Live and learn.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Nice Weekend

It was a relatively quiet weekend in Somerville. On Saturday morning we met with our landlord to discuss moving out October 1st. Knock on wood, we will go through the home purchasing process without any delay. After the meeting we went for a drive to find an outdoor place to walk. I originally intended to go to a state park I had been to in Georgetown, but after ten minutes of driving, I realized we were past the general area of the park. So we continued driving westward to find something to do. In Essex I spotted a used bookstore and we stopped to fulfill Jennifer's need for used books and rest my tired leg (gym + driving standard = sore leg). While in the store Jennifer ran into a teacher she used to work with in Lawrence, although she couldn't remember her name. Rachel, the name we later found out from Meghan, knew of a cool little walk only a few miles from the bookstore. We got directions from her husband and found the little parking lot next to Route 128 and started walking into the woods. After about twenty minutes we were standing atop this giant rock that overlooked all of Cape Ann. It was a bit cloudy so we couldn't see Boston, but the view was great and the wind up there was refreshing.

We climbed back down and hopped in the car and drove towards Gloucester. There was a little festival going on so we walked through the shops and enjoyed the sea air. It was such a beautiful afternoon and it was nice to be outside. Afterwards we stopped at the mall to look for stuff for Jennifer and came home and made some pasta.

Yesterday, Tom and Jeny came over for breakfast and hung out until about noon. After that we just sat around until the late afternoon, when we went for a walk all over Somerville. It was a relaxing Sunday and yet I was still exhausted at bed time and went right off to sleep.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sometimes You Gotta Jump Right In

If any of you are surprised by our jumping into the house thing, I can assure you we are just as surprised. We literally went from looking online last Wednesday to making an offer on the following Monday. Last night reality began to sink in as we reviewed several mortgage offers from a bunch of lenders. I suppose if we had done some research we would have learned that closing costs are a bit crazy. However, once we separated the deposit from the closing costs we were dealing with more friendly numbers and it all seemed a little more possible. While many of you might not care about this information I want to pass the word on since I wish somebody had provided this sort of info to me before I got here. Once again I have to thank Jennifer, because she really pulled it all together. This morning we woke up with a new focus and have now successfully sent an application for the mortgage, since we were required to this by Friday. Luckily Cara stopped by last night and let us in on the little secret that you can negotiate your interest rate with the lenders and so Jennifer was able to cut almost .5% off of our original quote, which over the course of the loan saves over $10,000. Nice!!!

Looking at the big picture it is really an easy process, but it when you don't know all of the steps it gets a little nervewracking. So the next step is the home inspection next week, followed by the signing of the purchase and sale agreement next Thursday. Then all we have left to do is wait for the closing at the end of September. It will all be done soon enough.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Moving On Up

It's the little one in the center with the wide driveway and two car garage.

We made an offer today and as of 7PM this evening it was accepted and we are one step closer to owning our own home. Next up is finding the financing, which shouldn't be a problem and then getting the home inspection before signing the bill of purchase and sales. I have to give tons of credit to my wonderful wife for driving up to Amesbury today and doing all of the paperwork and leg work for this deal. It's all happening so quickly, but I think we are both please with our purchase. The address of the house is 14 California Street. Here is a Google Maps link. The pointer seems to be a bit off, but from the photos above and the map you should figure it out. We own from the corner of California all along the California Extension.

I have to get back to work, but I wanted to put up some details.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Location, Location, Location

Well it really does come down to Location, Location, Location. After a string of open houses today our favorite house has now shifted a little bit. While the house from last night is still number 2 on the list, we found a place today with the same style, but in a much better location. The new house sits on a .3 acre lot and has a nice flat yard. It also has a two car garage and is in a very quiet neighborhood on a more or less dead end street. Now of course we are thinking in the back of our heads, how do we know that there isn't another house out there that is better, if we wait a little longer. While we tend to make these big decisions relatively quickly, I think we do use logic and try not to over analyze things. Yes we could look at house for the next three months, analyze trends with regards to location, sale price vs list price and see hundreds of houses, but what is that really going to save us in the long run. I think we have a good idea after only a couple days and over a dozen houses, about what the value of some of these places should be and what we should offer. The top two right now are far better than anything else within this price range and really fit us very well. We originally thought of maybe getting something that we could fix up, but we really don't have the capital to do that anytime soon, so we shifted to looking for something that we can move into and might need a few things done here and there, but no major renovations.

The plan for now is for Jennifer to go up to Amesbury tomorrow, talk to the planning office about a first time home buyer grant (apparently they have a few of these that they give out if you attend a couple seminars and of course buy in Amesbury, stop by the Provident bank to see what sort of interest rate she can get for first time buyers and then meet my mom and Jon at the two houses in question. At that point assuming everything goes well we will put in an offer. Its a big step, but at this point we have seen about half of the houses available in Amesbury within our price range and we are comfortable with the place. My how quickly things can change.

Keegan out!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Back To The 'Bury??

I am sure this is going to come as shocking news to some reader, well to those few readers I have left, but Jennifer and I are really close to making an offer on a house in Amesbury. We decided on a whim to go check out a few houses this weekend and really fell in love with this one place. In our opinion it is a really amazing place, hopefully we are the only people that feel this way. It's relatively close to downtown, the only drawbacks seem to be that it is on a very busy street and the street the driveway is on is extremely steep. Besides that though we have had a hard time finding much wrong with it. The inside is amazing and was done over recently and wouldn't require much if any work at all. So what's next? Well we don't want to seem over anxious, although it would be a huge disappointment if somebody were to make an offer on it before we get the chance to. The plan is to talk our agent tomorrow to set up another showing on Monday, so my mom and Jon will get a chance to check it out. If they find it acceptable, I think we will be to quote another recent BoCaNO house buyer, "Pulling the trigger." What that means is that barring any other buyers trying to get in on the action or major disapproval from my mom and Jon, we will be one very giant step closer to moving out of Somerville and back home to Amesbury. For now we just have to hope that anybody interested in it was enjoying the tax free weekend, and not thinking about the house.

More positive updates soon, hopefully.

Friday, August 4, 2006

The Heat Subsides

Finally this afternoon, Boston's fever broke, and now the temperature has dropped below 70 degrees. At sometime between 2 and 3 some cold air overtook the area and tonight we have shut down the AC and opened the window for a change. We played our annual whiffle ball game for BoCaNO and then went to the Sweetwater Cafe. I passed on eating and drinking because I have already been out a couple times this week and we really need to start saving money. I am looking forward to the weekend and taking a break from code writing. Hopefully it won't be too hot and I will get a chance to go to the beach for the first time this summer. I really want to go swimming in the chilly ocean.