so. many. signs.

Let's take a step back.  You might be thinking, "wow, how did you move forward with this purchase? did you really not see any signs that would let you know how crazy this man was???"

And my answer to that would be: Well Of Course We Did!

The first time we saw the house it was late on a Friday night.  Most of the lights in the house worked but it was still quite dark.  It was obvious that the house would need a lot of work, there was weird outdoor tile on the floors, the bathroom was a hodgepodge of DIYs gone awry complete with loose mismatched tiles and a floor mostly comprised of caulk.  After seeing one bedroom covered in an overwhelming amount of belongings, I turned to enter the second bedroom.  I was met with darkness and a loud whirring of four large outdated computers working overtime and seemingly seconds away from overheating.  I couldn't find the light switch and thought to myself - bedrooms are all pretty similar I don't really neeeed to see this one - and as I turned to leave the room I was faced with an enormous flat screen TV showing the feed of the 8 security cameras that RL had apparently felt the need to install around his property.

So, that was one warning sign.

The Inspection.  This was the beginning of the crack pipe count. Under the kitchen sink, stuffed in the closet, prominently displayed throughout the living room and bathroom.  Some were homemade, others broken but most likely still in use. 

The inspectors knew there would be an entry point to the crawl space somewhere but asked that we give them a call when we find it under all RL's piles of stuff.  They went to take a look at the electrical and found a thin copper wire sticking out of the box heading towards the backyard.  RL had created a home-made electric fence surrounding the entire back yard of the 10,000sqft property.  Yes it was live, yes that's insane.

When we first saw the house in the dark of night in February, we couldn't really see the state of the back yard.  But the light of day revealed 4 gigantic piles of RL's crap covered in tarps, 2 broken down sheds (also filled to the brim with stuff), a boat and....wait for it.... A three story tree house made from random pieces of house siding, doors, and beams we would later realize he took from the garage.

Yeah, more signs.

The previously mention classy act of telling us he'd rather squat in the house until evicted than pay off the liens so the house could be sold.

Yet another sign.

Ok, so maybe we were neck deep in a river in Africa (badum bum - denial), but even with all those warning signs not even our realtor thought RL would try living in the front yard for two weeks after the house closed.  And no one could have grasped the sheer amount of garbage this man had hoarded over the years that would become our responsibility to help him clean up.

It turns out, when you've been working towards a dream for a long time, you will put up with a lot of shit to accomplish it.  Our house might include a zombie-hoarder-drug-addict, but it's Our House!!

March 29, 2017 5:00pm {the day that wasn't}

When the offer was accepted, when the appraisal went through, when we signed the mortgage documents and gave away all our money.  These days were supposed to be filled with high-fives, congratulations, and celebratory beers.  But too much kept going wrong, so we put off the hoorays, and told our friends and family not to congratulate us until the keys were in our hands.

March 29th.

We were finally going to celebrate! Closing Day! At 5:00pm the house would become ours, the keys would be in our hands and we'd have those beers!

At 4:00pm (an hour before the house was to be ours), The Man decided to go by the house to check on RL's progress.  We knew, to a certain extent, how much stuff he had and that it was going to take quite an effort to get it all out of the house, the garage, and the massive back yard, but as it turned out we had no idea how much junk he truly had.  And when The Man pulled up to the house he was met with a metaphorical punch to the gut. 

Nothing had changed, in fact it was much worse than when we had been at the house for the inspection 2 weeks prior.  RL was supposed to be completely out of the house by 5:00pm.  There was no way it was going to happen.

A little back story on RL.  He's a crackhead, and not as in "oh man that guy's crazy, he's a crackhead", but as in we have a running count of the amount of crack pipes we have found on the property and as of today we are at 27.

It turned out that in RL's mind "out of the house" meant that although all of his belongings were still taking up all the room in the house, he himself was not sleeping inside of the house.  Of course he was sleeping in his trailer on the front lawn, but to him that was "out of the house."  Apparently crackheads are really in to technicalities.

This is also when we learned that:

1.) RL's realtor (the person whose job it is to make sure their client is off the property and the transition goes smoothly) was so sick of dealing with RL that as soon as the money was transferred he left town.  He went to Palm Springs for vacation for 2 weeks and stopped answering his phone...YAY! and

2.) Portland loves making laws to support the "little guys" and in this case RL was the "little guy."  After frantically calling anyone involved in the purchase of this home trying to figure what we could do, we received a call from our realtor.  He called to let us know that our plan to lock RL out of the house and throw all his stuff in the trash was in fact illegal.  Since RL left his belongings on the property a tenant/landlord type rule now applied to us.

We would need to give RL written notice that he needed to pick up his belongings, giving him 5-8 days to respond and 15-30 days to collect his belongings (he had multiple cars and trailers on the property so it would be more like 30days).  Properly protect and store his stuff while giving him ample opportunity and availability to collect it. And if he did not collect his crap by the end of those 40ish days we would need to try to sell anything of value and give him the money from the sale.

You have got to be f@#%ing kidding me!

That was not happening.  RL also let us know that he had no money for a dumpster so he had no way of even beginning to get rid of his junk.  So we did what any person at a complete loss for actions would do.  We bought a dumpster for the crackhead that was living in our front yard.

March 29th.

We still had beers...

closing is such sweet sorrow

We started looking in February of 2016. 

Over the course of that year we were outbid by as much as $5K - $40K, underbid by $10K but with cash, and at one point we were the only bid but the owner "found" some liens on the property and needed us to fork over more than the house was would appraise for in order to cover his costs.  When we submitted a bid at the house that would eventually become ours, we were pros at hearing the word no.

It took us over a year to finally hear "Your offer was accepted!" but by the time we heard it we were so skeptical. No hoorays, no celebratory drinks, those 4 words were met with, "ok, now what?" And with good reason.  Every step of the process was difficult. 

We learned after our offer was accepted that the roof would need to be replaced in order for the house to appraise, after much back and forth we came to an agreement, we upped our offer by $3K and he paid the rest of what the roof would cost (about $5-6K).  At first we thought we had the upper hand, we were the only offer, the place was a disaster and without us he (let's call him RL) would surely go into foreclosure.  Then we learned who we were dealing with.  The house had belonged to RL's mother and when she died it became a part of the estate, RL figured out that if the house went into foreclosure it wouldn't effect him directly so if the deal fell through he would just stay in the house (without paying) until he was evicted... classy huh?

With each hiccup came another debate of who would pay for what, and without any upper hand it became more and more difficult.  It got to the point that I dreaded calls from The Man.  Everyday for the last week before closing I'd get a call around 10am - the deal was going to fall through/the heating system might not work/there's a lien on the house for two thousand dollars, then by 4pm it somehow worked itself out.  We almost walked away more times than I can count, even when we went to sign the mortgage documents we weren't sure if it would really happen.

But on March 29, 2017 at 5:00pm we closed on the house and it became ours....crackhead and all...



what happend to my little city?

Finding a house was a long road for The Morning Man and I.

We moved to Portland at the end of June 2015 (almost two years ago! eeek!).  We decided it was too much to try to buy a house when we first got to Portland.  After spending a pretty penny on the move we thought, "hey, let's see what neighborhoods we like before settling down in one"...cute right.

I hadn't lived in Portland since 2005, and even though I had come to visit about twice a year during my 10 year stint in Chicago, I never quite grasped how much Portland changed.  It has grown up and spread out and whether you want to blame it on Californians, or IFC's Portlandia, or just call it inevitable, it is no longer the affordable hidden gem that it once was.

So there we were saving up money for a wedding and a new home, looking up houses at a price we were sure we could afford and dreaming of the great future we were on our way to building for ourselves... then we met with the mortgage broker. wah wah. Thankfully instead of telling us what we could afford by bank standards (36% of your monthly income?! - no way!), he based the number off of what we decided we could afford per month, and it turned out our dream number wasn't based in any sort of reality (seriously, my greatest advice for anyone wanting to start the home buying process is - find out what you can afford first!). 

With our new realistic number we set out to find our new home. This is where "oh wow Portland got expensive!" and "awww, how cute you thought you could afford the nice neighborhoods" comes in.  The housing market is booming here, and the affordable properties keep getting pushed further and further to the outskirts of Portland where many native Portlandians would never consider. But with each offer came a no and each no lowered our standards and diminished our musts, so we started to look into the never-will-I-ever neighborhoods. 

If someone told me even two years ago that I would be buying a house past I-205 I would have thrown back a hearty laugh complete with an eye-roll and a slight look of disgust.

It took a full year, but on February 15th, 2017 we heard those 4 words:
Your offer was accepted.

And with that came the end of a long road.  Of course, that long road took a sharp turn into a longer more disgusting and agonizing road that neither we nor our realtor could imagine...

Oh...hello there {aka: it's been two years, is there anyone listening?}

Ummmmmmm Hi.

I don't think anyone reads this anymore, and if you do 2016 must have been quite a disappointing year (just 1 post?!?! jeez I really fell off the blogwagon).  So much has happened in our life over the past 2 years: we got engaged, moved to Portland, got married and most recently we bought a house. 

All of these are events I had dreamed of writing posts about when I first started this blog.  I remember 6 or so years ago I got really into weddings, I followed all of the hip wedding blogs, Style Me Pretty was my favorite website and I would sit at work at watch stranger's wedding videos and quietly happy-cry in my cubicle.  I couldn't wait to have a wedding of my own to prepare for so I could post all the DIYs and trails and tribulations of finding each vendor and then finally be able to reveal my wedding photos, or maybe even have my wedding featured on one of the sites that I loved.  But planning a wedding is stressful (especially when you're paying for it yourself), and time consuming and when we were in the thick of it the idea of sitting down to document my experience sounded exhausting, and TV and snacks were such a better option.

After a while even doing the nail posts became a thing of the past, I started posting the photos on Instagram and the immediate gratification of likes was so much more satisfying than writing up a blog post for my parents to read (because let's face it, they were the only followers I ever really had).

But recently we bought a house, (and it turned out to be in worse shape than we originally thought when we made our offer) so for the past two months we've been tearing it apart and making it our own.  It's been terrible and wonderful and all the emotions at once, and lately I've been thinking about how I want to remember this experience in the future.  We're already starting to forget some of the crazy stories that began this process, the details are starting to fade and our re-telling and re-telling and re-telling of the whole debacle keeps getting shorter and shorter. 


So here we are, an old platform and a new story, and if anything, this will just serve as a little journal for me to go back to when it's time to buy a new house and I think "it wasn't that hard, let's do it again!"

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