March 2005 Archives

Contract Accepted!!!


Yes! Contracted was fully accepted with no changes! We close on May 20th!!! WOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!

I'm soooooo excited!!! ... and only a little nervous!!!

Click for the Gallery

Wooooooooooot!!! I found the near perfect place, on a scale of 1 to 100 it is a 98. Only thing missing is a full bath and guest bedroom on the main level, but everything else is perfect. Not only is the feature list perfect so are the details that this builder has put into his product. Everything has a perfectly finished look to it, nothing appears "good enough" but instead it all comes across as "just right" which is amazing. The builder isn't one of the mass producers of houses like many in Northern Virginia and instead makes his spec homes appear to be custom. Even though we didn't choose the options, the builder chose extremely well... extremely well.

The house is first come first serve; so there are no bidding wars like we've been having here in Fairfax that had been driving me crazy for the last month of looking. We've told the builder we want it and we write the contract for it tomorrow, hopefully by tomorrow afternoon they'll have accepted the contract and we'll close sometime in May and be moved in by the start of June. The builder said there should be no problem in my getting the house. My realtor was amazed at how agreeable and easy to work with they were.

If you click on the picture above you follow the link to my gallery where I have MANY pictures of the house, 112 of them so far. Unfortunately my cable modem upload speeds here are dismal (hope I can actually get broadband out there at the new house) so all the pictures aren't uploaded as I'm writing this, but they should all be there in an hour or so.

A few details about the house are:
Georgian Style Colonial with brick front w/columned front portico
3200 square feet (finished) on above grade levels
(Will probably finish another 1000 sq. ft. in the basement in the future)
1/3 of an acre lot (roughly 100x150 feet)
Left side of lot is at creek with trees
Back side of lot is Senseny Road but has tall dirt birm, we'll plant trees this year
4 Bedrooms on 2nd floor
3 Full baths on 2nd floor
Laundry on 2nd floor
Hardwoods throughout all of main level and center of 2nd floor
Carpet in 4 bedrooms
Cermamic tile in all bathrooms and laundry
Living/Dining/Family/Morning/Kitchen on main level
Back covered porch
Black with blue/gold/silver/etc. vein granite countertops
Cherry (I think they are Cherry at least) 42" cabinets
Built-in desk and cabinets in morning room
Dual wall ovens
Perfectly flat (no elements) cooktop
Built-in microwave
Gas fireplace in family room
Wonderful front/back sets of steps up stairwell
Two story foyer
Wainscoting around formal rooms
Huge garage with work area space
Ceiling fans on back porch, family room, and master bedroom
Master bath has whirlpool jets, separate shower stall, sun lamps
Walk-in closets in all but guest bedroom
Guest bedroom has private full bath
Bedrooms 3 & 4 share a commode and tub and each have own sink/vanity
Basement is studded out but left unfinished for future movie and rec rooms
... so much more ...

There is soooooo much attention to detail it is amazing that this is NOT a custom home. I'm so excited and so very happy that all looks good for me to FINALLY have a house on the way. Yay, no more competing with people around Fairfax.

Oh! Forgot to say where it is... it is Winchester, VA. It is 35 miles from work and I expect the morning commute will take me between 45 minutes and an hour. It is 52 miles from where I currently live and takes a little less than an hour without traffic. There are mountains on both sides of Winchester though the eastern ones are more hills than mountains. The Shenandoah River is nearby as are several parks, Shenandoah National Forest and various trails.

The builder is Manning and Ross who has been building homes in the Northern Shenandoah Valley since 1992.

Another example of craziness

Just to make sure everyone realizes how crazy the supply and demand real estate market is in Fairfax...

The place we bid on (which was a max bid of $532k and so the other people beat that by who knows how much (will in a couple of months when the sale is registered)) was purchases by these guys in late July of last year for $470k. They had AT LEAST $62k in equity. $62k for SEVEN MONTHS. IT WASN'T EVEN THEIR MONEY THEY WERE PLAYING WITH!!! IT WAS THE BANKS!!!

Argh, crazy, crazy, crazy. Not happy.

Didn't Get It

Oh well, no house yet. Someone outbid us and of course didn't require an appraisal so they had a much more attractive bid. Around here this "no appraisal required" is rather crazy. Everyone bought these crappy little places 5 years ago for around $180k. NOW, all those crappy little places are selling for $400k. So, they have $220k of equity that they get to go use as a downpayment.

These are people who make HALF of what I make. BUT with $220k in their pocket they bid on the same houses I am bidding on, WITHOUT an appraisal needed because even the tax assessment is higher than the mortgage they'll need.

It is all my fault, I know this. I was an UTTER FOOL for not buying in the summer of '99 when I was looking. I could have bought that $180k townhouse and sold it right now for $480k and had $300k in equity to go play with. Had I done that, I'd be looking at $875k homes which those SMARTER people who bought a few years back would have no hope of qualifying for. Oh well, I'm a frickin' idiot. Serves me right. :(

A New Home?

Well, we've put in a bid on a townhome in Fairfax. We actually put a bid on one last week too, but they selected another bid instead of ours. I really hope we get this one. I'm very excited and hate having to wait until they select a bid for this one on Wednesday the 23rd before I get to know if we'll get it or not. I feel pretty confident though, so hopefully all works out.

All of the options are in the house we're looking at the Wet Bar and the Washer/Dryer on the 3rd floor. Don't care about the Wet Bar, but REALLY wish we had the W/D on the bedroom floor. If we get the place then next spring I'm going to look into retrofitting the W/D on the 3rd floor. It'll take out a linen closet the 2nd vanity in the 2nd bath, but would make life so much easier.

There are hardwood floors in the foyer/first flight of stairs and throughout the Kitchen/Family/Morning/Dining/Living rooms. We have a 12x12 deck that the morning room opens onto and the back yard is fenced as well. As can be seen in the photo it is an end unit, with guest parking right beside us which is very convienent. The deck isn't right beside anyone elses deck either and from the side overlooks a playground and tall old growth trees that won't be torn down.

The location is AWESOME between Wegman's Grocery Store (VERY cool grocery) and Fairfax Center which is the new "hip" place in Fairfax with many good resturants, shops, and the best movie theater in the area. My commute will stay the same at about 25 minutes. Lisa's commute will shorten from about 5 minutes of driving to 2 minutes of driving. If we should ever have to commute to downtown DC it takes about 20 minutes to get to the Metro in the morning and there is a strong rumor that someday a metro stop will go into Fairfax Corner which would make the home values sky rocket. We shall see!

Here are some pictures: