Friday, January 29, 2010

Soooo close to the close

The last of the torturous steps involving money and paperwork are almost behind us. We are to close on the Setzephandt House this Tuesday, Ground Hog day. Appropriate, since it seems like we are doing the same thing over and over again, in matters related to this purchase. But that's how home buying is and I know not to get worked up over anything. This too shall pass.
Meantime I'm finding interesting folks through my Google News Alerts set to Bellevue, Iowa. Today I found the artist Sandy Dyas, who lives in Iowa City. She was writing about the people who live right across the railroad tracks from our future new house. They sound fascintating. Can't wait to meet Steve and Peggy one day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carting before Horsing

Part of our brains and time are focused on finding home owners insurance for the house. Closing is looming but I'm sure we'll get it worked out in time. Meantime, Ron has found some great looking tin ceiling material that we can use in the kitchen, both for the ceiling and the back splash. Heck, we could use it in other rooms, too. This is the sort of thing we are thinking of even though the move date is off in the hazy future. But this is the fun part - we can't help it. Ron also has his eyes on a 48 inch gas range with both a standard and convection oven and an infrared gas grill. Do it up right, at least in the fantasy stage!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Walking the Paperwork Road

I've been away from the blog for a few weeks. Instead I've had my nose pressed to a variety of Good Faith Estimates of Closing, Something Something Disclosures, insurance costs, appraisals, and probably several other boring and tedious things I'm forgetting about. But it is all necessary, I know. We've set up a closing date of February 2. We're closing from Laramie through the mail and the ether - bring lawyers, guns and money, as they say. I'd love to get back to Bellevue for this and see if the bald eagles are still there. But, now that I'm back to the full press of spring semester I really can't go anywhere.
It is a little weird to close this way. There won't be the immediate post-closing gratification moment of getting the keys and walking through the new house. Of course, there are renters happily established in both apartments so even if we were in Bellevue to close it would be a different sort of walk-through. Yay, thank you renters, we hope you are very happy in the house. Don't go away!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Setzephandt House

We've learned that our house has a name. It is called Setzephandt house after the man who built it back in 1880. I know this because Tim Daugherty at Bellevue State Bank told me so. He put me in touch with his cousin, Butch Eggers. He and his wife Carolyn live just across the alley. Butch says their great-grandfather Gustav Setzephandt built the house for himself and his wife Marie. Various members of the family lived there for many generations, including him. He says that after Gustav and Marie died, the house was sold to someone locally. That person divided the house into a duplex. But in doing so, he left many features intact, such as the central stairway and the high ceilings. Sure, we'll have to plow through walls and acoustical tile ceilings to get to them, but it will be worth it. Butch says his mother, and his cousin Tim's mother, have stories and possibly photos from the earlier days of the house. He even said, intiguingly, that he could tell us a story about how the house figured into a love story. I cannot wait!
Come on interest rates, down already!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Once in a blue moon

I finally learned what that expression means, a blue moon. That's when there is more than one full moon per month. So there it was this month when Ron and I went to see our Bellevue house on the second to the last day of December. The thirtieth was the eve of the blue moon. It was also our eleventh wedding anniversary. I joked that the traditional ten year anniversary gift is tin or aluminum. The traditional eleven year gift is a 130-year old house.
We walked through the house on a snowy Wednesday morning in the company of Steve Nemmers the realtor, Brent Grover the home inspector, and Dan Sieverding, a local contractor. All these people are our new best friends, especially Dan the contractor. As Brent pointed out, the house has problems with the wiring, with the windows, with the plumbing, with the insulation, with the slope of the lawn, and with the cut of the support beams. There was even a gas leak but that wasn't our problem because it is outside, and the power company will be summoned. Lest we become too discouraged, he assured us the house's problems were to be expected in a home of its age, especially one that hadn't been updated in some time.
The biggest mystery still remains the stairway, which isn't just discretely tucked behind a partition but basically hidden away like a tightly wrapped mummy. It is there somewhere, so we aren't too discouraged. The next few days will find us phone to ear, contacting Steve and Dan in particular, to see what we can get done and whether we can get some help. I'm a little concerned we won't be able to get insured because of the electrical problems, or at least not in time for our planned closing of Feb. 1. Yikes! Meantime, we're hoping interest rates drop over the next few weeks so we can get a reasonable 15-year mortgage. For that news we're relying on our other new best friend, Ashlie Schrempf of 1862 Mortgage.
One pleasant but strange coincidence took place, of the sort I predict will become more common the more we meeet folks in Bellevue. We stopped by the Bellevue State Bank to set up an account. We mentioned the home we were buying and lo and behold, were escorted into the bank president's office. Tim Daughtery's family once owned that home and he thinks various relatives might have photos of the place. Wouldn't it be fantastic to get to see some of those, to try to anchor our imaginations as we fight past the bad wiring and into the beauty and functionality we hope to restore!