The Saga of the Roof

The Gingerbread Diaries

Alrighty then, let’s tell this tale!

But first I want to point out that, despite everything you’re about to read, I do not regret making the choices we did (i.e., our contractor) because, ultimately, those decisions allowed us to own the Gingerbread Dollhouse. At the time the decision had to be made we were working with limited options, the thinning patience of the sellers, and a narrow window of what the bank would agree to. We made it work because we had to. And we will still make it work.

We clear? Okay. Remember (or be aware, for those new to the Dollhouse stories), we closed April 14, 2014, we had to wait until early May on a revised contractor license (individual vs company name on the license) before the permits could be pulled, and the roof was the first thing done on the house. We moved in the last weekend of June, just prior to the hottest July on record.

So, how on earth did it get to the point where I was sending this email in November?

Nov 24, 2014

To: L***, S*****

Unfortunately this weekend’s rain proved, once again, too much for whatever part of our roof is allowing water into the house. The leak was, thankfully, not severe, but even one drop in my hallway is one drop too many, and there was more than that yesterday afternoon/evening.

To reiterate, as of the completion of the contracted renovations in July (the roof having been installed in May), I have had to call L*** to report leaks on the following occasions:

July 12
August 6
August 30
September 3
October 14 (contacted S***** first)
November 24

6 leaks in 6 months is ridiculous. I think another pair of eyes (S*****) needs to assess this issue so that an actual solution can be found, not a temporary patch. A roof is expected to last decades, not mere months, and I am rapidly losing patience with this situation.

It started 2 weeks after we moved in when a bit of a storm rolled through. I was shocked to find water inside instead of out!


Please forgive the typos…

And, to his credit, he came out on a Sunday afternoon with his son and his ladder and they climbed up there are pronounced the problem to be some caulk that had shrunk as it cured and left some gaps. No problem to fix, they said.

It was on this visit that I asked about the warranty (I have yet to receive anything in writing on either his labor warranty or the shingles).

The next time it rained I kept nervously checking the hallway and downstairs bathroom, the two places prone to let the water in, and nothing happened. Okay, I thought, last time was just a blip, it’s all good.

You didn't think it'd be that simple, right?

You didn’t think it’d be that simple, right?

This was our dance: the every-other-rain tango. There’d be water in the house, I’d text, he’d come out, target something else, it’d hold for one storm, then we’d do it all again. The third time it happened I was losing my patience. We wanted to be able to move forward with house repairs, to replace that nasty used-to-be-outside-now-it’s-inside wall that has seen so very much water damage over the years, but how can you do that if the water is just going to keep coming in.

Scraps gets feisty!

Scraps gets feisty!

I’ve tried transferring the video mentioned in the text but it appears locked on my phone for the time being. Here is a still, though, that shows what we were seeing when we crawled shoulder-up into the “attic” above the back hall. (And when I say we, I absolutely mean Todd as the combination of a ladder and a damp, dark, cramped space is a combination I have no intention of putting myself into. My phone is my periscope.)

The problem child of the Gingerbread Dollhouse.

The problem child of the Gingerbread Dollhouse.

From what we could tell, the flashing (that, for those unawares, exists to channel water that might slip under a shingle or two along a joist and out, or something like that) ends at this supporting wooden pillar. Wherever the water was coming from (because it’s also true that water will find the path of least resistance, so it doesn’t have to be coming from directly above when it has a nice alley to travel down) if was getting into our hallway and bathroom here.

I pretty much gave L one more shot before I contacted S (S being the contractor of record, with L doing the actual work). He met Todd out at the house and did something (I don’t even remember what he claimed to do at this point), and told Todd that if that didn’t work, he had one more thing he could try.

Now, I ask you, how many times would you ask the same person to fix the seemingly same problem without getting results before finding another solution? The “definition of insanity” saw comes to me, you know? But since he claimed he had one more fix (which begs the question why he didn’t do that in the first place), I let him come back when, in short order, the “fix” proved useless.

It so happens that the “final” solution was to add additional flashing (this time to the exterior of the roof, because to do otherwise would require removing a bunch of the single-story roof or some such). It also happened that this was a day I was at home, sick, and trying desperately to rest on the sofa while they banged away on the roof. I didn’t even go out and say anything to them about it because I wanted my damn roof fixed and if adding a headache onto the existing aches and pains was how I was going to get it, so be it!

The "beautiful" job they did of adding in the afterthought flashing--photo by Todd this January while he was up on the roof (because you know I'm not getting out there!)

The “beautiful” job they did of adding in the afterthought flashing–photo by Todd this January while he was up on the roof (because you know I’m not getting out there!)

Too bad it didn’t work.

That’s when I called S****, asked him to take care of it, and he had a talking to with L*** as to what needed to be done. Suddenly it was all the fault of that pillar/post thing, you know, where the flashing stopped that we talked about back in August (it was mid-October, now) creating an uneven surface in the roof. If that’s so, then why in the hell didn’t they a) take care of it when they put the new roof on, or, b) fix it the last 4 times you’d been out?!

At this point I was also exploring whether we had any recourse through the bank (since they had their hands in the renovation–no go there). And getting more and more clear with L*** that I was about ready to get someone else to fix it and that, after spending more than $12K on a roof 6 months prior I was not going to be the one paying for the fix!

I have no idea what (if anything) they did in October. I remember he was trying to tell me, at some point, that it wasn’t the roof that was the problem it was the exterior of the home (he mentioned that in August, too, not that he made any move to do anything about it then, either), a matter of relative pressures, and the water was actually defying gravity and scooting up under the clapboards (up being the key word).

Now, okay, there’s actually precedent for differing pressures in and outside of the building envelope to create those kinds of situations, though the only references I’ve really been able to find were in commercial buildings, not clapboard Victorians, but whatever. My bullshit detector was pretty much pinging in the red with him by this point. I reminded him that one of the many tasks he had during the renovation was to check out and replace any bad boards on the house as part of the exterior work–he had his hands (or, well, his crew’s hands, and I’ve already theorized on that point) on every exterior inch of the house, so an error there was his responsibility to catch before now. I also questioned the premise that, if it wasn’t, in fact, the roof, then why in the hell did his previous roof “fixes” all see to work, even if only temporarily?!

Like I said, BS-meter overload.

That final email in November has them out at the house again, Thanksgiving weekend no less, patching yet another spot (oh, yes, on the roof again) and testing other areas.

The diagnosis this time? That it wasn’t the roof (then what the hell did they fix when the hose-test caused the water to come again while he was standing with his head in the attic?!), it was actually the water falling from the upstairs roof, hitting the downstairs roof, bouncing up several feet, and entering through—dun dun dun—the casing of the upstairs bathroom window! *gasp*

He caulked the window, explained that it would hold a while but not forever, and strongly suggested installing gutters.

I certainly hope he didn’t think I’d ask him to install them!

The front of the house shows no signs of renovation, the back, though, is a patchwork of rooflines and angles. This is the offending edge from whence our troubles, apparently, spring.

The front of the house shows no signs of renovation, the back, though, is a patchwork of rooflines and angles. This is the offending edge from whence our troubles, apparently, spring, and the beginning of Todd’s gutter additions on the left.

Now, it’s been several months since their last visit (November) and several months since Todd started installing the gutters (January) and I don’t want to jinx us, but since then we’ve been drip free. Being just one dude, awesome though he may be, means that pretty much one section of gutter is going up a weekend (if that). The uppermost roof-line will probably require a scissor lift or cherry picker and the aid of a brother or friend or all of the above, but so far, so dripless.

While I’ve been adamant that they would get the roof fixed one way or another, when it comes to the rest of their handiwork I’ve pretty much given up. The sections of floor they replaced were not done well. In the back hallway you can clearly see where the screws holding down the cement board are attached because they raise little tents in the vinyl flooring. There are puckers in said flooring where tubs or refrigerators sit. And there’s a section in the kitchen that is compressed or something (supposedly the stuff they used is like hardie board, but for floors) and I swear one of these days I’m going to put a high heel through the vinyl and get stuck. We’re not sure if it got crushed pre-install, or if it’s where some corners are meeting, unsupported. Either way, we’ll deal with it when we redo those areas ourselves. Because I’m bound and determined not to have that man back in or near my house!

3 Things I Wish I Knew To Ask For, Contractor Edition

The Gingerbread Diaries

To say that buying a house is a learning experience is an understatement. Pair a home purchase with am immediate renovation and you’ve got education out the wazoo! As much as I like to learn things, and as often as not I tend to learn them the hard way, here are three things I wish I knew to ask of our contractor before we got started.

Maybe it will help someone else getting their school of hard knocks degree in contractor negotiations.

1. Where will they pee?

Yes, it sounds funny that this is the first question I wish I’d known to ask, but it’s indicative of all those little considerations that just don’t occur to you until after the fact. This particular one (of asking the contractor to include a Port-o-Let in their estimate) was suggested by an article on Houzz after our renovations had ended and I really wish I’d read it 6 months sooner.

I remember thinking, after discovering the busted pipe a few days after closing (that Todd was able to fix, thankfully) that we needed to make sure it was safe to leave the water on while the workers were here so that they’d have access to the facilities and to water and whatnot. It was a kind thought, and I give myself credit for that, but I regretted it soon.

The first week the work crew was in they used up almost all the paper goods we’d bought right after closing. That amounted to a case of paper towels and a a large package of toilet paper, and left trash everywhere. And if that wasn’t enough, they also helped themselves to a pair of work gloves Todd had left out on our makeshift dining room table, ruining said gloves by using them to remove the old roof, and sopping up who knows what with one of the bath towels I’d brought up, leaving it crumpled and soaking wet (and filthy) and thrown into the closet under the stairs. Had we put off our next trip up by a week, May’s heat and humidity would have rendered that a mess of mold and mildew right behind our downstairs a/c filter.

It was a small but shattering sound heard as my goodwill towards the work crew evaporated.

Lesson learned: hide everything you don’t want them touching. Which we did in a giant storage tote tucked into one of the downstairs closets.

2. Who will actually be on-site?

This doesn’t mean I expect to vet the work crew before agreeing to the bid–that’s a lot to ask even of the most corporate outfits. No, I mean who’s actually going to be on-site and in charge during the day-to-day of the project. It never occurred to me (that’s a theme, here) that the contractor I made all these arrangements with might leave someone else in charge of the work being done on the biggest single purchase of my life. Especially not when this is, ostensibly, a one-man-and-his-crew operation and not some big corporate contractor.

But that’s exactly what happened, at least in certain instances that I can be sure of. Overall, I’m left to wonder how often the man I trusted my home to was really there.

The first inkling we had was when we discovered the house key sitting on the top ledge of our front door. Apparently no one person could be bothered to be in charge of our key, so they just left it “hidden” for whoever showed up first the next day. Another time we found the key in the lock on the back door when we came home (after we’d already moved all our stuff in). To say I was not pleased was an understatement, but at least they were making sure the doors were actually closed and locked (more than once in the early days I came home to find doors yawning open).

But the most damning evidence came at the end of the job, when they started to work on the exterior. They’d removed the loose materials and the first coat of our chosen color (Del Coronado Peach, from Valspar’s National Trust for Historic Preservation color line) was going up! Only problem was, it looked like crap.

Not the color (though haters of our peachy-pink might disagree), the surface. They put the first coat of paint on (no primer, by the way) and that same afternoon Todd went by and the paint was already bubbling, peeling, and showing every single rough edge where the still-adhered previous paint was firmly stuck. When I voiced my concern our contractor explained that it was just the first coat and that once 3-4 were on, none of that would be a problem.

House Photos 017

Ignore the purple-look in this picture, trick of the light or something. But it’s a great example of the insta-peel paint feature we didn’t ask for!

House Photos 009 House Photos 011

So then I sent these pictures of what we were seeing on the front of the house, to be very specific of what we saw as the problem. That’s when he replied, “oh, I wasn’t actually there, yes, we’ll make it right” and they spent the next week prepping the entire exterior, feathering out the edges of the well-adhered paint and sanding the bare clapboards, like they needed to do in the first place. And when the weather cleared (barely) enough for them to start painting again? A coat of primer was also used.

Now, some of this might have been unfortunate timing: we’d had to push back the closing so many times and then wait on the last-minute update to the contractor’s license before permits could be pulled and work could begin. I fully acknowledge that the more than 2-month delay made it necessary for our contractor to split his time between our job and whatever came up in the mean time, but I still think it’s a question I should have asked.

3. Can I get that in writing?

And by “that” I mean the warranty–not just the contractor’s guarantee of their labor but, and perhaps more importantly, the materials warranty on something like your roofing shingles. According to my contractor, he (verbally) guarantees his labor for 2 years. Okay, so for the first two years if something goes wrong I can call him and he’ll deal with it. Sounds good (and this conversation was had when I’d already had to do just that, the week after we moved in). The shingles he put on our roof, though, they come with a 20 year manufacturing defect warranty. Now, a lot can happen in 20 years. Our contractor may have picked up stakes and moved away (or worse) by the time something comes to light with the shingles. Could there be a recall down the line? How would I know?

These days when you buy electronics or appliances, there’s a little warranty card and lots of legalese in the packaging. That plus your receipt can help you out of jam should something go wrong sooner than normal usage would allow. But a roof? I didn’t purchase the materials outright so that’s not much help, and aside from the conversation we had while he was back up on my roof, I’ve got nothing to go on. As much as it pained me to contact him (dislike of confrontation and/or rocking the boat, I admit it), I did put on my big-girl pants and email him a request for something in writing. We’ll see what becomes of that.

There’s more to this story, of course (isn’t there always), and I’m almost ready to tell it. Almost. This first year of home ownership has not been the easiest. Every time we think we’re finally past the triage stage, something else comes up. We knew it was going to be a long term project and that we weren’t in a hurry, but, well…

That’s a story for another post.

The Bloom Is Off The Rose

The Gingerbread Diaries

No, we’re not suffering from buyer’s remorse or anything like that, but this past weekend hit the back-and-forth wall and decided not to bother. The novelty is gone after two months of traipsing up to the Dollhouse to sleep on an air mattress in the living room* and get a few hours of work done before packing our things back up (and hiding what’s staying from the contractor’s crew**) and driving back to Tallahassee to try and accomplish something with the rest of our Saturday when, really, we’re just too tired from the back and forth to get much of anything done.

It made me tired just to type that out.

So we bailed this past weekend and didn’t go up to the Dollhouse. We slept in on Saturday. We relaxed. And we packed up the Library so we’ll be tripping our way around a cardboard jungle for the next 2 weeks or so.

This is maybe half of the library boxes...

This is maybe half of the library boxes…

Never underestimate how much space you save by storing on the vertical!

I left a total of two cookbooks unpacked: one is the Mug Recipes book I reviewed a while back that we may be cooking out of once the kitchen goods start heading box-ward. The other is a book I still need to review sometime soon. There’s a few tchotchkes still to wrap and pack, but otherwise the library/living room is done.

What order do you pack a house up? I’ve always done books first, kitchen last, with the other areas being packed by layer of necessity. Most moves also involve grabbing my clothes still on their hangers from the closet and just laying them across the backseat and filling the trunk with shoeboxes on a last trip, along with the computer in the passenger seat. I foresee this habit continuing with the upcoming move.

And when will that move happen? Good damn question.

We’re hoping for the 28th for a variety of reasons, the least of which being that it suits my record-keeping to move at the half-year point so we can have a clear demarcation for tax purposes: 50% Florida residents, 50% Georgia residents. It doesn’t hurt that Todd will have a good part of the following week off from work and it’s better to use that time settling in, clearing the Tallahassee house than still packing and waiting. Not to mention who wants to move on a holiday weekend if we have to push it a week, right?!

Of course, all that depends on the contractor finishing the painting. If the weather holds out, that could be end of this week/early next week, but there’s a chance of rain pretty much all this week so we’re at Mother Nature’s mercy right now. When I first started haunting weather reports last week, this week was supposed to be rainy and the following week clear, so we at least had that chance, right? But now next week is looking dicey, too, so who knows when the house will get painted at this rate.

Oh, how I'm glad we never really considered white as a color for the Dollhouse!

They did at least get the primer coat on and, well, let’s just say I’m so very glad we never even considered painting the house white for real.

Couldn’t we move in if that’s all they have left to do? Yes and no.

Yes, because we own the house and we can do pretty much whatever we want to it, including putting our belongings inside and taking up residence. No, because the current homeowner’s insurance is a rehab policy and is not intended for contents or occupancy.

Why don’t you change over the policy, then, you’re probably asking me. Because to get the best rate (or, hell, even options other than the state-sponsored coverage) the painting needs to be all-but done so that the insurance agent can take the required pictures to shop us around.

So we’re in limbo. As we’ve been for–oh, hey, in 2 days it’ll be 6 months from when we put in the original offer on the Dollhouse! And we’re still not done with this Catch-22 foolishness.

Just a few more weeks…

In the mean time, here’s what else is on our to-do lists before moving in:

  • Replace the downstairs bathtub faucet (waiting on special cone-shaped washer, on order, hopefully will arrive soon)
  • Have upstairs AC unit checked out/repaired (it’s not being super-efficient at the moment, so sleeping downstairs might just continue after we’ve moved in as it will be, you know, July and all)
  • Clean out supply-lines for downstairs bathroom faucets
  • Mow the back yard (that’s all Todd)
  • Clean the wood floors (I’m sure we’d love to refinish them before moving in, but with time growing short, a good cleaning will have to do for now; I have a feeling most will just need a hit with the orbital sander before being sealed, anyway, not a full belt sander treatment)
  • Wash down the kitchen and fixtures
  • Shop for a new dishwasher (there’s either no water supply to the current one or it’s just broken, and we’re betting on the latter)
  • Purchase and install water filters (local water tastes kinda bad, and we drink a lot of tap water)

*Why are we sleeping in the living room? Because at first the upstairs bath needed repair and I was a bit concerned about having to traipse downstairs in the middle of the night, not being used to a 2-story house and all.

**Why do we feel the need to hide our things from the work crew? After the roof went on we came up to the house to find someone had commandeered a brand new pair of work gloves Todd left on the table, ruining them in the process. Then I found one of the bath towels I’d brought up that first weekend had been removed from the shelf, used to wipe up something heinous and dark (the towel started off as a light-peach color) and gritty, and then was wadded up, wet, and left stashed in the hall closet. Charming right? They also used up every freaking paper product in the house and, well, we figured since they can’t police themselves, we will remove temptation!

The Dubious Solution (Another House Update)

The Gingerbread Diaries

So far, each time I update here about the Saga of the House something happens the next day that changes the road ahead–or at least presents a significant speed bump.

After our last update I realized that we were well and truly only two weeks from closing and I was both astonished as well as suspicious that we had all the needed ducks in a row. Sending out a round of status updates to our team I was, unfortunately, proved correct: our contractor had failed the bank’s validation.


Turns out our contractor, the one man who consistently returns my calls and whom I know in my gut I can trust to do this job as he promised, seems to only hold a county license when the bank is requiring a state one. And it’s not like he can go down to the courthouse and file some paperwork and get said license, the process can take months so it looked like we were once again sunk.

Only there was hope in the form of our contractor’s cousin, holder of the required state license and someone he’s worked for before. The bank and I both had the same thought: would Contractor S be willing to sign on as General Contractor and sub the work out to Contractor L? That was the question at hand.

It took a few days to arrange a meeting between S & L the following Saturday to go over the broad strokes of the deal, then Monday Banker R informed me we were back in business, Contractor S was willing and seemed like he had everything the bank would require of him, and we pushed the closing back two weeks to allow for paperwork processing.

And then we waited.

We waited a full week while Contractor S neglected to return phone calls or emails, did not submit the requested documentation, and generally made everyone uneasy. So uneasy, in fact, that our HUD Consultant called me at 9:30am this Saturday morning concerned about the state of affairs and fearful that we were about to be screwed over. Granted, the worst-case-scenario part of my brain (which was fairly well developed before we entered the real estate game) had already thought of all those angles and many more, but to hear someone other than the niggling voice in the back of my mind express them was not exactly how I wanted to start my weekend!

Did you ever have to endure group projects in school? I always hated them with a passion–first because I like to work alone, second because there always seemed to be an inequality of the effort put forth. Essentially the 80/20 rule in miniature, it bothered me to no end to be responsible for someone else’s grade only slightly less than it bothered me to have someone else responsible for mine!

Up until now, everyone involved in this venture has been fairly well invested in the process, either for purpose of personal gain (myself, the sellers, the Realtor, and Contractor L) or due to professional integrity (the lender, the lender’s assistant, the 2 outside inspectors, the HUD consultant, and the loan doc specialist). Dear heavens, that’s eleven people involved so far and all of them pulling their fair share of the work! But bringing in Contractor S was like having the odd-student-out assigned to a group of friends–they might possess a certain specific qualification needed to fulfill the assignment, but they’re not really all that invested in the process since their involvement is impersonal (in the student analogy, perhaps he plans to drop the course in a week, I don’t know…) .

After losing, all told, a week and a half to this delay, the people waiting on info from the new contractor have at least made contact with him. And, yes, I did try to express to him–both on the phone and in writing–the urgency of the situation, but I obviously didn’t get very far since it took a call from the lender’s assistant to actually see any progress. (Insert diatribe about being a woman dealing with the classic Southern good ol’ boys network and how being forceful gets you labeled as an uppity bitch while a man–hello, lender’s assistant–gets results. But, hey, if it continues to work, I’ll hold my tongue until the renovations are done. Mostly.)

So that’s where we’re at: the clock is ticking, we’ve had yet another setback but we’re still in the game. I remain cautiously optimistic (emphasis on the cautious) but I’m not breaking out the Champagne just yet.

Now, let’s see what tomorrow brings, shall we?

Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em

The Gingerbread Diaries

Time for another house update!

A couple of weeks ago I was getting ready to write a downer of a post. The good news was that the appraisal came in high enough for the roof repairs, the problem came with the mention of possible structural issues. And structural issues, regardless of cost, immediately take us out of the 203(k) Streamlined race and into the full shebang of 203(k) along with the need for a HUD Consultant and, because of the change in how the funds are disbursed (i.e., no up-front draws, only periodic draws based on work completed), the very real possibility of needing to change our contractor.

Despite the obvious gap between the pilaster and the porch, that corner is completely stable--we were hoping that would make it far more minor an issue.

Despite the obvious gap between the pilaster and the porch, that corner is completely stable–we were hoping that would make it far more minor an issue.

Cue freakout #I’ve-lost-count.

Underwriting demanded that we have a Structural Engineer evaluate the brick pilasters on the end of the addition (under the porch and laundry) to decide if there were, in fact, structural issues to be addressed and Todd thought it worthwhile to at least have it checked out–after all, knowing the structural integrity of the house we’re trying to buy seems like a good idea, right?

Let’s just total up the inspections we’ve now had on this house we don’t even own yet:

$275  Initial Buyer’s Inspection
$525  FHA Appraisal
$285  Structural Engineer Report
$1085  Total Inspection Outlay

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the news we held out hope for: the pilasters did need work and there were a few other things to work out. And the seller was still adamant that they’d gone as low as they were willing to by accepting our initial offer (which was almost 10K under their list price) and that it was already priced to sell.


So we did the only thing we could do: we walked away.

It was a very hard email to write, but we did it. And I almost felt better just being out of the limbo we’d been in for so very long on this project.

And then, in a move worthy of any used car lot in the country, the seller countered with an offer 10K lower than we’d originally settled on.

I was flabbergasted! Some say we called their bluff, but that implies there was a bluff to call. Others contend that the structural report finally convinced them of what they were trying to offload and what they’d have to ultimately do if they wanted to sell the home to anyone. The email I received made it sound like they wanted us to have it since we obviously loved it so much (which, yes, we do, but the timing is still a touch suspect).

Grinch-like compassion or desperation aside, this changed things more than I thought it would. It doesn’t change the fact that there are structural issues, but Todd seemed to think that the 10k wiggle room would be enough to make it doable. So the next morning I called our lender and asked if we could un-withdraw our application. Luck was on our side as the cancellation request hadn’t made it to the top of the queue and we were allowed to proceed, at least through the next hurdle.

And that hurdle come in the form of what amounts to a fourth inspection, this time with a HUD Consultant (who gets paid up-front) and the contractor in tow. Thankfully, our contractor was able to work with the changed disbursement schedule and stay on the project. This was such good news as we all remember the drama of trying to find a roofer at the beginning of this project! Our HUD Consultant pointed out a few more things than the FHA appraiser did (not that it was a big surprise) and then we were back to waiting for the contractor’s bid.

Of course, nothing can go smoothly and the loan was once again in peril once they were able to dig up the city property tax records (which are not available online anywhere–county and state are, for what it’s worth–making them damn hard for a prospective buyer to research) and the increase in the monthly mortgage cost was placing our DTI (debt-to-income) ratio close to the preferred threshold, before factoring in the additional renovation costs.

Thankfully (we had a lot of moments to be thankful during this process), that was before taking into consideration the lowered purchase price, so once the contractor’s new bid came in, we could run the numbers to see if there was any point in moving forward with the HUD write-up (another bit that gets paid on delivery instead of at closing, and whose fee is based on a sliding scale depending on the renovation amount). We caught a break and the bid came in below the appraiser’s estimated cost to cure (that phrase always makes me think of a house catching a cold), even with all of the HUD Consultant’s addition, and we got the “approvable” approval from the powers that be.

We’re not in for sure, yet–we’ve still got a few weeks until closing and the official underwriting approval to receive, but we’re a lot closer and, yes, a little more hopeful than we’ve been for the past month, truth be told.