On The Road Again, Chapter 10
Our dream journey continues to unfold. Last week we had inspections at the property my husband has dubbed Studio 74 (the street address is 74, and it’s a nod to Studio 54). I was a jumble of emotions.
This process reminds me of dating. When you first meet someone you like, the chemistry is so strong that you almost don’t see the person, I mean really see the person. All your senses are heightened and jumbled, bumping into each other, and everything is blurry in a good way. All you know is how you feel toward this person. Then, on the second date, you start listening to what he’s actually saying. Maybe you ask more questions about his past, what he thinks about politics, money, etc. You’re seeing and hearing things you didn’t hear on the first date. Right? The more dates you have, the more good and bad qualities get revealed. This is how Robert and I were experiencing this property. For Robert, this property was “love at first sight.” I can honestly say I was pretty taken by it, too! Then, with each visit to the house, we were seeing things more realistically. It’s an older home, so this is not surprising.
Bottom line, we were hoping the inspections did not reveal anything that would burst our “love at first sight” chemistry and be a deal-breaker.
One of the things I knew before we started the inspections is that we would meet the seller during this process, and we would develop a positive relationship. As you know, I’ve been tuning into my intuition more and more lately, and I just knew this would be healing for the seller (who lost his older brother, mother, and father, all in a matter of a few years) and it would bind us closer to the property. My husband thought it was a bad idea to meet the seller, but somehow I wasn’t concerned. I wanted to find out more about his parents, who built the house in 1984 and lived there until their deaths. I guess that’s why I studied anthropology in college — I enjoy learning about people from the past and how they lived. It connects me to the past, present, and future.
As soon as we arrived for the the chimney inspection we saw the seller, a tall, lean 49-year-old man, wearing a military-style cap, ironed khaki shirt and pants. He was holding a leash and at the end of the leash was the most beautiful gray-and-white pit bull dog — a very large 3-year-old male — who was pulling his owner toward us (I was hoping the dog was just excited to meet us!) I immediately made friends with “Orion” the dog, and he subsequently wagged his tail and licked my hand whenever he came close. We shook hands with the seller, who wore a big, friendly smile. He was as happy (and relieved) to meet us as we were to meet him.
Good start! The seller answered all our questions, and it was really helpful to have him there for the inspections.
The chimney inspectors arrived and got to work. There are two chimneys in the house — one with a pellet stove, which the family used to heat the kitchen (the house also has electric baseboard heat) and adjoining rooms. The other chimney is in the living room with a gas log fireplace.
They examined the pellet stove first (below).
Turned out the pellet stove was 25+ years old and would need to be replaced. Sigh… The inspector recommended that we replace it as soon as possible with either another pellet stove or a wood burning stove. Plus, the kiva fireplace that housed the stove wasn’t built properly, so it would have to be redone. The good news is summer is here, so we don’t have to replace it immediately.
I wasn’t familiar with pellet stoves, but apparently they deliver a cost-effective source of heat, and are not too difficult to maintain. A 40-lb bag of pellet fuel can provide up to 24 hours of solid heat. I asked a friend, who uses a pellet stove in his Boston-located house, and he said, “During the winter we go through 1-2 bags a day depending on the outside cold. It’s very reliable and generates a nice heat. And the fire is cool to watch.” I also asked him to give me the bad side of pellet stoves, and he said, “Carrying in those bags of pellets gets old. Cleaning the stove out every couple of weeks is dirty but not terrible. My wife misses the fireplace, but honestly we never used it. We get to see a fire all the time with a pellet stove.”
So, we’ll consider a new pellet stove.
Next up, the living room gas fireplace. It looked nice and we were hoping it was operational. The inspector said this gas unit was old, too, and he recommended that we replace it. Apparently, soot had formed on the gas logs, which could be caused by improperly stacked logs. He would have attempted to restack the gas logs, but there was no instruction manual. So, we’ll have to replace this gas unit, too. It’s not a high priority as the seller told us that his parents rarely used the fireplace, as the pellet stove heated this room, too.
The next day we came back to the house for the full property inspection. We hired the same inspector we used for the 57 Camino house where we terminated the sale. So, we trusted him and looked forward to his opinion of this house.
I’ll tell you the good news first. After he completed his work, the inspector looked at Robert and me and said, “This property isn’t perfect, but it’s far better and more structurally sound than the last property I inspected for you.”
Okay, this is good news!
There were things he found that would have to be fixed immediately. Mainly, the electrical wiring from the main house to the studio, and some repairs of the roof on both the main house and studio building. He also found minor issues with the plumbing — a few leaks under sinks and improperly installed plumbing in the casita. My husband is a pool contractor so plumbing problems like this are not a big problem!
So, we scheduled an electrician and roofer to give us work estimates.
The house inspections coincided with Fathers Day, and our daughter, Amanda flew in from California on Thursday, an hour before a film series event at the Galisteo Art Center. Our friends, Patrick and Kita Mehaffy, wrote, directed, and produced the three short films, and we were so excited to finally see the movies! We picked Amanda up from the small, convenient, Santa Fe Airport and got to the film event just as it started!
The next day, we took Amanda to see the property. She loved it! Then, we drove down to the end of the road where there is a land conservancy and trails perfect for trail runs. It was really nice of the seller to accommodate this extra visit to the house. He told us he’d taken the entire week off work and he was enjoying the break. He had been working hard to get the property ready for sale, just like we did in California.
Special Night Out
Amanda’s husband, Darren, arrived the next day, and they treated us to a special celebratory dinner at a Santa Fe restaurant, Geronimo. Housed in an original adobe built by Geronimo Lopez in 1756, the ambiance feels like something from the past. We were joined by our artist friend, Ani, and enjoyed a lovely evening! The restaurant is on Canyon Road, a narrow, windy road lined with galleries and boutiques. Robert and I have only driven on the road, but we’re looking forward to having time to explore all the galleries and stores.
The Day of Reckoning
This Thursday we’ll remove the final contingencies, or counter with a price reduction. The truth is we don’t know exactly what we’ll do as of this writing. We are going to see what the work estimates are, and decide on Thursday. All I know is we both really want to buy the house.
Next chapter, will we finally have a Santa Fe home address?