On The Road Again, Chapter 7
They accepted our offer on the property with a house, studio, and guest house on 16 acres!!! I was over-the-moon delighted! This was going to be our next home where we would work, play, entertain, raise Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, and be happy for the rest of our days (or however long it continued to be right).
The seller did counter with a higher earnest down payment, which was fine, and they required that all property inspections be performed within 15 days. Challenging, but doable. So, our realtor, Vanessa, started scheduling all the inspections. There was a property title issue regarding the location of the private well, but the title company was confident they could clear up the problem during escrow. So we plowed ahead!
Inspections, Inspections, Inspections
- Well & Water Testing
- General Inspection of House, Studio, and Guest House Structures
All the inspections happened within a day or two of each other. My husband drove from California to be at the inspections, as he is a licensed contractor, and knows a lot more than I do about building structures, electrical, and plumbing. It was rainy and cold on the day of the general inspection. We followed the contractor around the property and I tried to understand what he was saying, but mostly I had my fingers crossed he wouldn’t find anything earth shattering bad.
One thing I heard the inspector say about the main house was that the seals on ALL the windows were broken, so all the glass would have to be replaced in the main house at some point. He explained that it was mostly cosmetic, as the moisture is able to get in between the layers of glass, but it wouldn’t affect the ability of the windows to function. Dang! All the glass would need to be replaced…I started adding up the cost of that!
Other than the roof needing maintenance repairs, the house was checking out as structurally sound. Whew!
Moving on to the “guest house,” the news got worse. The contractor verified our worst fears that the structure was a tear down. There was visible mold inside the house, so lord knows how much additional mold was hidden. There were signs that critters had moved in under the house, and they were chewing on the electrical wiring. The floors were completely water damaged and the entire sub-floor would have to be replaced. Basically, there was nothing good to say about this guest house. It had been leaking for a couple years without repair, and it would be better just to tear it down and start over. The only things inside the house worth saving were the Franklin stove, a functioning refrigerator, and a dryer. It costs money to tear down a house and dispose of it properly. So, I added those costs to my mental tally.
Then, we got more bad news. The 900 square foot studio needed major roof repairs. My husband already knew the roof needed work, but this was more than he expected. Basically, the contractor explained that in the extreme weather conditions of Santa Fe, yearly roof maintenance was critical to keeping the snow and rain flowing properly off the roof and away from the structure. Clearly, these structures had been ignored for a few years.
As everyone knows, inspections are important because prospective buyers have stars in their eyes. We don’t see what is real, we somehow only see what our fantasy minds want to see! Sure, I smelled the cat pee in the other houses I looked at previously, but with this property all I saw was the fantasy of living there. All I saw were the artistic touches in the living room, stairway, and kitchen. I felt the magic of the hills and sky view!
The costs were adding up quickly, and that was real. Oh sure, some of the repairs could wait, but the roof, the well pump (which was on its last legs and had to be replaced), and the tear down of the moldy guest house were things we would have to do within the first few months. We also got the well water test results, and the water was clean except for high salinity and mineral solids, which would need a full RO system for the house.
This property would cost us a lot more money than we expected to spend. My husband said the only way the property would work for us was to ask for a price reduction based on the inspection results. We sat down with our realtor and told her. She was great, even though I’m sure deep down she was disappointed. She came up with a plan that would include an email to the sellers with a letter explaining that based on the inspections we were asking for a price reduction, a list of the expenses (that were over and above any normal “as is” condition), and a contract with the new price, as well as a termination letter. We would let the sellers choose whether to sign the reduced price contract OR the termination letter. It was up to them. And we would have to wait for their answer.
I was heartbroken, mixed with a glimmer of hope. I thought for sure this was going to be our new home in Santa Fe. But, I also wanted more than anything for this to be the right move for us. So, realistically, I knew that whatever was about to happen was meant to be.
They Signed The Termination Agreement
Within two days, we got word that the sellers had not agreed to our reduced price, but they did agree to lower the price a small amount. It just wasn’t enough. So they terminated the agreement. I admit I was in shock for a couple days. You know when you’re moving toward a goal, full steam ahead, with energy and excitement, and then you hit a brick wall and everything stops? Full stop. Game over. It felt like I had hit a brick wall with all my body weight.
So, today we’re back to square one. We spent money on the inspections. We spent time and effort going back to the property many times. Now, we’re starting over.
I know what you’re thinking…Linda, it’s not over yet. Maybe the sellers will come back in a few months after the house sits on the market and accept your lower offer. Maybe…anything is possible. But I can’t go there. It’s too painful. I did get emotionally attached to the house and the land which was once occupied by Native Americans. And I did get attached to the memory of the previous owner who dreamed of living there and doing his art, but who died. Something happened to change the plan and insert a different outcome. I have to trust that this is right and good and something even better is coming our way.
Now, you’re all caught up with my present day journey to Santa Fe. In fact, yesterday we moved into our second rental house, and it’s lovely. Moving everything again was painful. We really dug into that first rental house with food, staples, clothing, computers, my husband’s tools, and dog stuff. So much for traveling light!
We’ve been enjoying the wonderful restaurants, free concerts, art openings, and meeting new friends. This is a lovely place to live, and I haven’t even begun to explore all the culture and clothing stores! Oh, and I volunteered for one of the Santa Fe opera performances in July! So many adventures await us in the Land of Enchantment….
We will find the perfect property soon…stay tuned…