Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, March 27, 2015

Yo Ho! A Renter's Life For Me!!!

I'm Starting To Dislike This Real Estate Game

I really REALLY do not want to move to an apartment, but I may have no choice...

Condo deal is about 99% dead.   Seller won't budge on price, and value on the property is appraising at about 15K less than he's asking.  Seller is also not amenable to owner financing.

So, back to the real estate listings.

Another condo?    Nope.  Every one I've seen listed in my price range is also appraising for 50-60% of asking price.  You can't get a loan on sentimental value, just what the appraiser says.

So, condos seem to be a dead end.

Houses?  Heh.    Here's how that works.  There are:

1) Houses you can afford

2) Houses you can reasonably commute to/from, in areas you won't get jacked/invaded.

3) Houses in liveable, decent condition.

Now, pick only TWO out of the three categories, and apply those to any house you find.

Sigh.

I wonder how much an old Winnebago goes for??

Friday, March 20, 2015

Back & Forth

Thumbscrews Would Make This Go Quicker...

Ah, the blissful pastime of property value negotiations!

As mentioned earlier, the offer contract for the condo got sent to the seller, and the fight is on.

Quick breakdown:

Asking Price = XX,000

Offer Price = 4/5 of XX,000

Counteroffer by Seller = XX,000 - 2K

Counteroffer by me = 5/6 of XX,000

Final offer by seller = 11/12 of XX,000

And here's the problem.  Comps in the area are about as abundant as hair on a frog.  There's just nothing similar to compare it to.  The one good example of a recent sale in the area that the seller is basing his price on was roughly the same size, but had some serious renovations done.   Paint, cabinetry, bathroom & kitchen fixtures, etc.

I like this little condo, but this pic of the entryway should give you some clue how long ago any sort of redecoration took place:


Makes me want to hang up a mirrored disco ball and do the Hustle...

So, we're offering to go halves on an appraiser of their choice and get an unbiased opinion of the value.

Truth be told, I'd pay what they're asking, but it's not up to me.  If the value ain't there, I don't get the loan.

Keep thinking happy thoughts, y'all.  I need a home!

Monday, March 16, 2015

And Now We Wait...

I Should Have Done This 20 Years Ago.

OK, the paperwork just went back to the realtor & the title company.  Next step is the seller gets to take a look at the offer and hopefully snatch the bait & run with it.

Kinda worried he won't, and I'll have to start all over elsewhere.

Kinda worried he will, and I'll have to speed up the packing/moving process.

Damn, I haven't even gotten any change-of-address forms yet...

Monday, March 09, 2015

Dining With A Jolly Bee

"Wuz You Ever Bit By A Dead Bee?"

Friday night I traveled way the f#^% down Main Street to try out a recent import from the Philippines.

No, not a massage parlor full of LBFMs, but instead the Pinoy equivalent of McDonald's, the fast food chain known as Jollibee.

It was not the best idea to do this on a Friday night during the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.  Jollibee is on a weird corner of OST, Main and Kirby right by Reliant Stadium.  Best to go in daylight and in less traffic!

Jollibee offers a variety of pseudo-Asian grub, with a bunch of items that would be perfectly happy on any American fast food menu.

Burgers and fried chicken are the mainstays, but there's noodle dishes, soups, rice dinners and these little Spamburgers that are definitely not local...

(Note: Pics are not mine, just ones I found on the web.)

I tried the burger steak.  Kinda reminded me of the old Hungry Man Salisbury Steak frozen dinners.
Kinda bland, but I enjoyed the sticky rice and the abundance of mushrooms. 


Next up was the spaghetti.  I had a pasta jones goin' on, and this seemed to fit the bill.

Seemed to, anyway...

Jollibee spaghetti is not like anything you've known before.   It's got a sweet sauce, kinda like the orangey goop that comes in a can of Spagetti-O's.  Also, there's chunks of ham & hot dogs in the sauce, and a big ol' fistful of cheddar cheese that melts into a solid wad of yellow ooze.

Still, it was better than some spaghetti I've had in Italian places.

For dessert, there was the infamous "Halo-Halo" (Pronounced "hollow-hollow), the most bizarre mixture of stuff ever put in a cup and covered in shaved ice.

How was it?   Let me put it this way, your gringo ass isn't prepared for the Halo-Halo.



Oh, it looks festive enough, but lurking under the bed of shaved ice and condensed milk are horrors untold...

Little red beans, super-firm gelatin chunks, all sorts of tropical fruit bits, coconut slivers, and more round yellow beans.

Those scoops on top are ice cream.  One's a purple yam flavor, the other, who knows?  Not shown is a big chunk of caramel flan on the other side.

Just mix it up and go with it.  Don't fight it.  Let the Bee have its way with you.

And all will be well...

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Realtor Dog says "Roof! Roof! Roof!"

"I'm Livin' In A Box!  I'm Livin' In A Cardboard Box!"

Still in the house hunt...

It occupies pretty much all my free time, which is why I haven't posted in weeks.

Had an offer ready on a nice place in the same zip code I'm in now, but got snaffled out of it by some a-hole with a pocket full of ready cash.

I feel a bit like Oliver Twist, going back to the mortgage lending folks with a "Please, Sir?  Can I have some more??"  just to stay competitive.

Cold hard figures don't budge, though.  With only my income footing the note, the utilities, insurance, etc., I just can't afford to pay more than XX% of my paycheck on housing.

And that means, I'm stuck in a certain housing bracket.  Tiny fixer-uppers.  Condos in skeevy areas.
Ramshackle farmhouses 50 miles outside the city limits...

The mortgage company will turn a blind eye to effed-up sheetrock and paint, but God forbid there's anything wrong with the roof or foundation!

Speaking of fixer-uppers, what is it with roofs?  Damn things are as fragile as tissue paper, apparently.  Still, what do I know from a roof inspection?  "Yup, there's one up there, all right!"

I don't get the appeal of plywood coated with tar paper & asphalt shingles.  Seems to me all you need is a 10 minute hailstorm, and you need a new roof.

Fuck that.  I'm all for some serious house armor.  Carbon fiber/ceramic laminate shingles over a Kevlar backing, with a polycarbonate deck.  Thing should snap together like a Pergo floor and last for 50 years.

*Sigh*

On with the hunt...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Still Alive!

"He's dim, Jed!"

Searching for a home will certainly suck the life outta you, though...

Putting down my first official offer this weekend.  Kinda scared they won't accept it.

Hell, I'm kinda scared they WILL accept it...

"Welcome to Mortgage Hell, son!  You've been sentenced to 30 years, and that's WITH good behavior!!"

*Sigh*

Here's a funny:

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Temper, Temper...

Warranties Cheerfully Voided For No Extra Fee!

Had a bit of a Hagrid moment this evening.

"Shouldn't have done that...  Should NOT have done that!!"

Came home after a 10 hour day capped off with multiple drive-bys of possible home sites in obscure regions of NW Houston.

I was greeted by the incessant peeping of a battery-starved carbon monoxide detector.  I had a spare 9v battery handy, but what I lacked was the obscure bit to fit the screwhead sealing the battery door shut.

15 minutes of futzing accompanied by 15 high-decibel beeps, and El Capitan had all he could stand.

Four inches of high-grade Japanese steel will peel open the backside of a CO detector with very little effort.

The patient, alas, did not survive the operation.

To hell with it.  I'll just make sure I relocate somewhere that's got all-electric utilities...