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Our house-hunter David Cleveland sent an update:

Well it finally happened, we signed, we waited, and waited some more, but we finally took possession of our new home on Friday January 16th at around noon once the selling agent had confirmation of recording with the county.

Cleveland’s finally off the boat:

At this point I feel we obtained a good property in a good school district and a safe neighborhood for a fair price in this market.

The bank listed the house at $550,000. The previous owners paid about $699,000, he said. Remember, the Clevelands had originally put in an offer on this four-bedroom house in Rancho Bernardo, but lost it. They submitted a letter of intent in case the winning buyer fell out of escrow, and sure enough, that happened. (Read more here.)

When the house became available again, the bank had lowered the price to $529,000. The Clevelands countered with $510,000 and they agreed on $515,000. Cleveland found records showing that the previous owners had refinanced the home to a total debt of $786,000 in two mortgages. If the previous homeowners owed that entire amount, that would make Cleveland’s $515,000 price 34 percent lower.

Here’s more on the ins and outs of actually closing:

We actually had signed loan documents with the notary on Friday afternoon the 9th, but there was a lot of scrambling the final week for additional paper work and when we got an unpleasant surprise from our (now former) insurance agent.

Then there was waiting for final approval from the bank and their ‘investor’ (whatever that meant), but in the end they signed and it’s been crazy ever since. One of the first things that we were advised to do since this was bank owned was to re-key all the locks on the house, it took almost 3 hours and $500 (with volume discount), but we know now that the only keys that will get into the house are ours. We were fortunate in that we were able to schedule the movers to come unload on Saturday, and while Jill organized the movers I started to update the light switches and electrical outlets in the house.

It was great to finally sleep in my own bed on Saturday night after 4 1/2 months aboard my uncle’s boat. Sunday was spent continuing the electrical work, trying to find places for everything and painting the girls room (for our four year old twins). Monday, while I worked, the movers came back to unpack everything they delivered, DirecTV came to hook us up, my father-in-law came down from Orange County and installed a new garbage disposal (the one in the home did not work), as well as followed up on some additional safety aspects of the house for the girls and our dogs. 

Jill has been up every night until at least 1am working on putting the house in order, she’s been ‘on a mission’ and loving every minute of it. Today the painters are coming to paint the living room which has high ceilings, the pool guy is coming to give us an install date on our pool safety net, and the girls are coming to their new home for the first time from grandma’s house. We will finally be together again and functioning as a family. 

This has obviously been a huge learning experience in these economic times, but we survived it and look forward to having many years of fun in our new home. … On this inauguration day it’s appropriate for all of us to take stock of where we are, and what we can become in the tough times ahead. But where there are tough times, there will also be opportunities. Hopefully your readers will be better prepared to take advantage of them.

I’ll share some of Cleveland’s lessons and pointers in a post tomorrow morning.

KELLY BENNETT

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