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August 7, 2004

House Hunting

Looked at a house this week that was described (in the MLS listing) as being recently completely renovated. New this, new that, fresh paint and carpet, etc. Before we got there the owner let us know that not all of that work had been completed yet...but it was in progress. In fact, the seller seemed to be honest and sincere. There was dust and tools everywhere. Work was clearly underway. Not a bad place except...IT HAD NO BACK DOOR! Yes, the ONLY exit from this 3-bedroom house was the front door...and the garage, which also opened to the front, of course.

Many Desert Hot Springs homes feature what the real estate people like to call "bonus rooms." This is usually a patio that has been enclosed, and that's what had been done at this particular house. But most people, when they enclose their patio, put in a door so you can still go outside. But not here. The kitchen sliders simply opened onto a little box of a room with no door to the outside world. What the hell?! And, like most of these "bonus rooms" this one was "unpermitted" which means no building permit and certainly no attempt to adhere to building codes. Calling in a carpenter to punch a door into this "bonus room" leads to either permitting problems, or maybe the collapse of the whole room.

Meanwhile, I saw another house I liked a lot and made an offer on it. The offer was rejected faster than I could check my voicemail. Apparently they were not impressed by an all-cash offer. I'm giving them the weekend to stew (or sell to someone else, which is more likely).

California homeowners like to brag about how much simpler and easier their escrow method of home purchase is than the method I'm familiar with back in Massachusetts. I won't bother trying to describe either method fully, but in Massachusetts an offer to purchase is a simple one-page form, and you just write in your contingencies. Here, the offer is 8 pages. I have to initial each page, plus a few paragraphs within the pages. But that's not all. There are several more pages, most of which are simply informing me of things I already know, like that I have a real estate agent and the other guy has a real estate agent and that the sun rises in the east and sets on Mt. San Jacinto and I can't sue anyone based on any of these facts.

I initialed and signed my name more times to make that offer than I would to complete a closing in Massachusetts.

If I wanted to be fair I'd explain that the California offer includes all the info that would be on the Massachusetts offer AND purchase & sale documents. But even so, the California paperwork is much greater.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs | permalink | August 7, 2004 at 10:14 AM


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