24 Days Close, 52 Days Until Move In: Buying a House While Pregnant During COVID is… uh… something else.

My emotions in the last 24 hours have ranged from extreme self satisfaction (I did it — I saved my ass off and bought a mudda f*cking house) to literally crying from the sheer stress of trying to do all the normal crazy things one has to do during closing on a new house–while 5 months pregnant — in the middle of a global pandemic — and wildfire air — and… and… and…

This is really hard folks. I know I can be a bit of a drama queen, but I think this would be hard for anyone.

My husband is my rock. My logic sounding board. Many great things. But I’m the CFO of the household. I’m the one who has saved enough to buy this home. He’s the one who has been there for me long enough to keep me semi sane and make it possible. We’ve both earned this.

That doesn’t make this any easier.

For starters, I want to ensure the home is SAFE when we move in.

Being that we bought in the Bay Area, we went in no contingencies and we (uh) gleefully dropped off a $50k escrow payment and said buh buh $50,000. We can still drop out of the deal for the next 24 days until close, but that $50k… we’re not getting it back.

The seller’s inspection report was rather light. There was a separate pest and roof report which noted repairs needed. I understand nothing of how serious things are and what is really required to fix them.

Seller wanted a 30 day rent back (in Bay Area a “rent back” basically means they get to stay for 30 days for free while we pay their mortgage) so I tried to negotiate credits for the major repairs. That somehow ended up being them giving us $5k towards the closing costs and us basically agreeing to $5k more over the life of the loan. I guess that’s a better deal than paying the $5k up front. But then we’re losing $7k on not being able to actually move in. Numbers, numbers.

So the sellers will fix the roof (out of the credit) before they move out, and supposedly will schedule tenting the week after they move out, or something. I don’t know.

We have other work we want to do. The most important is any safety stuff. There’s some electrical things that need to be fixed. That’s my #1 concern. We need a new electrical panel and some wiring.

My next concern is that the report mentioned that the chimney is separating from the house. Or maybe my next concern is the standing water in the crawl space. Hmm. Both seem concerning. But what to do about them? How urgent are they? Will a chimney fall on my son? We aren’t going to use the chimney… but the bricks are scary.

Other than that, the house seems… maybe ok to live in for a while?

We want to put in AC by next summer. It probably makes to do this before we move in. So we are looking into this option. I have a not-going-to-happen dream about getting a bathtub in the hall bath so I have a tub (which is important to me I’m a big bath person and my son also takes baths.)

But it’s a nightmare trying to get access to the house to get contractors in to quote…

Our initial plan was/is to bring contractors into the house over the next month (they are supposed give us access within 24 hours) and get quotes… but the sellers still live there so that’s proving rather difficult. They’re giving us one Saturday and my realtor has to be there and she’s only available for 3 hours or so. Initially we were trying to do this on a Sunday but I discovered all the contractors are off on Sundays. So now we’re aiming for next Saturday. And scheduling all these folks is a nightmare… plus they need to sign COVID forms to get in the house and we have limitations how many people can be inside at once and anyway it’s not fun.

We SHOULD probably just wait until we move in. But…

All construction work we do before moving in, ideally. Between normal construction dust and COVID and everything else, it seemed reasonable to say we’re going to select contractors now and then start work as soon as we have access to the house in November. We might pay 1-2 more months of rent in our apartment (about $3k per month) PLUS the $7k per month mortgage (yes, that’s $10k per month – forking A) just to get things done without us being in the house.

Outside of the whole $10k a month issue… let me remind all of you (because I certainly have not forgotten) that I’m super preggo and I shall be popping out one new baby sometime in January. Hopefully in January. God willing, January. I am not in the mood to be either living in a house with tons of construction going on in the last month of my pregnancy. But it’s extra complicated because…

We now live about 45 minutes from my in-laws and 30 minutes from my hospital.  That’s not a huge deal except when I go into labor, we need at least one of them to watch our son. Neither live in places where he can stay. Ah, but we have a house! And — isn’t grandpa supposed to be living with you?

Well, yes–this is all true.

If grandpa moves in Jan 1 (and I deliver close to my due date) then we can leave my son at home with him. We still would like to get my mother-in-law there, somehow… but I’m not quite sure how that will happen as my husband will need to drive me to the hospital then drive her back to the house then drive back to the hospital (that’s like 2 and a half hours total — he very well may miss the entire show.) Or… grandpa lives with us, my son stays there, I give birth, after that husband drives grandma to our house and then comes back. Or… I don’t know. I’m still not seeing how this works. And I’d like grandpa not to move in with us until Feb 1. so I can have access to the bathroom tub which is actually an amazingly nice tub (assuming it works) that has jacuzzi jets and everything. I’m not a fancy tub person (I just like deep soaking tubs) but I’m sure being super preggo it will feel good to be in the jacuzzi. Unfortunately the master bedroom doesn’t have a door separating its bathroom from the rest of the house. Bummer. So if he’s living with us, I can’t use that bathroom. I can’t use a bath at all. $7k a month, and I don’t even get a bath. Woe me and my first world problems.

So it probably makes the most sense for us to move in Dec 1 and grandpa to move in Jan 1 and all work to be done to be done between Nov 4 and Nov 30. Which is not a lot of time given thanksgiving is in there and from my understanding contractors can be booked up months out in advance. I’m not sure WHAT we’ll be able to get done by Nov 30. Sounds like prob roof and pest stuff. I’m hoping electrical. Everything else might have to wait.

Waiting– is also complicated. When grandpa moves in, and infant moves in, I don’t think any of us are going to feel good about having contractors in and out of the house for a while. This means that remodeling the bathroom will prob have to wait. AC work… if not done up front… may not happen in time for next summer (my husband is making it a priority to get that done now, and I do think electrical and AC are the 2 things that we should try to get done up front if we can.)

I’m trying to go into this house open minded. My husband gets so mad at me when I change my mind all the time. It’s not that I really have changed my mind, it’s just I have two ways of looking at this…

  1. Our mortgage is $7k a month, which is insane, and having his father live with us to pay $2k a month for a while really helps. This makes our cost more like $6k (mortgage minus deductions plus fixes) which is comparable to what it costs to rent a house, or maybe more by like $12k a year, which I can stomach. My frugal side says woohoo, I’ve bought a $1.6M 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for 2.625% 30 year fixed with 20% down and outside of semi minor repair work, it seems totally livable for a while. The master bedroom, which has a ridiculously large master bathroom (designed not to my taste but that can be fixed eventually and whatever, it’s still nice) will be all ours in prob 2-5 years when my FIL moves out. It is OUR house and I like the neighborhood overall (I think) and I like the schools and I think my kids will enjoy growing up there and maybe I can make friends and I got such a large lot and this will be good. This house isn’t near perfect but it has a lot of things I wanted and I will feel good pulling up to it and knowing it’s my house!
  2. I put $320,000 down and we’re paying $5k-$6k+ a month for this house. As the breadwinner, this is a lot of pressure on me to keep my job. While I feel better about my job stability at the moment than I have in the past, I know I could lose my job at any time. I also now am going to have to deal with a long commute if/when I go back to the office. I do LIKE this house… we looked at a ton of houses and this one checked most of the boxes. It’s missing a 4th bedroom, AC, and a bathroom I can use when FIL is living there, but otherwise, it’s good. It’s like… it’s fine. It’s nice. I knew to get something I really liked I would have to spend at least $2M. So I know this is $400k less than that. It feels like about $400k less than what I would really like. — BUT — man, I worked so hard to save up for this house and for the next 2-5 years of my life, including through the rest of this pregnancy, my healing, and probably one more pregnancy (though we may remodel some by then) I will be basically living in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house with an in-law unit. It’s a nice house, don’t get me wrong, but the bedrooms (other than the master) are tiny. My husband and I will both be WFH for a while. The house is big but feels small because so much square footage is in the master bedroom. One day I’ll be able to enjoy that. You know, if the stress of home ownership doesn’t kill me before then.

That’s why I’m conflicted. And stressed. And freaking out. All the things. I’m grateful I’m off work this week. I couldn’t handle this stress while working FT. My realtor is SO ready to be done with me. She is always nice and responsive–at this point I know she’s just thinking how she has to grin and bear it for a few more weeks and hopefully we will write her some really nice reviews and she will feel like the last 6 months of putting up with us was worth it.

In the future, though, I’m going with a more experienced realtor. I mean, I’m sure there’s pros and cons to a noob vs someone who prob would have gotten tired of us a while back… but I realize how hard the final negotiations and contract part is, and I wish I had someone who just had more experience with all the ways it could go, and where we could really push back, etc. I’m sure no matter what there is some blindness that comes with the situation (you don’t know what the other offers are) so maybe this all went as well as it could have. We ended up buying for just a little over list, which is pretty much unheard of here, unless the house sucks, and I don’t think it sucks. It has issues, but the location is good, and nothing is unfixable.

Anyway. I’m going nutso. I think I just have to start packing to get my mind off of this insanity. And we’ll do one day at the house with contractors and see what we learn and then just wait until we can get in on Nov 4. Day of reckoning. We’ll be emotionally hungover from election night and certainly the drama that will come with Trump claiming Biden cheated even if Trump wins — seems like as good of day as any to move into a $1.6M house. Right? A democrat with a $1.6M house and no SALT deductions. Yea, that’s me.

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2 thoughts on “24 Days Close, 52 Days Until Move In: Buying a House While Pregnant During COVID is… uh… something else.”

    1. Thanks. We’ve discussed this (and I discussed with contractors) and the plan now is to fix the electric and possibly put in AC if we can get that done in time. We’re seeing if there is anything else in the inspection report that is a must– but right now it sounds like permits are moving very slow so we’re holding on any remodeling work for at least a year.

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