a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: August 2022

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Things To Get For Whatever New House

 SUMMARY: Things I need or want no matter what house I end up buying

Note: No posts for the past 3 days because I've done nothing house related and a lot of things unrelated. 

When I left San Jose, I made conscious decisions--consciously considered for, in some cases, quite a few years--to not take a variety of furnishings with me. Because: New House! Retirement! Get things I like better! Here are the bigger ones.

  • Welllll crud, I don't find ANY photos of the
    guest room and its furniture... after all these
    decades! You can kinda see the white & gold
    on the mirror over the dresser.

    Guest bedroom furniture. 

    White & gold bureau, side tables, double bed with headboard, box springs, and mattress-- inherited from my Grandparents. Good, solid pieces and in excellent condition. BUT (a) I've had them for 44 years, (b) they were never really my style anyway, and (c) I've not often had sleepover guests, so it all took up a lot of space that didn't get used often.
    Replacement: I'll definitely have some nice comfy bed for visitors, but I'm thinkin'--Murphy bed! James Bond! I've been reading up on them. With some kind of bedside table (that also folds down!) and a separate bureau...TBD

  • Sofa.
    The large ivory fabric sectional served me perfectly for a long time. BUT (a) I bought it used in the first place back in 1991, and it is showing its age, (b) it is simply too low for me these days, (c) it is most useful with several guests (which doesn't happen much any more because EVERYONE MOVED OUT OF STATE, and (d) keeping a couch of that color clean and nice looking for guests when I had ... ta da... dogs! remained an ongoing challenge.
    Replacement: Friends with dogs and leather couches let the dogs on the furniture with impunity and it still looks great. So: Darker color, leather, higher seating profile, long enough to lie down full length.
  • Entertainment center
    I got a lovely oak one that matched the rest of my furniture--free! From FreeCycle! in excellent condition. It had shelves for all of my audio/video gear (CD player etc) and plenty of storage for other things. BUT (a) the space for a TV can't be rearranged or changed in size and is useless otherwise, (b) it's so big that one needs a whole wall for it, not flexible, and (c) although I almost never watch TV anyway, the configuration of this one made it difficult anyway.
    Replacement: Not sure yet. Some kind of modular units for the audio/visual gear. So, TBD.

    Big white sectional sofa in the back; entertainment center on the right.

  • Television
    Yeah, I seldom watch TV, but the newer ones are amaaazing. I think I want a larger TV than the one I have (which is at least 20 years old and that I got free from a friend), and I want it wall mounted. Maybe ceiling?!  Maybe silly because I don't watch often--but if I get the right seating and right TV location--probably would watch more
    Replacement:  TBD
  • Sewing machine table, sewing machine
    So handy when I did sew stuff. BUT Sewing machine died and newer ones probably don't fit this table. I hardly ever sewed any more. The table took up a lot of space, even though when closed it could be used as a generic large, heavy (i.e., inconvenient) tabletop.  
    Replacement: New sewing machine, but no table for it, thenk yew.

Do not think for even a minute that I have an unlimited budget. Soooooo we shall see how this wish list goes.


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Thursday, August 11, 2022

New House Documents

 SUMMARY: So many things to read and sign!

Everyone seems to use DocuSign now for viewing and signing legal docs. Did this when I sold my parent's house. Also when I put my San Jose house on the market earlier this year and then, eventually, sold it. So many documents! I'm an old pro now at signing electronically.

So far for this new house, I've read and, in many cases, initialed and/or signed (maybe not everything, and not necessarily in this order):

  • The responsibilities (and limitations) of a realtor (AH is handling my house hunt and purchase)
  • The neighborhood (4 houses only!) CC&Rs and CC&R Amendment -- short and sweet (What are CC&Rs?)
  • Short Plat (measurement, easements, and survey notes on the property)
  • Original Sewer (septic system) permit drawing and info
    Partial septic permit

  • Residential Purchase and Sale Agreement: The original offer that I made on the house (5 pages) a week ago and the seller's counter offer, which I accepted (small mods to that document)
  • Addendums to the agreement that I will provide proof of available funds for purchasing and that the agreement isn't final until I have had the house inspected and accept the results 
  • Blah blah standard addendums coming out my ears (just a few more single-page items providing assorted info), plus the FIRPTA (Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act), which essentially says, nope, we're all citizens here
  • An amendment to the Agreement because I didn't think about my Trust until after the Agreement was signed
  • Amendment to the agreement to extend the time for completing inspections by 5 days 
  • Septic inspection reports from the last 2 years
  • Contract with a property inspector specifying what they do and don't inspect
  • Commitment for title insurance
  • Preliminary Title Report (13 pages)

Septic system access covers
(as shown on the drawing above)

Yesterday and today, I: 

  • Paid the property inspector
  • Paid my "earnest money" to the title company; essentially a small deposit which, in certain uncommon circumstances, I could lose if I back out of the sale. Very standard.
  • Provided the title company with proof that I have the full cash purchase price covered across various banks
  • Discussed with AH the inspector's preliminary verbal report, what items we would ask the seller take care of over the next week, and that I will pay for an inspection of the HVAC system (built-in vacuum) in the same timeframe (and AH will find someone to do the inspection)
Just wait until I get to Signing Day with the title company. Six squillion more documents to read and sign and then--erk--I hand over the purchase price to the title company!

Exciting! And not too scary; this will be the 5th home I've purchased over the years.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

New House Inspection

SUMMARY: Howzit look, professionally?

Mr. Inspector Man descending into the crawl space.
Which he said looked really good, no issues.
Lots of spiderwebs.

My realtor AH and I met a house inspector this morning at "my new" house, crossing our fingers that he would not find rotting floors, shattering foundations, leaking walls, corpses in the crawl space, or anything else that could kill the deal. I have until Friday to make my final agreement to buy, but everything looked as good as I had expected (and hoped).

Previous owner took great care of this house. Also helped that it's only 14 years old.

The house, not the previous owner.

The main disappointment was that, for a house this age, the inspector thinks that the roof should probably have another 5 usable years left...I had hoped for maybe 10. Soooo... from proceeds from selling my previous house, I need to set aside at least $10,000 for that eventuality not too far down the proverbial highway of life. 


Poor lilac; its base is mere inches from the house wall. Who does that? Seriously!

Otherwise, just a lot of small things to be aware of or that I or a handyman could probably handily handle, such as these examples:

  • Hall bathroom grout along bathtub needs to be dug out and replaced with caulk (for Official Reasons)
  • One ceiling light didn't light--am asking the seller to replace the bulb to confirm it's just a bulb issue and not Aliens.
  • One door whose hang needs adjusting [um, that's my phrasing, and now it sounds kinky]
  • Couple of nails to  be replaced and recovered. Assuming those aren't THE TWO KEY NAILS HOLDING IT ALL TOGETHER.
  • Trim the huge lilac shrub at the corner of the house so it's not touching the house. That'll be a machete hacking cut, it just shouldn't have been planted that close to the house. 

(Lilac photo is from the house's listing online.)

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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

New House Layout and Tidbits

SUMMARY: It has rooms and Stuf

Few home-for-sale listings provide a floorplan unless they are brand new. This house isn't; it's 14 years old. But the home seller apparently saved a copy from Way Back When. Rooms are good sizes; layout is lovely for someone who wants a downsized footprint.

Tidbits! it has:

  • Nine-foot ceilings! (2.74 m) And the living room is vaulted even higher! It feels light, airy, spacious, and so breathable. Standard modern homes in US are 8 feet (2.44 m)--and have been for decades. 
  • A whole-house built-in vacuum! I've always yearned for one. This one comes with a bonus little sucker at the bottom of one of the kitchen cabinets so if you want to do a quick sweep-up of dog hair, simply whisk it into that corner, step on the switch, and pfffft away it goes.
  • An extra-wide entry hall, so bookcases fit on one side and a table and bench on the other. Without feeling crowded. (Photo is from the listing and shows the seller's furnishings, not mine.) Gives me shivers of delight.

Front door is normal width; wide-angle images distort some things.

(Images are from the house's listing online.)

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Monday, August 08, 2022

New House Story

SUMMARY: Buying one in Washington!

I'm going to try to post daily how this all happened/is happening. I'm already a month (or 3 years?) behind, but there's not a lot to say until last week. 

But I am calling it my Viking House--I have traversed the wild seas of California, Oregon, and Washington, into the woods of a new seaside village,  and am setting down roots. Like Vikings of old!

Keep checking back!


  • It's not a new house; it's just new to me
  • The sale is not final yet. Keeping fingers crossed.

(photo is from the house's listing online.)

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