Zombies in Church

“He died, and they buried him. The third day he rose again. It’s not like a zombie, no, because he is alive for sure.” from “Alelouya” (Haitian Easter song), sung at Easter Sunrise Service of Worship in Durham, NC

House Shopping: Notes

For buyers, the BEST situation to submit a low-ball offer is when:

1. Seller has reduced the price for 3rd time
2. Seller reduced price two times within 4 weeks
3. Property has been on the market for at least 4 months
4. You show up to OH and apartment is empty with no names on sign in sheet
5. You find out that seller bought 5+ years ago
6. Imperfections are cosmetic NOT permanent
Urban Digs

Err on the side of under-pricing
If you have to choose between over-pricing and under-pricing your home, under-price. When you under-price by $10,000 and the home isn’t bid up, you lose $10,000 at most. When you over-price by $10,000, you can lose much more: after a month the listing loses its luster, mortgage and staging costs pile up, and price-reductions signal buyers to ask for more reductions.

How long has the property been on the market?
The current listing sheet may say the home has only been on the market 30 days. But a quick look in the MLS may show you that this is the 3rd time the home has been listed, and all told, it’s been on the market for over a year. Longer time on the market means more negotiating power for the buyer.

Is the property vacant?
Has it been that way for a while? Nobody likes to have a house sitting empty, epecially when the house is in Knoxville and they are in Honolulu. Insurance companies don’t like it either. And nobody likes making two mortgage payments.

Is the seller motivated?
This is something you can’t always know up front. But if you somehow find out the seller is getting divorced/about to go bankrupt and has to move that property, stat, then strike while the iron’s hot.

Find out what the seller owes on the property.

It is very rare that a seller is able to afford to write a check at the closing table, much less agree to do it. In some situaitons coming out even will suit the seller fine, but paying someone to buy their home will not.
All Around Town


I’ve about worn my emotions out looking for houses. Apparently I like to look, but my expectations are too high.

So starting over, I decided to see how much houses are all over town. Limited to a price of up to $250,000, since at a million+ they cost $250/sqft and I couldn’t ever consider that, I found that houses range from $112 (for new homes) to $32 (for small older homes).

This is a good thing to know, though I think perhaps I should limit it to houses near in size to the ones we are looking for.

In town that means 170 houses under $250,000 and 2000 sqft or larger.

Basically in those the range is from $110 to $56 per sqft. In terms of only houses, one I think is beautiful is $50 and there are others which are less, but in terms of places we would live, the range is between $110 and $56. That makes quite a bit of difference when I am sitting here looking at it. It means that the houses I liked on the hill, that I thought were so expensive, were really reasonable. They are between $62 and $67 per sqft.

On the whole hill, it’s $58 to $94. That’s a significantly smaller difference.

I’ve read that houses with large sqft are cheaper per sqft, but I don’t think that is really happening in Abilene, though maybe it is.

The house on Sayles was in the cheap range at $62.

I’m going to put in all the places we said we would live and see what it looks like.

First, that means we are looking at a total of 36 houses. That’s all. One has sold I know. Another has probably sold. So really, less than 30 houses.

Total cost? $95-43. The 43 is an empty home in an area we would live in that needs a new kitchen. However, that is clearly included in the price. But the area didn’t go up as much as it would have needed to in order to carry a house with a new kitchen. We are going to be there a long time though and it is cheap. $129,000 for 2,9994 sqft. We might need to look at it after all.

So, houses in the middle range (the second of three pages) are $70-57. That’s all the houses on the hill that I was considering. I just thought they were expensive. So maybe they are quite reasonable after all.

I guess I need to talk to H before we go in May and see where he thinks the most important would be. Or maybe I could get a list of possibilities and have the realtor send us the info on them. Then when Dad and I go, we could winnow it down.

I just have to make sure not to get too far out of my real price range when I am looking. That’s my tendency. My hopes exceed my abilities. Isn’t that true of most people?

And now I need to get dressed for church. It’s Palm Sunday!


Apparently the president has a lack of integrity. He agreed to the budget cuts that defunded four of his “czars.” Then after the budget was signed, he said he was going to ignore that part.

I know it’s Fox News, but they are a news source. And they are at least as reliable as anyone else.


A house I really liked last year (and like this year) just came back on the market. But really you are only buying the bones of the house and I can’t afford the bones of the house. I need a kitchen and bathroom finished. It’s a beautiful house, though, right on the street we like the best. Nice. Big. Gorgeous.

The floors have been “partially” fixed, which means they weren’t done well in places. That would cost money to fix as well.

The house has been gutted and someone (the owner) ran out of steam and energy to take care of it.

The house was delisted in January from $165K. It was listed in March on Craig’s List as $150 or best offer.

Historic [I took out address] (MAKE OFFER) – 3:42pm
Mar 8, 2011 … $150000 / 6br – (MAKE OFFER) (Abilene,TX) (map) Location: Abilene,TX; it’s NOT ok …
abilene.craigslist.org › housing › real estate – by owner

It was just relisted for $165K again. It’s a beautiful home. It has great bones. But all it has is bones and some pretty floors. I don’t know if anything else has been done.

But I looked up what it costs to put in a kitchen… We’re talking $28,000 to $50,000. I have no idea how much it would be. But I can’t buy a house near the top of my budget and add $50,000.

If I could get the home for $140,000 (that’s close to 150 or Best Offer) and I spent $48K getting it renovated… I would have a stunning home.

However, I am not sure I could get the house renovated for $48K. And I don’t want a mortgage. Although, for a house this cool, I would consider it.

But I have no idea whether the house is really sound (though for where it is it should be) or not.

I wish I were a DIYer. I wish I were the kind of person who could whip this house into shape.

Just this weekend, well, after we got home from our whirlwind trip, I was thinking, I wish that house was for sale still. I wish I could buy that house.

And then it is.

And I could.

But I would really need to get a contractor in there to look at (assuming I couldn’t see glaring problems I don’t already know about). So I guess that might be something to do in May.

It is a way cool house. Big though. It is big. Bigger than two empty nesters really need. But cool. Way cool.

And my brother bumps me back to earth… How much would utilities be? Probably as much as a mortgage.

Have I mentioned that I hate moving?

I have moved all my life. I don’t know if I have always hated it. But I hate it now.

I have to go through stuff I haven’t used and give it away. Even though I want to keep it. Because if I am moving to a 1700 sqft house from this 3000 sqft house, then I need to get rid of a LOT of stuff. Okay, yes, some of it is crap. Some of it I don’t like. Anyone want a fooze ball table? Hardly ever used? Expensive when purchased?

BUT some of it was my mom’s. Some was my grandma’s. Some was my great-grandma’s. Some is just nicer than anything I will ever buy for myself.

And I have to figure out what I am not taking with me, how I am going to get rid of it, and what I will NOT part with except at our lives’ expense.

I do have an entire page full of furniture I don’t want. And an entire trash can full of stuff I took out of the closet. And probably another big trash can full of give away stuff. (But I need my boxes, so I am not sure how I will port it. Maybe take it in boxes and empty them there.)

So I guess it isn’t a total loss. But it is not easy. Nay, it is even hard. And so, I hate moving. I don’t want to move.

I want to tell them if they aren’t going to give me the lousy $700 extra and they can’t guarantee conference funds, then I don’t even want to go. I can stay here and have $225,000 in my emergency fun if I want. And keep my house and just make it pretty. And keep my job that I like very well for right now, though I expect to be somewhat bored with it in six or so years, but maybe not. Maybe I can come up with stuff to keep myself busy.

Maybe we shouldn’t move. DH has a good job here and a better shot at a good job in EMS later. He can do his photography without issues.

My dad is here. (At least right now.) Maybe I don’t want to move. Maybe I should just say, “What I have is great. Thanks, but no thanks.”

But we did (or I did at least) pray about this job for over a year (literally) saying, “Yes I want it. But I don’t want it if I shouldn’t have it. I don’t want to go if I should stay here. Don’t let them offer it to me if I shouldn’t go.”

So I am thinking, should I go? Or is this another time when the Lord wants me to say, “No thank you.”

Why I should be excited.

I should be excited because:
1. They like me; they really like me. (Cue Sally Fields’ smile here.)
2. The job is exactly in my field, so I will have more focus.
3. I will be able to teach grad students.
4. I can teach business writing again.
5. I know and love the school.
6. I have a history there… a long history…. Thirty-three years of history.
7. I have two good friends in the new department, and five solid go-to-lunch colleagues.
8. I have at least two friends who are not in the department, but work in the school.
9. It is my dream job since I first started teaching over twenty-seven years ago.
10. I have the money to buy a house, even without selling our house here.
11. I get to house shop (which I like to do).

Why am I not excited?

Situation: I have received the contract for a tenure-track position at a university that I love. I am not thrilled that the contract came. Why not?

I am currently in a non-tenure track position in a community college. My husband calls where I work now the hood, and it is, but I haven’t had any trouble. My students are incredibly motivated, though poor students generally, and the work load is incredibly light compared to most community colleges.

The new uni has much better students, also financially more able students, who are only students, and often feel entitled. They are, however, overall very encouraging, hard-working, and smart.

The $ isn’t much more than I am making now. While it’s tt, it’s a year-to-year contract for six years, which I already have here (though I think year to year is forever or maybe for four years and then three year contracts). It’s no fewer classes than I teach now. My responsibilities at where I am (non-tt, but whole school is non-tt) are significantly fewer than they will be at new place.

While the new department is great (I worked there 20 years ago and about half the people are the same), so is the old department. And I am leaving after only one year here. While they could dump me with impunity, I feel bad giving them the heave ho when I loved the work and the place. Great chair and staff with lots of encouraging support for what I do. Quite the cheerleaders. Reasonable colleagues.

Dean told me I could move the tenure clock ahead, but the letter says not. Dean told me summer stipends were $700 more, but (according to a friend) that’s not at my level and he probably just misspoke. There was nothing in the letter about conference funds, though I was told those would definitely be available and I would not have to pay for national conferences (of which I have three this year). This is done through the school so probably wouldn’t be in the offer letter, but it makes me a little less secure.

It’s a hassle to move. We own our home outright and it is nice. The market is down, so we might get what we have put into it or we might not.

Husband and I have disagreed on what to buy in new town and we haven’t worked that out. I am supposed to go look next month.

I’ll be leaving my husband behind for about a year, though (if our house doesn’t sell) the boys and I will be here for the month of school break. (Both our sons are in college.)

These are some of the reasons I am not excited.

House Hunting

Everyone says Abilene is cheaper. I am not so sure that is true.

I looked at our house. We owe 2.9% taxes. That costs us $1,900. I looked at a house that wasn’t a lot more than ours ($30K) and their taxes in Abilene are $3,654, with homestead exemptions. It says the tax rate is 2.3%, so maybe I am messing something up. But I’m thinking, dang, houses are expensive. Taxes are too.

This is hard.

This is very hard.

I’ve wanted to go to this school for years, but now that I have a job offer, I don’t want to go. I want to stay where I am. I want to enjoy the job and house I have. I want to spend more time with my dad.

But I’ve prayed about this job for a full year and more and I am taking it in faith that this is what God wants for me. God, I need help with this. “One day at a time, sweet Jesus…”

I sold my stock. It’s been higher since then, of course. But I sold it so I could buy a house if I wanted. Also because I don’t really want all my money in one stock. I’ve got to quit watching the stock now, though. I might be really sorry if I don’t. Help me not to look back, Lord.

I don’t know what I should do and I am floundering.

I want to be excited, but I’m just not.

I’m kind of at a standstill. Emotionally this is taking a toll on me. I am starting to get depressed. While I’m taking medicine that shouldn’t let me do that. (Imagine if I weren’t.)

Different news today… My sister may be moving to Austin. If she is, and I’m moving, I don’t know what my dad is going to do. He really can’t live on his own. I wonder how he would feel about buying four houses in four different towns and living with all of us off and on at various times. I wonder if this means my dad is going to die. I hope not, for our sakes. For his, it would be a blessing. Dang, that feels harsh. But it is true.

I keep looking at houses hoping I find one that says, “Buy me today!” I did see one that said that. But I didn’t go purchase it and now I’m all, “It’s three miles from where I will work and it’s on a busy road and …”

There is another house that looked good, but when I was in town I drove by it and said, “Oh, gross. I don’t want to live there.” So apparently Google Maps made it look a lot better than it is or it really looked bad that day. It has hardwood floors and is big and cheap. But when I drove by I thought, no.

I should call Larry and see if he knows anyone who is thinking about putting their house on the market.

I want to be excited. I like house shopping, but this is just frustrating me and making me feel bad.

Maybe my parameters are too tight? Maybe I should branch out more? I don’t know.

God, please help.

For all the April birthdays….

,,,,,!!HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!,,,,,