Thursday, March 27, 2008


I thought y'all might like an update on the house situation. And since I still can't breath out of half of my face, and I haven't made/created anything in the past week... it'll fill some empty blogging space.

Get yourself a cup of coffee or tea or soda... whatever... you'll need it... this is a long one!

I mentioned that on Saturday we made an offer on a house. On Monday we received the counter offer. Ron and I talked for a while and we decided to counter again. Then, in the middle of the night, Ron woke up to tell me it just didn't feel right to him and he wanted to stay firm on our initial offer. Being sick as a dog and over emotional... I was heart broken. But I tried really hard to be pissy with the people not excepting our offer instead of my hubby.

Tuesday went by and the plan stayed the same. On Wednesday, Ron woke up and decided that this new house would only actually cost $35,000 more then what we would sell our house for. And it is twice the house with nearly twice the yard in a great neighborhood!! But to feel right about giving the counter offer, he wanted to know exactly what the house would cost us to live in. I think it is the engineer in him... he needed numbers.

With a wad of tissues in hand, I spent most of yesterday on the phone. I called the gas/electric company... I called the home owners insurance people... I talked to the bank and got us pre-approved for the mortage. I know nearly to the penny how much a month we would be looking at to live in the new house! It's good information to have and was actually less then I was estimating in my head.

I have to interupt this tale with a bit of a flash back... in 1999 when we were house hunting the first time around. We applied and were given a grant. It was the Sheen Housing Grant and was $25,000 towards new home construction. For years, we have been under the impression that our grant has a 10yr clause to it. Meaning, we would have to stay in our home until June 28th 2010 to recieve the full $25,000. BUT, as long as we stay at least 5 years, then we could get half and for every year after the first 5, we would get to keep another 10%. We were under the assumption that since we have been in the house nearly 8 years that we would be forfeiting 20% of the grant, or $5,000. It is a sacrifice we are willing to make to get our family where we want to be.

Ron wanted me to find out what would happen since we have actaully been here 7 years 9 months and not the full 8 years. Good question. Is the year broken down into segments? Or do we get to round up? I could find that out. I started by pulling out all the paperwork from our mortage. The grant is a long and very legally worded 9 page document that has me pulling my hair out!! On page 8, there is a "rider" that determines the "Recapture Obligation" (aka how much we have to give back).

The part 1 of the rider, it says:

The amount to be recaptured under this Note and Mortage will be the amount of the Recapture Obligation except that following the fifth anniversary of the date which appears at the top of the forst page (June 28, 2000), such amount will be reduced by 10% per year for every 6 months that the Obligor has occupied the Property as the Obligor's prinicpal place of residence in excess of 5 full years. For the purposes of this Rider, occupancy for any part or fraction of a year will be treated as follows:

(i) over 4 months but less than 6 months, as 1/2 year of residence and, will, if the Obligor is entitles to reductions under this Rider, entitle the Obligor to an additonal deduction of 10% of the Recapture Obligation.

(ii) over 6 months, as 1 full year of residence will, if the Obligor is entitles to reductions under this Rider, entitle the Obligor to an additonal deduction of 20% of the Recapture Obligation.

Okay, that sounds really confusing right? Just wait, it gets worse...

Part 2 says this:

The period of occupancy and the amount to be recaptured under this Note and Mortage is demonstrated by the following table:

Period of Occupancy of at least.... but less then.... % of Recapture Obligation to be repaid
1day 64months 100%
64months 66months 90%
66months 76months 80%
76months 78months 70%
78months 88months 60%
88months 90months 50%
90months 100months 40%
100months 102months 30%
102months 112months 20%
112months 114months 10%
114months ---------- 0%

It all makes me wish I went to law school and understood this gargen. If you look at the table, we have been here for 93 months... that means we owe 40% and that is $10,000!! But then look close at the table, and it doesn't follow 6 month incraments like part 1 says. I thought I figured out part one. I broke it down to... after our 5th anniversary, the amount that the table says we owe would be reduced by 20% for every full year of residence... okay that would be 3 years beyond the first 5 years... so that is 60% off of the $10,000 we owe... so hey, we only owe $4,000. WOW COOL! I figured it out... NOT!!

Today was the day I spent on the phone for the grant. I spoke to a representative at the Sheen Housing Foundation. They told me to call NYS Affordable Housing. I spoke to an underwriter at our mortage company who is taking the table at face value and although she can't explain why the table isn't broken down by 6months, she says we owe $10,000. Neither Ron nor I liked that answer. Ron is convinced (and I agree) that part 1 is a mathematical equation... and these people aren't reading it right. It took a few tries, but I was eventually able to get through to NYS AH.

What a conversation that was! The person I spoke to said, everyone had it wrong and we were right with our first train of thought. We owed $5000 or 20%... 10% for each year early. I think I actually YOO HOOOed in the lady's ear!! LOL!! I said what a huge relief that was and how these other people said 40%. That made her say "well, let me double check for sure". Doesn't she say that oops, she's sorry, she was wrong and we would owe 40%. UGH, again.

Since all this grant stuff goes completely against what we were told when we signed that paperwork 8 years ago... we gave the document to a lawyer to read over. And that is where we are at now. To sum things up... we put in an offer, it was counter offered... we thought we would counter offer but changed our minds... then we reconsidered counter offering but haven't actually countered yet because we are waiting to see just how much grant we would lose.

Make sense? Sniff sniff, sneeze. (and yeah, I still have a nasty cold.) I'll let y'all know as soon as I know anything. And hey, if I have a lawyer blog reader out there that just happens to love my beads and want to give us info on what to do... there would be free beads in it!!


ellen said...

Holy cow, Kerry, I hope I don't have nightmares after reading your "house story."
Some years ago we were looking at a private sale by the builder on a new house. We thought we had it nailed down (I'd dream about how I was going to decorate) and then his uncle came into the mix and the price jumped right out of our range. I cried.
Please keep us in the house loop. I hope everything works out for you and your family.
If it's not this house, I'll bet there's another one on the horizon.

Kerry said...

Thanks Ellen.

Home buying is such a big deal. You can't help but become emotionally invested. I get attached in some way to every house we look at. But this one last week was truly one of a kind. I was a balling mess when Ron said he didn't want to increase the offer to whatever it had to be to get it. But I can't say I blame him, he is a smart cookie... sometimes.

I hope I didn't sound ungrateful about our grant. It was huge for us as a young couple just starting out and we hugely appreciate it!! We are just finding it frustrating that what we have been told for years, wasn't accurate. We had our hopes really high about finally reaching the point where we could afford to move and get our family into a better district. Now that is kinda crushed for another 6 months or so.

But all things happen for a reason right? We'll just have to be patient and see what is in store for us.