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Old 05-18-2009, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So we offered on a house that we won't get because it is a short sale that is being stalled by the 2nd lender. I am almost over the disappointment becasue we found the PERFECT house for us. Like if I lived there for 20 years I could not be happier.

Plusses:
1. Right down the street from an A rated school
2. In the right district for our eldest child to still be in the honors program he is in, just a different school.
3. 1/3 of an acre.
4. pool - all redone and new and not eating the whole yard.
5. 2 car garage
6. whole house has been rehabbed and is a blank slate.
7. New Bamboo, tile and carpet only in bedrooms) and granite counters, SS appliances, etc.
8. Offers a formal dining room and formal living room as well as a great room while not being a crazy big house - only 1850 sq ft... I won't be cleaning for years. Plus I will most definitley have room to work from home.
9. Wonderful neighborhood. Just wonderful. No apartments. And with it being 3 blocks from the school I wouldn't worry as much about a child molester living next door - I know that is nutty but I worry about that.
10. I have a plot for a garden.
11. This house is really priced to sell. It really won't last long.

Minuses:
1. It is at the tippity top of my comfort range price-wise. I always said I would go to 150K *if* it were perfect. This kind of is.
2. The taxes are crazy insane until 2010. We would need to file for homestead exemption. Then it would drop about $150 a month. I worry about the $$ so much.
3. We would have to really buckle down and stay in a budget. Buying this would leave us down to about $2K in savings. We would be able to feed our savings still each month, and we'd have the $8K coming in 2010 (we call it the Obama Money).
4. Okay, I think it's just the money. I don't like tapping our reserves.
5. Money. I am worried about the cost of maintaining a pool. We would lose about $50 a month in entertainment costs (memberships) but how much does it really cost to have a pool - chlorine and a decent sized one at that. Plus we'd want to put a fence around the pool itself. The back yard is just grass so no trees therefore no screen needed. All of our kids are little fishes. I don't have that worry. We are in FL so the pool is open April to mid-Octoberb easily.
6. Oh, yeah... money.

Dh works for the post office and we don't get overtime much. We don't count on it - it is all bonus for us to pay off debts. We only owe $6K on student loan, about $18K on our new van, and about $700 on credit cards which will be pd this month. Otherwise we only have utilities and our savings to pay. We have memberships to zoos/aquariums/theme parks we would probably not keep because if we have a pool in our back yard... we'd go way less often.

Sorry this is so long. I am stressing big time.

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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My first thought every time I see a house I like is eeeek! the money!!!

But can you really afford this house? I get that you like granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and the flooring, but these are things you can put in yourself later when you can afford it. You are paying for those appliances and countertops in the price of the house.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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what percentage of your take-home income would the mortgage/PMI/taxes/insurance be? That would be the deciding factor for me. If it's too high a % of your income, without factoring in repairs, maintenance, etc - then you just can't afford it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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One thing to think about: If the house is all done, nothing left to be upgraded, you won't be able to add any equity by doing improvements yourself. So you buy it for X price, it is going to stay at X price for a long time, because you can't improve it any and the market isn't going to go up anytime soon.

I personally wouldn't recommend buying at the very tippy top of your budget. What if the water heater goes out? And then this? And then that? And then your car breaks down? This happened to us. We bought at the top of our budget, a very nice, completely done house, and then one thing after another drained our already meager savings to nothing. Now we are stuck, DH's hours have been cut at work and we have to do a short sale on the house.

Choose a house that you can afford, and then slowly make the improvements that you like. That's my been there, done that advice.
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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By tippity top of our budget I meant the maximum I can write a check for each month and not hyperventilate.

I totally get the not being able to put any value into the home. That is not so much a concern becaqsue our plan is to be in this house for the next 15 years easily. Being so close to a school we see that in our area they retain value well. For us, it's less about an investment and more about a home.

Our take home income is $4875 a month. Our house payment - all told - would be $1350 until the property insurance could be addressed.

If I lose my WAH job - I could go full time and make more... but our expenses would really eat up the extra. If I don't go FT out of home... DH's base salary - without the OT figured in, is $3050, as a low base.

Our budget has been loose. Really unstructured. I blame me. We should have saved more. I came from a very "rob Peter to pay Paul" household. I have to try so very hard with money.

This is a house I can see my grandkids visiting me in. Holy party nuts, I am crying just thinking about it. I want it... I just worry so much about money it makes me sick.

I don't know if posting a budget would help. If it would I will.

Thank you for all the replies.

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:15 PM
 
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Just fyi, the pool pump will cost you about $100 a month during the summer months. Plus chemicals and water costs.

Maybe you can get this house for less $$. Or maybe there is almost the perfect house nearby, at a lower price?
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And I wanted to add... We were approved for way more. It actually makes me sick to think about poor unsuspecting people maxing out what the banks would give them. Vultures.

Also, we have a VA loan, so no PMI.

And finally... we chose that number becasue we wanted to be okay if one of us had to SAH. We have 4 kids and they are our priority. We are also home-bodies. Loving the house and room to play is paramount for us.

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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I'd buy it.
But I'm in an area where $1300 will barely get you a 2br apartment.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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With that new information, I'd say you should go for it, then. If it's still affordable (and with your take-home, I'd say it is) and you can see yourself there forever, then do it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:26 PM
 
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Just beware, you might not know how much your monthly bills are going to go up having the pool. I'm in Florida, with a 15,000 gallon pool and with the pump and occasionally heating (maybe 2 months a year), it adds $200 a month to our power bill. Yup, $200 a month. Make sure you have contacted FPL (or whichever company) and find out what the bills there averaged last year. Is the irrigation system on its own well, or are you going to be paying for that on your water bill? Find out how much the water bill averages, too.

Plus, are you SURE your property tax is going to go down? You can file for homestead immediately, but that just stops it from going up more than 3%, I'd really research that more, because that is where we came upon trouble. Our propety tax doubled the second year we owned our home (though property values probably won't rise as much for you) and our home owners' insurance also doubled. If there is another hurricane this year, we might all see our home owners' insurance rise again.

It does sound like it's a great house, but if your bills go up $300 more than you anticipate, are you going to be willing/able to cover that, and/or willing to work more to make extra income?

Good luck, I hope you get this home!
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:30 PM
 
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By the way, if you want the $8000 tax credit (the "Obama money") sooner, you can file an amendment to your 2009 tax return. Having that $8000 available might make you less nervous.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
Just beware, you might not know how much your monthly bills are going to go up having the pool. I'm in Florida, with a 15,000 gallon pool and with the pump and occasionally heating (maybe 2 months a year), it adds $200 a month to our power bill. Yup, $200 a month. Make sure you have contacted FPL (or whichever company) and find out what the bills there averaged last year. Is the irrigation system on its own well, or are you going to be paying for that on your water bill? Find out how much the water bill averages, too.

Plus, are you SURE your property tax is going to go down? You can file for homestead immediately, but that just stops it from going up more than 3%, I'd really research that more, because that is where we came upon trouble. Our propety tax doubled the second year we owned our home (though property values probably won't rise as much for you) and our home owners' insurance also doubled. If there is another hurricane this year, we might all see our home owners' insurance rise again.

It does sound like it's a great house, but if your bills go up $300 more than you anticipate, are you going to be willing/able to cover that, and/or willing to work more to make extra income?

Good luck, I hope you get this home!
$200 a month year round... oh, my. This is not a heated pool so hopefully just the cost to run the pump, water, and chemicals. But Is that levelized> That's insane.

The tax should go down becasue of the homestead in Hills. Cty giving you a $50K break. The mortgage guy said it would be about $150 less a month next year.

Did you find the HOI was signifigantly higher for a pool home?

And thank you, Mamaofprincesses... Having the $8K now would be better for me because I would rather let it draw me interest. Thank you for the heads up!

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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Well, to me almost 25,000 dollars in debt and buying a house is a little risky. What % of your minimum salary are all your debt payments including the potential house? How much higher would this payment be than your current place? Do you think making a major investment with lots more maintenance expenses is going to help you get on track money wise? I tend to think not. You have house fever. The part of you that is nervous is the rational part.
I am not saying don't buy, but I think you need to give it some serious rational thought. In the end a house is a house. There will always be another one. Maybe try living on a budget for 6 months while shoveling a ton to help pay off debt? i come from the same type of family background, so I get it! You can "change your family tree" as Dave Ramsey says. Good luck!
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We pay 1200 a month now for renting in a neighborhood that is getting worse by the minute. That is including water and trash removal.

ETA: I appreciate the advice. I am not sure if I agree about the house fever. Renting is just as expensive if we move - we incur moving costs 2x, our lease is up and we are paying right now 300 a month more than people coming into the complex new. The neighborhood is becoming dangerous and my kids have no where to play other than a dirt patch of a front yard. It wasn't like this when we moved n. It was a waiting list community that I am sure is in a down cycle.

I don't want to be transient. We need roots. We are ready to buy and make that commitment.

Our debt will be gone if we stay on track by June 2010. We are just paying what is due to get better credit which right now is pretty darn good - we have worked hard the last few years to be in the position to buy we are in right now.

If it's house fever it's been 4 years coming.

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Magpie1972 View Post
So we offered on a house that we won't get because it is a short sale that is being stalled by the 2nd lender. I am almost over the disappointment becasue we found the PERFECT house for us. Like if I lived there for 20 years I could not be happier.


Minuses:
1. It is at the tippity top of my comfort range price-wise.
2. The taxes are crazy insane until 2010. We would need to file for homestead exemption. Then it would drop about $150 a month. I worry about the $$ so much.
3. We would have to really buckle down and stay in a budget. Buying this would leave us down to about $2K in savings.
4. Okay, I think it's just the money. I don't like tapping our reserves.
5. Money. I am worried about the cost of maintaining a pool. We would lose about $50 a month in entertainment costs (memberships) but how much does it really cost to have a pool - chlorine and a decent sized one at that. Plus we'd want to put a fence around the pool itself.

Dh works for the post office and we don't get overtime much. We don't count on it - it is all bonus for us to pay off debts. We only owe $6K on student loan, about $18K on our new van, and about $700 on credit cards which will be pd this month. Otherwise we only have utilities and our savings to pay.

Sorry this is so long. I am stressing big time.
Do not buy this house, you owe 24,000, you'll only have $2000 in the bank, rarely get overtime and are already stressed over this. You will be one new roof/air conditioner/etc away from trouble.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:30 PM
 
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What state are you in? FL, for example, is at risk of very very high homeowners insurance costs (hurricane risk). Other states have high water costs, impacting your pool budget.

Property taxes will only go up - as individual houses are reassessed due to foreclosure or other reasons, the county will increase the "mils" to maintain revenues. And there is a huge cost to policing in high foreclosure areas (not sure if you are in one)

This house, or more likely its identical twin, will still be waiting for you in a years time.
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:00 AM
 
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I would call for a homeowners insurance quote, and also calling a pool store, before making any decisions. Otherwise, if you're willing to make cuts in other parts of your budget to cover the added cost of a pool, I'd personally go for it. You're talking the difference of $100/month over rent, and then increased insurance and the pool.

This is said as someone who is closing on a house in a week, so I have a biased opinion, I guess. For my situation, buying was MUCH cheaper than renting, and I have to put in HVAC and a new water heater from the get go, and it's still cheaper.

If good houses in your area are going as fast as they have gone in my area, I'd get your research done relatively quickly.

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Old 05-19-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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Well the desire for a house isn't house fever to me. It is the feeling that *this* house is so perfect, "I have to have it, I can picture my family in it, even if it is a little more expensive than is comfortable, if I let it go I won't ever find one like this again! I can't wait 3 or 6 months!" I speak from personalexperience I am not saying it is a bad idea, just maybe look at worst case scenario, and don't be afraid to keep looking if it seems a bit tight.
1200= rent now
1350=new house pmt

difference of 150
plus 200 for pool chemicals/running pump and cleaner
plus 75 extra for higher utilities from being in a bigger house
plus 70 (guessing) per month water and garbage bills
plus 50 for yard/lawn care (averaged, you will need a lot of equipment you probably don't have, how will you purchase, credit card? savings?)
etcetc. If that looks totally comfortable go for it. If not, rack up the savings for 3-6 months and keep looking!
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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$200 a month year round... oh, my. This is not a heated pool so hopefully just the cost to run the pump, water, and chemicals. But Is that levelized> That's insane.
Yes, our bill is averaged and we pay approximately the same amount every month, all year long.

Quote:
The tax should go down becasue of the homestead in Hills. Cty giving you a $50K break. The mortgage guy said it would be about $150 less a month next year.
Yes, we have that, too, but in our case, it went up. It sort of depends. I believe how it works is that the property tax is based on their current assessment. If you purchase it for a price more than the assessment, then after a year, when they reassess, the price you paid will have an effect on the assessment. You are purchasing in a very different market than I did, but I wouldn't just take the mortgage guys word for it...I say that only because we REALLY wish we had known it would go up that much. We just didn't have the $300 extra a month when it went up.

Quote:
Did you find the HOI was signifigantly higher for a pool home?
Oh definitely, but I don't know the amount since we were renting before we bought this house. Having a pool slide is a big no no if you want affordable insurance, so hopefully your pool doesn't have a slide. I think a diving board would be considered similarly dangerous. We don't have either.
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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Honestly, given your income and the mortgage amount, it sounds doable to me.

Can you ask the current owners for copies utilty bills? Then you'd know for sure what is currently being spent. Your usage may vary, but it would be a good jumping off point.

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Old 05-19-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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Financially, I think it is doable. But you want to go into it with a clear head. Do check the utility history for the house.

Get a Home Warranty for the house that will cover major expenses like roof, ac, water heater, etc. They aren't too expensive ($300-500?) and often sellers are willing to pay for the policy. That will give you peace of mind for the first year, and often the policies can be extended past the first year. Only keep the policy until you have built enough of an ef to cover that type of situation.

Fencing the pool area should lower the insurance costs. But I think you can also lower costs by putting a secure cover on the pool. A retractable cover can also act as a solar heater and prevent some water loss, so that might lower utility bills, too.

If you are a homebody type of family, having the perfect home to hang around in is really important.
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:14 PM
 
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I dunno... I wouldn't move in with only 2 grand in my hands, yk?

Is this your first home? I was shocked-- shocked! at how much it costs to maintain a home. And I had gotten all the old bills, and guestimatted the cost of repairs of all the appliances.

Maybe it's just our house, but a million things seem to go wrong. This is just the past few months for us-- sprinklers get leaks, fence falls down when it rains, the lawn mower breaks, so you have to pay to get it fixed (90 bucks!) and you have pay for someone to mow your lawn. We try to be as diy as possible but our house just sucks money. I can't imagine going in without a quite a bit of cash in hand and extra in your budget each month.

I want to sham when this baby comes-- but house is the biggest obstacle. We could afford all the payments on paper-- but we'd be eating our savings each month in reality.

looking at your numbers and comparing it to our own budget, I wouldn't feel comfortable. It does sound like a gorgeous house for 150k.

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Old 05-19-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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It sounds like a nice house, but I would be very cautious. Even a house that you love can become an enormous source of stress if it's causing you money strain each month.

We just bought a house. Like you, we had our high range set at the maximum we would have felt "comfortable" with (still below what we could have qualified for), but we ended up buying a house well below that. I am so happy that we did. I feel like we have so much more wiggle room in our budget and it's still a house that we will be totally happy in. And not only that, but now we have much more money to put into the house, even on small things like decorating.

At one point we were looking at a beautiful move-in ready house at the top end our our range. I totally don't regret buying the structurally sound but slightly outdated house that we did at the lower end of our range. Not at all, especially since we'll have the money to put into this house to update and change things as we go along. With the house at the top of our range, it would have been a much bigger strain on our budget, and we wouldn't have been able to make any real changes for a good long time (and heaven forbid if a major necessity came along). And even with a beautiful house, I think when you move into it, you'll have the desire to change things, decorate, and make it your own. If you're pushing the top of your budget, you'll just have to make do much moreso than in a more affordable house.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all your replies.

To address some of the issues -

We have a HOI quote and I added $50 a month to be sure. I think we're okay there.

I will look into a warranty today. Thank you.

roseangel - I actually feel better because of your posts - I already figured in those costs at a little higher actually - cushion - I am all about the cushion - and even paying $500 a month to replenish our savings fund I feel okay... just really, really "aware" of the money, if that makes sense.

We are talking about it and looking hard for other things. We are going to see it on the 29th again. No decisions yet. If we miss out we just miss out.

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:37 AM
 
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I would also pass. We are living a in a house that is at the tippy top of our range and it is extremely stressful. We are slowing sinking into debt because we can't afford it when someone needs a cavity filled, or worse, DH had cancer two years ago, or our car breaks down. It has been a great place to live, but so not worth the damage it has done on our marriage.

We almost put an offer on a house that was *perfect* and cheaper than our current place, but the house sold literally half an hour before we were able to send our offer. We just bought a place that is almost $40k less than what we are paying now and we are sooo happy that we weren't able to buy the other house. This one isn't perfection, but it is a great house in a great neighborhood, and the things that we don't love about it, we can change when we have the cash.

We really lucked out in that we found a family to buy our house for a profit, but if we needed to sell our next house because we couldn't afford it, we would likely lose a lot of money. Just closing on a house is expensive.

There are a lot of houses out there!
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought I would update... we passed on the house.

We made the decision to keep extending the short sale since it started moving again, and the house is PERFECT for us. Room for everything we dow how we do it.

There has been one benefit... in the months we have been waiting, the interest rate has dropped a full point. That makes about $70 a month less in payment, and over 25K over the life of the loan. Our backup house has also dropped in price over 10K making it the same price as our first house.

DP is also reassigned so that he is now 5 minutes from home and within walking distance from the first house we have a short sale offer on. I only hope that the stars will align and that we can make this happen.

I really, really wish hope that it does. We have worked so hard and I just hope it all pays off.

Thanks for your help, ladies. I think you may have had, in that case. house fever for sure. just am so ready for this process to be over. The savings on the loan and the house itself have really given us renewed purpose though.

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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great update! I'm sure the stars will align and you'll be in a house soon.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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Old 06-01-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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On the issue of utility bills: you should be able to call the electric and gas provider and get a high/low/average. I work in a big call center and I give that all the time to renters and prospective home owners.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:43 PM
 
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I would go for it.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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