Saturday, July 05, 2008

Adventures in Homebuying

We left for Nashville a week ago Saturday to find a new house.  I wasn't thrilled to be going--don't know why, but I really didn't want to leave the girls.  However, I knew it would be a really bad idea to go with them.  Herr had made arrangements for us to be there 5 days, and I fought that tooth and nail.  Herr wanted to have a couple of days to get to know Nashville.  I argued that we would have the rest of our freaking lives to get to know Nashville as he has PROMISED that this is our last move.  I am also in the middle of a prolonged project at work that I would at least like to finish.

The flight to Nashville was in my top 3 worst flights ever (not because of service, but because I was CERTAIN we would fall out of the sky due to the thunderstorms we were flying through.)  I wasn't back to my old self until we had been back on terra firma for a couple of hours and indulged in a couple of very stiff cocktails.

I felt a lot better on Sunday when our friends Jeff and Lori came down from Paducah to help us look at homes.  One of the best things about the move will be the fact that we will be less than 2 hours away from them.   It was  critical to have Lori help us look at homes because she is able to smack me back into reality.  Our Realtor was amazing in that she really believed me when I said that I would need only a one and a half days to find a house and that I wanted to see the 20 I had previously chosen in one day.  Three of the homes were sold, so we saw the other 17 on Sunday.  It was exhausting, but I was pleased.  The homes were all beautiful, but many of the communities in Brentwood, Franklin and Nolensville are "lifestyle communities," meaning that there is no back yard (or a front yard).  I suppose people down there don't want to do yard work.  Apparently they don't want to barbeque in their backyards either. My number one choice for a house was not the same as Herr's, but our deal was that I would agree to the move, so long as I chose the house.  It was a new home, so I had no problem lowballing the homebuilder.  It had been on the market since February, so we got a good price. The house across the street is almost completed but it is under contract for $110,000 more than our house.   The only difference is that our house in 200 sq. smaller and ours doesn't have a basement.  While I will miss having a basement, it certainly isn't worth another $110K.  Our Realtor also informed us that we will be living right around the corner from Dolly Parton and some other country music stars who live here.  I'll be sure to tell her you said hello when I see her in the cereal aisle of the Publix.

The most memorable part of our trip was definitely the time spent with our Realtor.  Karen was incredibly efficient, friendly and really took an interest in making sure she made us happy.   She also had the most amazing things flying out of her mouth when we least expected it.  When I mentioned that we would need to tile the backsplash in the kitchen of the new house, Karen piped up, "Y'all, I got a FANTASTIC Mexican who does GREAT tile work."  That sentence stayed suspended in the air for about 30 seconds before I said, "Wow!  Fantastic!"  After a couple of hours of looking at homes with her, we discovered that she has a FANTASTIC Mexican for everything.  Not Colombians or Russians--only Mexicans.  Karen has her "FANTASTIC Mexicans" Network (FMN for short), apparently waiting and ready to serve. Initially, I was appalled and I avoided Herr's glance for fear that I would start making comments. However, it became clear that she REALLY adores her FANTASTIC Mexicans.  We met one of them when she took us to her country club for lunch on Monday to write up the contract.  As we pulled up the driveway, she slammed on the brakes at the top of a steep hill and said, "Y'all, there's my FANTASTIC Mexican lawn guy!"  She proceeded to roll down her window and coo, "Hiii Juan!  How are you today?!"  He seemed happy to see her and chatted with her for a moment.  When she said her goodbyes and rolled up her window, she said, "Sometimes I sing my 'Juan Song,'" and proceeded to sing, "Ju-Ju-Ju-Juan Corona" to the tune of "My Sharona."

Later, I asked Karen to stop by a bank that I thought I had a dormant old checking account with from our days in Cincinnati.  We had forgotten to bring our checkbook and there are no PNC Banks in Nashville.  We needed to give some earnest money with the offer, so I had taken cash out of an ATM and figured I could go to the 5/3 Bank since I have an account there and get someone to write out a cashier's check.  Karen offered to come in with us.  Even though I thanked her and told her it wouldn't be necessary, she sashayed in with us and bellowed, "EXCUSE ME.  MY NAME IS KAREN SO-AND-SO AND MY BROTHER-IN-LAW USED TO OWN THIS BANK.  MY CLIENTS NEED SOME ASSISTANCE AND I NEED TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN HELP THEM."

Fortunately, the people there were very nice and didn't seem to be as shocked as Herr and I were at the polite, but loud outburst.  The teller verified that I did, indeed have an old account (balance $28!) and processed our cashier's check.  We found out that Karen's brother-in-law did used to own the bank and sold it.  He is one of the richest men in Nashville with a 28,000 sq. ft. home and a staff.  Herr and I got the distinct impression that Karen does Real Estate as a lark, but she is definitely the most efficient one we have had thus far.

We spent the remainder of our time meeting Herr's future boss, setting up daycare for Genna and critiquing the grocery stores. We will move down there on July 30, so that gives us only a few weeks left up here.  Gulp.


kimmyk said...

i love nashvegas!
i have several blogger friends who live down in Franklin...yeah no yards when we were there, but everyone is so nice and sickly sweet.

your realtor chick though, omg. the first time i would have heard her exclaim "my fantastic mexican.." i think i would have had to correct her on some sort of level that really i probably wouldn't know where to begin but i'd probably find a place, but then again she probably has no clue what was she actually saying or how some of us would take it. but yeah..whoa.

i'm glad you found a home and can i just say if you've never shopped at publix, girl that place is the shit. love that store. we use to shop there when we lived in joe-ja and i loved it. love---ed it.

not long before you'll be gone again...i wish you good things in your travels. but you guys always seem to come out on'll do fine. and oh, if you see kenny chesney out and about-tell that weirdo to take that damn white necklace off. it's a tad bit worn and it's getting old. i'm sick of lookin at it. and while your at it-if you see keith urban-dry hump his leg for me til i can get back down there.


Lumpyheadsmom said...

Congratulations! We just made an offer on a place, we'll see what happens . . .

M&Co. said...

Wow! I'm impressed at what all you were able to accomplish in such a short time. I think Nashville is lovely. And Karen sounds like your typical southern real estate agent.

Arwen said...

When Nashville gets too much just get in the car and know you have a place a few hours East in the mountains. Tennessee can get a little overwhelming (and I like TN).we have a Private guest residence! Cape buffalo approved! I mean it.

Kristen said...

Wow - I know I've been out of the blog loop for a while, but I can't believe you're moving again! (I'm sure you can't either!) Congrats on the house, though - it looks like an amazing area. Karen sounds like a real character...!!