Removing vines, painting and neighbors….


One of the first things that needed to be done was removing the vines from the exterior of the house. The vines pulls moisture out and can cause cracking.

The weekend before we started on the exterior work, I tried to contact my neighbor that owns the lot next door. He wasn’t home and I left a note introducing myself and telling him about the work. Monday morning the guys start work and at around 5:30PM I get a call from the neighbor. He was upset that that guys left vines on his property ( a lot of vines), I apologized and told him first thing in the morning they will clean it up and it won’t happen again. He then used some profanity and said he wasn’t accepting my apology. I then asked him how could I make it right, and offered to meet him to discuss. He then accused me of his climbing his fence and trespassing.  I told him that no one climbed the fence but rather we scaled down the building to do the work- which since it’s my house I’m allowed to do. I think asserting my new found homeownership set him off because then he said” Well, I’ll have something for you in the morning” and hung up.

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How did this all happen?

After almost nine months of being in contract I finally closed on my house. Why did it take so long? Well first there was a tenant or more accurately there still is a tenant but more on that later. And I had to change banks half way through the process. But for now let’s focus on the positive there will be plenty of time for war stories. I now own a Brooklyn brownstone!

The details of the purchase: I financed my home with  a FHA 203K loan.  The 203K loan is great because you can finance construction costs, especially since in Brooklyn most brownstones need some renovating. Now for the bad news, I’m pretty sure that the 203K has a similar max amount to regular FHA loans (I’m still trying to get confirmation on that).  Currently with the crazy Brooklyn real estate market most of us that could only buy with a 203K loan are now priced out of the market. But for the record, Wells Fargo pretty much “owns” the 203K market in Brooklyn.

Who Helped:  I started posting on Brownstoner . Plenty of people gave me tons on advice and it was great exchanging stories. Those conversations resulted in a small meet up group.

My real estate agent was invaluable.  There were a million times when this deal seemed dead but he was patient when needed and aggressive when that was called for as well. I know for a fact that with another agent this deal would have never happened.

The full list of my recommendations can be found here.

And finally, as I go through this process I post the good and bad. And I welcome all your questions and comments.