Buying a House

 After I posted about the hassles of buying a house, we were able to find a house.

  1. March 15, 2010. We saw the house in the afternoon and made an offer $10,100.00 over the list price that evening.  We did this the day the house was listed. Even in a housing “slump” the banks list property lower than their selling price and collect offers, taking the highest and best offer first. We waited 5 days for the bank to collect offers.
  2. March 22, 2010. The bank countered our offer and we accepted the counter. Close of escrow tentatively set for May 25, 2010.
  3. March 30, 2010. We received mortgage approval.
  4. April 5, 2010. The appraisal was conducted and the value matched our offer.
  5. April 6, 2010. The appraisal was accepted by the Mortgage company.
  6. April 12, 2010. The home inspection was conducted. Overall, the condition was good but there was one issue that could potentially be a major issue.
  7. April 15, 2010. We decided that the issue was something that wasn’t a deal breaker and decided to complete the purchase of our house.
  8. Our loan processor who was on vacation was grounded in Germany and unable to return to the US due to a volcano in Iceland. That didn’t stop Mortgage from moving forward with our loan.
  9. April 27, 2010. We signed the final paperwork with Title.
  10. April 30, 2010. Scheduled Close of Escrow.

It seems that the same games that were played before the housing bubble burst are still being played. Unfortunately, most of the homes on the market are bank owned, but our process has been much faster than most. Most houses take more than 90 days start to finish to close and short sales can take up to a year.

PTSD and Depression

I didn’t want to write this post nor did I want to share the contents of my heart so publically. For a long time I knew that I needed to write this post, but I deleted it many times before finding the courage to finish and post it. I am not writing this for sympathy, nor do I want sympathy.

It’s been nearly two years since PC’s heart stopped.

Quick review, my husband’s heart stopped one morning about 3AM due to Brugada Syndrome (it causes an irregular heartbeat that stops the heart, previously called sudden death syndrome).  Mercifully, God had different plans and PC’s death wasn’t permanent. I was able to do CPR until the paramedics came and shocked his heart back into rhythm. As a result he has an internal defibrillator.

Two big results of this traumatic experience are that I struggle with PTSD and Depression.

My PTSD caused nightmares at first where I would wake up screaming. I haven’t had any nightmares for a while now.  If I hear any disturbance in PC’s sleep it causes me to wake up and sometimes I have flashbacks; though they are growing less frequent.  Certain smells or images will also cause flashbacks.  It makes it very difficult emotionally for me to leave PC overnight for any reason. I have panic attacks. I can’t think about this difficult time without an emotional response.

Early 2009, I started to sink into a deep depression. I stopped many of the activities I enjoy like writing, reading and taking pictures.  I withdrew emotionally from my friends.  I quit “fighting.”  I no longer felt the need to defend myself or defend issues that were important to me.  I felt so hollow and empty inside.  I prayed and read the Bible but felt disconnected and lonely.  In retrospect, I wish I had the courage to talk to my friends about how I felt.

My co-workers noticed the change in my mood. I didn’t realize how much my mood reflected my soul until now when they comment that they’re glad to have the old Anna back. 

I assume that PC’s heart stopping and the PTSD caused my depression. I was prone to occasional down moods but never had such a long dark period in my life.

It took me a while to realize that something was wrong with my mood.  When I finally realized that I wasn’t doing the things I enjoyed and that I wasn’t happy or excited about things anymore, I knew I needed to do something. I did pray whenever I felt my dark moods coming. I prayed for rescue and deliverance. I forced myself to do the things I used to enjoy, even if I didn’t find enjoyment in them at that moment.  I talked to my husband about my depression.  My mood started to lift and I started to enjoy life again.  I still had dark moods, but they were becoming less frequent.

In December we found out that we are pregnant.

I am aware that after the baby is born that I could relapse or suffer from postpartum depression. I now recognize the warning signs to let me know something is not right. If I find that I’m slipping I know that I need to force myself to do the things I love even when I don’t feel like it, to exercise, and to talk to my friends who can walk beside me and hold me up when I need help. I pray the dark moods stay away, but if they come, I am better equipped to combat them.

I am not a professional and none of the advice is professional advice.  If you are struggling with depression or PTSD, especially if you are having suicidal thoughts, it is important to find help as soon as possible. I do not recommend trying to fight it on your own, like I tried to. Don’t let depression steal your light.

Housebuying Woes

One of my goals for 2010 is to buy a house.

We need to close on a house by the end of April. We started looking for a house in January.

Obviously, there is a top amount that we can afford, and that number is contingent on the HOA dues.

The homes in HOAs are usually better maintained than those that aren’t.  There isn’t always a lot of pride in ownership in Las Vegas.

We also need a home with at least three bedrooms, although four would be better, so that we have room for children (when the time comes) and my sewing room (which will be my work).

We do want a home with a yard, a decent sized kitchen, and nice sized living area.

Most of the houses for sale in Las Vegas are bank owned or short sales. There are very few houses for sale by a real person. The list price for the house that is either bank owned or a short sale is actually lower than the price the bank expects the buyer to pay, sometimes $10,000 lower.

97% of the homes we look at are bank owned.  This usually means the floors are worn and stained, the switchplates are missing, the paint is dirty (though painting is the easiest thing to fix), and many times the appliances are missing. Some of these homes are in worse condition missing cabinets and fixtures.  As I understand it, though, most homes can’t be financed if they aren’t in “livable” condition. This means it has to have a sink, stove/oven.

It seems more than 75% of the houses we are looking at are not in livable condition. 15% are in bad neighborhoods. 5% are too much. 4% are nice, but won’t work for us. 1% are just right.

The most frustrating thing that happens on the 1% that we like, is while the home is listed on the MLS, it’s not actually available.   Our realtor calls the listing agents for homes we plan to see before we go and see them.  After seeing the house our realtor calls the listing agent to find out about making an offer on the house and the listing agent apologizes that he/she didn’t have time to update the listing and the house is in contingency (or has a contract).  It seems that the listing agent should be more ethical and warn realtors that their houses are in contingency the first time we call, before we waste our time seeing the house.

The search continues as we look at 30+ houses a weekend hoping that there will be one that will be right for us.

Pizzeria Enzo Restaurant Review (S. Las Vegas)

Website

Location: 9500 S. Eastern Ave. (behind BJs Restaurant)

Price: Averages about $12 per person for a traditional Italian Entrée.

Specials: Right now you can receive a free 12″ pizza, NO purchase necessary, by texting Enzo to 686868. Monday Dinner for Two for $19.95. Tuesday Pasta Night for $12.95 (which includes a salad or soup). Wednesday Kids Eat Free.

Atmosphere: outside is not impressive and hides the actual atmosphere of the restaurant. You enter through the bakery (with beautifully decorated delectable desserts plus Gelato displayed behind squeaky clean glass). The restaurant is decorated to look like you are sitting outside in the Italian countryside. The super high ceilings are painted to look like the sky. The lighting is bright and sunny. It is an upscale setting for a reasonable price.

Food: Delizioso! We had a coupon for a free 12″ pizza, and tried the Monday special which included an appetizer and two full Entrées. Everything was perfectly prepared and presented beautifully. The dishes were sparkling and clean.

Dinner started with crusty bread and olive oil with herbs for dipping.  We ordered cheese pizza with sun-dried tomatoes (which is actually larger than 12″ in diameter), the appetizer platter (with calamari, chicken fingers, fried mozzarella, fried zucchini, and fried ravioli), Lasagna and Chicken Parmesan. Entrées are large enough for two.  Everything was delectable.

Service: Excellent. The wait staff was especially attentive and the manager (maybe also the owner) visited the tables to check on guests. He stopped by more than once to check on us since it was our first visit. Left over food is boxed for you.

Disclaimer: We did receive a free 12″ one topping pizza; it was not in exchange for a review of any kind, and I was not asked to write a review.

Foggy Morning

Foggy Morning

Foggy Morning

Snapped on my way to work after a night of rain. It’s not often that you see fog in Las Vegas.

Laughlin

The drive to Laughlin is mostly desert with very little to see, unless you count Searchlight, until you make the turn onto 163 leading to Laughlin where jagged peaks dot the scenery.
 
Scenery Along 163 into Laughlin

Scenery Along 163 into Laughlin

Laughlin is a small Vegas like strip of hotel/casinos nestled on the banks of the Colorado River just below the Davis Dam. 

Laughlin

Laughlin

 It is about 95 miles from Las Vegas.   

The attractions for those from Las Vegas are the numerous recreational water activities and a variety of restaurants offering river side dining (located in the casinos). The water is sparkling and clear. 

Caution: (1) US 95 is under construction between Searchlight and 163, with long delays; (2) temperatures are up to 10 degrees warmer  than Las Vegas year around.

Las Vegas Sunset Picture

Las Vegas Sunset

Las Vegas Sunset