Editor’s note: We welcome on Hometown Pasadena a new contributor, Bill Smith, who is sharing his blog posts on the restoration of a run-down cottage in Pasadena’s Historic Highlands neighborhood. Bill and his wife, Sheryl Scott, are both graphic designers and do-it-yourselfers who have expectedly found themselves headed for a year of home-improvement adventures. We know their tales will resonate deeply with all of us who have ever fallen in love with an old house. In the coming weeks we’ll be posting often to catch you up with Bill and Sheryl’s progress. This first report hails from the end of January:
Karma & the Cottage, Part 1
Tonight we received a phone call from our Realtor, Jackie Watamura (the hardest-working real-estate agent on the east side), with the news that the deed on our new house recorded. By “new house” what I mean to say is, “A 90-year-old cottage with a collapsing roof, severe water damage, uneven foundation, no electric or plumbing and busted-out windows, which has become the de facto residence of most of the neighborhood’s feral cat population.”
My wife, Sheryl, and I were, of course, ecstatic.
This evening ended almost a month of research, offers, inspections, faxes, notarized signatures and a flurry of banking that resulted in the liquidation of all of our retirement accounts and stocks. The process began on the last day of December, 2009, a Thursday. I got an e-mail from Jackie informing me that the tiny, dilapidated house across the street from mine had become an REO and was being offered for a very short time by Fannie Mae. She knew that I had a history with the house and was telling me in hopes that I might know someone who wanted it. I kinda did.…
I ran from my garage “office” into the house to drop the news on Sheryl who, to my surprise, shared my enthusiasm. I called Jackie to get the scoop: Fannie was taking offers for one day, Monday, cash only and we had to show proof of funds. If Sheryl and I were thinking of diving in, the pool had just gotten about 20 degrees colder. We took a couple hours to calm down and think about it, then I picked up the phone. “We want it.”
Look for “Karma & the Cottage: Part 2” next week. You can also discover more of Bill and Sheryl’s journey in home improvement on Bill’s blog, Wood & Bones.