It was decided long ago that Los Alamos no longer held it's allure for us and that living there did us no good at all. The only thing was to choose a city we wanted to live in and then find a suitable home. After a month we had narrowed it down to two cities; Lubbock TX and Rio Rancho NM. We were having a hard time choosing between the two since both had their appeal...
Lubbock is in a different state, has almost no rush hour traffic, has a lot of parks and ponds/lakes, is visually appealing, has Texas Tech, house prices are low, is far away from both mothers that drop in visits would not happen.
Rio Rancho has all the shops and entertainment we wanted, great new high school, close to dads in case of emergencies, new or newer homes, close to friends, one of us knows our way around the area, area is always growing, new things are being added and home values will rise after a few years.
Of course there were cons on both sides as well.
Lubbock is far away in case something happens to one of our dads, there isn't a lot to keep us entertained, Lubbock isn't expanding and the house market is suspected to remain the same in the next few years.
Rio Rancho is close enough to one of our mothers but she at least isn't known to just drop in without warning first, the rush hour traffic is atrocious, house prices are a little steep, there is construction always around, not a lot of parks or walker friendly areas.
In the end we did decide on Rio Rancho NM mainly due to the fact it is close enough to Albuquerque that there are things for us to do, if something happens to either of our dads the trip to see them is short and doable without breaking the bank, the area is growing and being added to so the house values are expected to rise.
After figuring out the city, finding the house we wanted was actually a lot easier than it had been in the past. We decided to rent the house for the month of June and go to closing at the end of June with promises that any problems we notified the seller of would be taken care of even after closing. The move itself went as well as a move could go. Friday morning of the 4th we went to collect the large moving truck and my mother/step father.
At first there is no organization to how things are being placed into the moving truck which posed to be a big problem since we had more than enough stuff to fill the truck which we didn't actually think we did to begin with. After a few minutes of rearranging things we managed to get all the important things loaded into the truck just before nightfall. We had two friends and my mom and step-dad helping loading the truck. We took everyone out to dinner which cost us a little over $100.
We drove down to the new house that night with my mom and step-dad who helped us unload the beds and blankets then headed home with a promise to come back the next day to help unload the rest of the truck. One of our friends who helped us load was also going to come down to help unload. Apparently sleeping in the spacious library wasn't as good of an idea as was first thought as I supposedly snored badly that night and it echoed off the high bare walls bringing thoughts of Godzilla to unsleeping minds. I still require proof of this event to even consider it as truth.
Next morning our friend arrived and helped us finish unloading the truck. This is also the morning where I actually don't want to drink the coffee I brewed--turns out the water in Rio Rancho is nasty. Not just icky or gross, but downright N-A-S-T-Y. Drinking it straight from the tap made my face swell up and gave me that chipmunk look no one actually wants. It made my coffee undrinkable which I never imagined could happen. We now have 5 gallon and 3 gallon bottles for drinking and cooking water.
My mom and step-dad arrive after the truck is unloaded but help us move boxes and furniture to the appropriate rooms and even with a little unpacking. Quickly the running joke around the house is if we can't find it and ask where such-and-such is the answer is going to be "It's in a box".
We start making a list of problems that need to be fixed so that we can give the list to the seller. We use New Mexico Landlord law as a base on what we should put on the list as things a landlord is required to fix for tenants. We e-mail the list to the seller per the seller's request as they inform us they only pick their paper mail up once a month. Seller keeps giving us different numbers as to what is needed moneywise to bring to closing. In the end we have to milk another three hundred dollars out of an almost tapped out stone known as our checking account.
Closing comes and goes and I am still stunned at the unorganization of the city of Rio Rancho. I'm coming from a city that everything that is needed is found in one place: electricity, gas, water and waste. One call in Los Alamos along with one deposit took care of all four of those much needed services. Rio Rancho however you must call four different companies and supply four different costly deposits in order to get these much needed services. Which no one decided to inform us of until close to last minute. I had set up electricity (PNM) and cable/internet/phone (CableOne--this after a huge run around from Quest on whether or not the area we were moving to offered 20 meg internet services or the 7) services. It wasn't until after moving in that we were informed that we had to set up a gas account with New Mexico Gas and garbage with Waste Management of New Mexico as well as water with the city of Rio Rancho. All wanting deposits over $100--a couple charging it to the account to be paid with the first billing, the other two wanting it up front. Needless to say this extra was NOT budgeted due to the fact we just didn't know.
Before signing we took the paperwork for the house to a friend who is an attorney. They okayed the contract and Steve's mom also said everything looked fine, so at closing I went ahead and paid the money and signed the papers. Shortly after receiving copies of the signed paperwork I take the time to actually read the paperwork I signed and find a few things that was NOT even talked about when we went over the contract with the seller. I.E. paying an extra $215 a month for taxes AND for a insurance policy the seller still has on the house--the seller is already on our home insurance paperwork as requested (we're buying the house through the seller and not through a bank b.t.w.) but now we're also paying their insurance policy they have on our house. Also we're only paying interest on the house, none of the money we pay per month goes towards the actual principal. Which means when the contract is up in 10 years, we're no closer to having the home paid off then we are at this very moment UNLESS we opt to pay extra money per month. Also despite many emails and calls/texts the seller has not gotten back to us on when they plan on having the things we listed before closing that need to be fixed fixed. They called Steve once and congratulated him on the house and that was it. The seller only talks to Steve despite the fact that I am the one on the paperwork and I'm the one who basically is buying the house not Steve. But since that one call we have heard nothing. Everything is going unanswered and I have no idea if we can do anything legally about it since it was requested we email everything and not send it via snail mail and everything is through Steve's email account and not mine. I do know that the seller said "e-mail would probably be better than regular mail because I only pick up my mail every few days, so just send me a list and we will work out something regarding these issues." because every time Steve emailed the seller I was put as a Bcc to everything even replies he made to emails the seller sent him.
The house itself isn't too bad. It needs a few upgrades and a water system so we don't have to keep getting bottled water but these are things we are planning on getting either with my tax house credit (first time home buyer) and/or with a settlement that has nothing to do with the house.
On top of all of this lovely mess, we have to take our previous landlady to small claims court! We moved out of the rental on June 4, we paid rent for the month of May and informed her early May that we were looking at other homes since she hinted at wanting the house we were renting for her in-laws who just moved to the States and were living with her. NM tenant law states that a landlord has 30 days from when the tenant moves out to provide them with in writing a detailed list of what damages were done to the property and where the deposit was used and how much. By July 6th we had gotten nothing from our landlady (we did provide a forwarding address to her) so we emailed her about getting our deposit back and sending her links to the NM Tenant laws that applied; this included the law about the 30 days in writing and what can and cannot be considered as normal wear and tear. She THEN emailed us a list of "damages" and how much she "paid" to fix them, which she claims is more than our deposit was. She is also trying to 'charge' us with normal wear and tear things like painting and cleaning. She also printed out the email she sent us and mailed it to us. Both of them arrived AFTER the 30 days were up. In fact they arrived 32 days after the fact. So we went back up to Los Alamos and filed with small claims court so that we can get our deposit back. All we know at this point is that she has been served the paperwork, no clue on when we have to be in court for this though.
Monday when we went to register Scott for high school in Rio Rancho we were informed that we need his actual birth certificate (not a copy) as well as a utility bill proving residence and a $30 registering fee. When we called the district on this issue back in May/June after knowing we were moving there we were told that since Scott went to school in that district for kindergarten we wouldn't need his birth certificate and that a voter registration card with the new address on it would work the same as a utility bill. But Cleveland turned us down flat on both things saying Scott was no longer in the system since it's been a few years since he went to school in that district so a birth certificate was required and that we would need a utility bill no matter what. they really didn't care what district told us this was THEIR rules. We can't register him for school now until the first day so he doesn't know if he's going to get the classes he really wants (forensic science for example) or what bus he's going to take to get home. It's turned into a unneeded nightmare. Not to mention we wasted an hour just to find this information out since they were so unorganized.
All the first month bills have finally been paid and hopefully they will be more manageable now. However, PNM is about the same amount without the deposit as it was with. It is also more expensive than all four services combined in Los Alamos was. There's some part of me that thinks that perhaps some of the pros of moving to Rio Rancho have become cons as it is starting to become more expensive to live in Rio Rancho than Los Alamos. What we save in food/gas/entertainment expenses we are paying in utilities.
Also I have decided that I just cannot trust people anymore. I am being told one thing only to have the other thing be true or something completely different happen than what was originally talked about. Or important things are just not getting talked about and instead left for me to discover when it is too late to do anything about it. Obviously I cannot trust the opinion of others when it comes to my well being and although I know I shouldn't have left the reading of the house papers to others I just didn't have the time to sit down and read through the stack thoroughly. I felt so rushed due to the expiration to get the first time home buyers tax credit and when papers needed to be signed in order to receive said tax credit.
Live and learn I suppose.