Saturday, September 27, 2014

What circle of hell is house hunting in the Bay Area?

We've been up to a bit over here at the Diaz of the biggest things is that we've decided to take the plunge and buy our first home in the Bay Area. Now, if you live here, you KNOW what kind of hell I'm entering....and chances are, if you live anywhere, buying your first home falls somewhere in the seven circles of Dante's Hell.

We found THE place, but became stubborn when they wanted to increase the price even though the agent had just sold the same layout for $475K. Stubbornness usually ends badly. But, as a Taurus and a lawyer's daughter, sometimes I just can't help myself. Suffice to say, we didn't get the place.

When another place, same exact layout, came on the market, we jumped on it. And that's when the hell really started. This agent has a monopoly on the complex that we want to live in, so she knew that we want in, because she knew we had written and lost out on the other place.

Though our income, and credit, would be good enough for anywhere else (apparently), but the Bay Area, it puts us in the tricky position of being too poor to be a decent enough down payment down, and too rich to qualify for any possible home-buying assistance.

Hell, I'm just grateful that I have a decent job that I happen to love, but I can't help wishing my hubby made more. That he could help out more with finances...and I know that's not very modern of me, but it's how I feel, especially when we put ourselves into financially stressful situations. But, isn't this part of marriage? Weathering the stressful and hard times together, and being stronger for it. I'm also lucky enough to have a man that has no issue with making less, and has offered to sign a paper giving me full ownership, should anything happen. Obviously that's not romantic, but it's good to be realistic and protect yourself, right?

So, here we are...we put in an offer which was a fair market amount, gave them the option of keeping the appliances, and appraisal contingency. They offered back a thousand less than asking, no contingency, we keep the appliances, and no appraisal contingency. For those that have no clue what an appraisal contingency is, it's something that's put on the contract, so if the house appraises for less than what you agreed on (and what the bank will loan you), then you can walk away from the deal. We wrote another offer, agreeing to everything but keeping the contingency on. She took THREE WHOLE DAYS to write back, and share her original negotiation. Nothing.

Feeling like I had no option (I guess I should tell you here that our landlord wants to kick us out at the end of October to renovate and re-rent our place at a much higher rate), I agreed to it. So, here we are, waiting...once again. The sellers signed the offer (and really, why wouldn't they? It gives them EVERYTHING and screws us), so now the selling agent, who I affectionately call Ms. Bully Slacker, is taking her sweet time sending us the contract. And I'm starting to go crazy lol

I also can't get over the fact that I feel like I've been suckered, which no one in the history of the world has ever enjoyed. They get everything, and I am still getting kicked out at the end of October. Luckily, my cousin has offered to let us stay there, but after years of not living with anyone, moving in with family will be tricky. Totally worth the end result, I keep telling myself, but I wanted to get this deal done so we could move in at the end of October.

I know everyone goes through this, maybe not to this extent, but at least some small part of it...and we're not alone. I'm trying to force the positive on me, I mean is it possible to have buyer's remorse before you're even in contract? I think it's just that I'm sick of waiting, you know? I'm sick of not knowing FOR SURE that it's ours, ours, and not being able to get started on the planning, of being kept in a stressful sort of limbo...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Are Tech Tourists to Blame for SF's Newfound Douchebaggery?

There's been a lot of talk lately about tech bus routes disrupting San Francisco streets, housing activists and tech worker battles, and all the tax breaks the City is giving to tech businesses to try to keep them firmly rooted in SF, meanwhile displacing residents that have been in SF for generations and made the City what it is. "What's happening to our City?" some hipster whines into their $5 single-drip, locally sourced, organic cup of coffee.

                                               (photo courtesy of

I was born in SF, raised in the Bay Area, and very proudly have called myself a Bay Arean long before the tech tourists arrived, or E-40 gave us our official unofficial anthem. I remember the first wave of dot-comers, and how in the 90s the same woeful cries arose out of the artsy fartsy depths of the City. Have we sold out? Where is the true essence of SF? And then, BOOM! The bubble exploded, and everyone went back to their lives.

But, those dot-comers would come back full force in the form of, what I call, tech tourists. People that have hopped off of planes and busses from Iowa or India, with nothing but a laptop and a dream...much like those starry eyed future waitresses or strippers hop off the busses at Union Station in LA. They came to the city after the social media boom, and have come in search of building an app or a website, just to sell it off to the highest bidder. They hunt VCs like that starry eyed girl hunts famous actors or directors, hoping for a shot at the big time. I can go on and on with stereotypes, and if you want to add some more, feel free to leave them in the comments. The tech tourists are plagued with the same gripe as every other tourist in the country- thanks for the economic and employment boom, but you suck for the traffic, attitude,  and trash you leave behind.

Is it the tech companies that are responsible for gentrifying neighborhoods, and displacing the generations-old families who helped to make the City great? Somewhat. ('s also the City who has long since fought any form of development.) Is it hypocritical for transient hipsters to proclaim their love for "The Mish", when they don't know its history as a punk haven and gang territory? Sorta. Is it so bad that a new sub-culture of people have found their home in SF? I'm not so sure. SF has been home to prostitutes, speakeasies, gold miners, labor protesters (hell, protesters of all types), beatniks, hippies, communists, homosexuals, musicians, and any other sub-culture that couldn't fit neatly into mainstream America.

Yes, the tech tourists fit neatly into mainstream America (in fact, they're creating mainstream America, for the better or worse, you decide). However, you cannot applaud innovation, and then turn your back on it once it interrupts your bus schedule, or adds an insane amount of traffic to your commute. You cannot be an app addict, not even talking to the person sitting across from you at lunch, and applaud the influx of employment then, get mad when those employees are using a greener means of transportation. Let me be clear, I'm very against kicking people out whose families have lived in SF, and built the City to what it is, due to high rents and in favor of people that will tear down a mom and pop shop so that they can have their daily half-caf, light Vanilla "Macchiato".

                                         (courtesy of

So, it's the age old question, what came first? The tech tourists or the almost total overhaul of what makes SF The City? I dragged my husband up here from that self-involved wasteland of LA, with promises of a "much cooler and nicer" SF, only to find that the SF I remember has long since moved on....possibly to Seattle or Portland. I remember SF, much like you remember your first love, with rosy lenses, and I remember a city full of compassion, consciousness, political awareness (heck, awareness in general), polite manners, and warmth. Now, I've found a City full of self-involved douchebags claiming to be cool and innovative; without any thought to those around them as they walk, totally absorbed in their own lives and cell phones; without so much as a smile when someone says "hello"; with restaurant tables FULL of people not engaging with each other, but with their cell phones, and with just the very slightest glimpse of what it used to be. Our City, the one we love, is still there. We just have to dig a little deeper than we have in the past.

The reality is that I don't think this dialogue is limited to SF, I think that worldwide there are people that have forgotten what it's like to be a community and to engage with friends offline, as opposed to online. But, that's another piece all together...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sorry I've been MIA...

I have been MIA for wayyyyy too long, and I'm sorry. I've missed you, I've seen the error of my ways, and now, I'm back. 2014 is going to be the year that I blog more often, and keep in touch with you guys. Remember...