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About smartlypretty

  • Birthday March 20

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  1. Heard back from the other I applied for in that half-hour blitz - NFCU (Platinum), $15,000. ETA: A few weeks ago Amex increased my limit on my BCE to $6800, and added a $6700 pay over time limit to my Gold.
  2. In case anyone hits the paywall, this is the NYT link without one.
  3. In my recent first-ever home purchase, I had to get flood insurance. By some miracle for a house bordered by water on three sides, it was <$600 when we first got here 8 years ago. Now it went up to $1000ish. Before picking this one, we looked at a non-waterfront but near water house with a $330/month premium. All that said, AFAIK FEMA controls all flood insurance and it varies little and often is confusing (someone mentioned a five-year period of being in a flood zone). From the little I recall about the pre-closing stuff I had to do, there was no variation in the quotes I received. Originally this house was owned by a small corporation after Sandy, and I've always had a sneaking suspicion they had some hand in reducing premiums, since Sandy destroyed the house. I don't know how, but I know all my relatives knew the seller through political connections.
  4. It's been opined that dying as a big cover story about your 100th birthday hits newsstands is "perfect comedic timing." In my circles of widows, people are sad but envy that she's finally back with Allen after 40 years ❤️
  5. It's been a little over a week since closing, and I haven't done anything for a year and a half. Waiting for pizza I decided to app a few cards I wanted and finally got my Amex Amazon card! Not all of these are impressive or impressive lines, but they typically have a purpose for me: Chase Freedom Flex ($11K); Amex Amazon Prime Business ($3K); Amex Cash Magnet ($2K); Apple Card ($1.5K). At closing I got a bank check to pay off a credit card which is odd, does anyone know what that's about? I don't even know how to do anything with it, like walk into my bank's branch and be like "some random old man gave this to me for me for you"? This was very exciting because I haven't had a chance to open anything in forever!
  6. Hi, I've been away for a long time dealing with the situation with my house (I posted about it here) and it took over my life from there onwards and I couldn't do anything credit wise until something happened so it was really boring. Last week, we finally went to closing and I bought the house, which is very exciting and definitely the best option available to me among all the other options. But it was so time-consuming and stressful that I feel a little directionless in terms of restructuring my budget and managing money so I was hoping if anyone had any ideas or advice you could please tell me. My house has a legal apartment which I have to do a little bit of work on (cleaning, painting, removal of stuff left by previous tenants), so that's really helpful. On the other hand, the original deal was supposed to include a payoff of debt (created by the seller, held by me) which I think I've mentioned before, and they dragged it out and that didn't happen. And since the transfer of the house to me was sudden, I don't have a financial cushion like you're supposed to. I hate that, but I really didn't have a choice, and my parent's poor decisions wiped out my lack of debt AND six months' expenses savings. On the other other hand, the house appraised for more than $140,000 over what I bought it for. My brokers said that having that much equity is good, but I'm new to this and don't know how. In my situation and now that I can apply for things, should I try to balance transfer the debt I mentioned, or get a HELOC? It's not debt created by unbudgeted spending, so I don't have the underlying inability not to carry balances and I pay every card I use off each month excepting the aforementioned debt. (But I've heard home equity still might not In general, I'm hyperaware that this is not ideal as a circumstance, but it was the best possible outcome available to me and I want to try to manage it the best I can until I can rebuild savings. Basically I'm trying to figure out the best way to pay down debt and minimize interest and in general, curious about what people do after closing. I've been unable to open new accounts or do anything for over a year and a half and that year and a half coincided with changes to financial products. And I've gone over everything trying to strategize well, but I haven't thought of or done anything - like it seems like a good idea to open some new cards for SUBs and to help lower my utilization. Thank you, and did I miss anything here on the forum?
  7. Lately I've been using shredded cabbage in a lot of "salad" places. It keeps longer, can be quick pickled, can be a slaw, and I almost never "need" salad mix for salad-type stuff. I don't think this would work for everyone, but I haven't bought salad in quite a while due to my torrid affair with red cabbage.
  8. Sports drinks - every week my kids ask, and they're out of stock everywhere. Cheese curds of all brands similarly seem to be missing from stores and restaurants.
  9. Not afraid of you guys, but anyone in the situation might find it -- part of it is the acrimony is their weird fear other people are being made aware of the details - which I suspect is because none of it reflects well on them or is defensible. My bank sent me images of all canceled checks in the period, and I have emails where parent says "smartlypretty is putting up $X000 for the XYZ," and the same goes for actual expenses incurred that are a significant chunk of the amount I put in. Parent gets enraged about this, possibly because it stops them from "fairly" splitting the equity 50/50 since sibling is not vested in any fashion except for a handful of rent payments. Also, sorry for abandoning the thread for so long, there have been a lot of developments and I can't seem to type above the first quote line! This is SO time consuming and stressful and I hate it. Not on the mortgage or deed, unfortunately. I do have records of all mortgage payments made to this parent, in check images and matching bank statements. Also I'm sorry you've had something like this too. It's very frustrating. It's also extremely hard to figure out how and to whom these things need to be presented, I'm waiting on one document for a pre-approval letter, which my lawyer wants to wait for to present an offer directly. But other things happened, so it's confusing. (I'll try to recap below.) Last week, parent inadvertently group texted everyone including my kids about showing the house, and I again said "just let me buy it," and parent texted back an offer that was $200,000 less than their original demand. I accepted that, and texted back, but now they're off again on multiple rants. (I'll explain.) Thanks - I agree, it's distracting and unnecessary. I don't know how much needs to be disclosed to understand the lay of the land, but I do try to stick to the numbers as much as possible. A lot of this has to do with imminent issues like people trying to enter the house without notification or consent, or general things like that. My lawyer said I don't have to allow anyone in the house, and with the current state of pandemic affairs and one sick child, I don't want to. Thank you ❤️ This is very helpful. The house has always been in my parent's name and I have no access to pay the mortgage directly. That is a complication. Normally I think my parent would have agreed to that, but they really want my sibling to get a lot of money from the house in a sale. My sibling hasn't invested in the house. It is complicated and extremely stupid. Friday I spoke to my parent's attorney at my parent's insistence, and the attorney is very insistent that I not try to pursue buying the house, that nothing not in writing will ever matter, that a judge would never even hear any of this etc etc. As you've said, there are things like promissory estopple and (I don't wanna show up in search) the c o n s t r u c t i v e t r u s t remedy, which seems to address exactly this situation on all four causes - down to the enrichment of a third party (sibling). Parent's lawyer is being very odd about it all as if litigation is the only option other than me opting to move out. Instead of paying the mortgage, parent directed me to pay a house-related debt, which I have been doing at 1.5-2x my mortgage contribution. I asked for a HELOC to get rid of it, but my parent did not want to discuss it. Yes. But updates very lateral in that it's forward and back. As I mentioned above, this parent sent a group text including my kids about showing and selling the house. I texted back and offered to buy the house and they gave me a price for the house, to which I agreed instantly. I got more angry texts back after, because they still elected to drive hours to come here and try to show the house, and I declined in part because it's dangerous (and because we had a verbal understanding I'd buy the house). After I didn't let groups of people in to see it, my parent got enraged again, and then told me to contact their lawyer (who represented us both during the initial closing). That lawyer claims their partner is representing my parent, not them. My parent also later sent several texts complaining their medication was in the house (not true?) and that they can't get in to use the bathroom etc, which conflicts a lot with their signed eviction notice. They don't seem to understand you cannot concurrently claim to be an out of state landlord and put in writing that you live in the house (I would think). They haven't slept here since March, but they definitely do not have medication here because they haven't been here? It's like ... this is all just crazy behavior, and I don't understand how it doesn't undermine the claim of being a landlord here. When I called their lawyer Friday, I said that my parent offered the house to me for $XXX,000, and I accepted, and the lawyer said my parent couldn't sell it to me for that amount. Oddly, the lawyer told me my parent offered to and tried to sell the house to my sibling for $XXX,000 - $70,000, the amount apparently remaining on the loan. But my sibling was unable to qualify; I am qualified and waiting for one document to get the stupid letter. According to my parent's not-lawyer who can't represent us due to conflict of interest, while my parent was able to sell the house to my sibling who has not invested in the house except for scattered rent payments this current year (and who lived here rent free for quite a while), my parent cannot sell it to me for less than $XXX,000 + $47,000 because then my sibling wouldn't get the very specific sum of $1XX,000 (for what?) So as of less than a week ago, I have a fair price quoted for me that doesn't factor in any of the money I've put in at all, which I agreed to, which now conflict of interest lawyer says is impossible to do, even though my parent was the one who came up with the price. Also this lawyer quoted me $XXX,000 + $47,000 and I said "I could probably do that," and then the lawyer backed away from that price too and said I couldn't buy it at the agreed upon price plus $47,000. ??? If this all sounds crazy, it's because it is crazy. There is something off or not adding up about it, but I can't really figure it out. From what I have been told, my parent is desperate to get the house out of the name, but is just too angry to complete the sale to me. The lawyer in question was married to my other parent's best friend for a long time so they know both my parents for over 50 years. I'm sure there's some major thing no one is telling me, but right now where things stand is I'm waiting for a document to get the pre-approval letter and let my lawyer try to talk to these people. I was really hoping to have this settled by Thanksgiving and especially by Christmas and it's just like, every time it seems resolvable someone throws another tantrum. Thanks for helping me figure this out. I figured if a lot of people said "but you're not on the deed" it would mean it's not worth trying to fix.
  10. I politely but strenuously objected every step along the way, for those reasons (and because my sibling is an episode of Jerry Springer). About $85,000 is in mortgage payments, and the balance is from something like but not exactly improvements to the home (I am just trying not to be googleable here).
  11. Thank you ❤️ and thank you for the response in general, that must have been difficult, especially at such a young age ❤️ The personal attacking element in this situation is less something to which I am emotionally averse, and more just concern about it being detrimental or exacerbating to attempt. An in-person or verbal offer might be better, but this parent lives in a separate state and stated as such on their eviction letter (which is probably overall helpful). In that respect, I was considering sending a certified letter with signature and CCing my lawyer, but that's still not a guarantee it will be read. I have long since stopped reacting to the attempts to agitate me, I just feel like they demonstrate a broader unwillingness to hear any reason. Early on in this discussion, this parent would ask what I thought we could do instead, and I'd present my suggestion, and they responded like "well, then everyone would be set ... but we can't do that." I kind of feel like their aversion to hearing me is a feeling that they can't dispute or refute my suggestions or proposals on those merits, and they may feel obliged to placate my sibling by ensuring we both leave. When they said the thing about my husband's funeral, I just laughed, which is probably not the best response, but it was so bizarre and desperate. So that probably did not help. But by and large, I suspect a big part of this is that I have consistently refused to argue, yell, get annoyed, raise my voice, et cetera. Both this parent and my sibling are impulsive and generally cannot manage their responses, so that may be part of why communication is so bad - I'm not susceptible to being intimidate or reacting. So I'm just trying to figure out how to do it, and I emailed the broker recommended by my lawyer yesterday, but haven't heard back yet.
  12. Thank you ❤️ (Do you guys know how many times I proofread my post and now I have to live with a typo in the title?) You're right, those concerns are getting in the way and don't really matter. I have a concurrent small Facebook message about this with very close friends, and I discussed most recently that I might just send a registered letter and bypass in-person verbal because he gets so triggered by seeing me/he asks for an offer and then shouts over me. If I send just a letter (which is just going to be about the offer) then I don't have to worry about making it worse. I'm not sure if either manner of offer should address the price he offered my sibling, which was $200,000 or so cheaper. Thank you - I remember getting this mortgage, it taking forever, and having to supply proof of funds for myself even not being on the deed. I remember waiting over a month to get approved for it after we made the initial offer. Also, I don't remember looking at rates at all, and I was so surprised at a nearly $70,000 higher price, the monthly mortgage was so low comparatively. The part about the offer/qualified price is really good, I have been concerned throughout that whatever I qualify for is the price he'll insist upon, since both he and our closing lawyer wanted me to borrow an extra $125K to give away. The bolded part ... that is my secondary frustration! I retained this lawyer with that stated intent - I need a male to do this. But he says that I need to do it directly, and I'd much prefer him doing it. I'll send a letter myself if I have to, but it's very hard to explain that attempts to speak to my parent are just ... not only pointless, but it's like, they are so spun up they say the worst things they can think of like "I hate you," and "you're lucky your husband died, I wish your other parent was dead," and last we spoke and he brought up the subject of my paying off the debt for a house thing and then accused me of having debt from my husband's funeral when in actuality I did not. Any attempts to talk to my parent are like that, and it's almost as if they're frightened to let me speak lest I make sense or they have to think about what they're doing. My other parent despite having been married to this person for 30 years thinks I should talk to them too. I don't get it. So if my lawyer still says I have to send the letter, I will. My lawyer says without a dialogue it's impossible to do this, but I feel like it shouldn't be. Maybe my lawyer thinks that's the best way, and if he doesn't discuss an option two I'll do it and be successful, I don't know.
  13. People do definitely overuse this. But! But I just wanted to say that one of the biggest widow groups that exists is run by a "censored profanity your feelings" dude and threads about being triggered abound, because it happens to widows a lot (and bereaved parents I assume). Especially a young population, many of whom found their partner unexpectedly dead at 40 or 32 or 26, these people ... I mean it's happened to me, not that I told anyone. It's embarrassing, but it is really distressing. The first time it happened to me I was working on an immigration story, and a secondary editor started asking me to call USCIS and ... that did it. USCIS had sent us an approval letter not three weeks earlier, and my husband was then-recently unexpectedly dead. And I got triggered and was on slack and I just said "can you please ask other editor if she's willing to call them?" and secondary apologized and it wasn't a big deal. [ETA I didn't make a big deal out of it but I shook for hours and no one knew and I was embarrassed.] Also stupidly, I got triggered when I voluntarily watched a video about cremation. I didn't expect it, but elements of how detailed it was made me get sick. I'm fine with cremation, it was unexpected. My friends get triggered by passing accidents sometimes if that's how it happened, or by blood if their partner exsanguinated in front of them (mine was thoughtful enough to die elsewhere), or by trees creaking (some suicide widows), or by bangs (other suicide widows), or by hospital ERs (a lot of us). I triggered one of my best friends in life by mentioning a song title which unwittingly reference her partner's cause of death. I still can't hear one Pink Floyd song which comes on in casual dining places more than I ever imagined without having to go outside for the duration. I just can't. It's like your dumb stupid body does the panic attack shuffle before your normal person brain can even get a word in.
  14. Minor update, I spoke to my lawyer and the overall impression I get from my lawyer is he isn't really into leveraging leverage unless it's litigation, and he really wants to avoid litigation, so he's like a nice guy lawyer. He said the letter was a baseless threat and would likely be viewed as such, and that there's no real threat of eviction to worry about. He referred me to another broker with whom he works, and I contacted said broker and hope to get a letter and then deal with whatever entry needs to be dealt with after the fact. Frustratingly, he still believes I need to make an offer personally, which is difficult given the acrimony sibling started, she basically has convinced parent she fears for her life because I listen to David Bowie sometimes (scary!) and have on occasion saged the house if they're fighting. (I actually had to file a police report six weeks ago, twice, for excessive contact from her to my kids because of her ongoing smear campaign, and then the texts stopped). Parent is old-fashioned old-country about women, and in their heart does not believe a woman "without a man" can buy a house even if qualified, so this part is uphill. The challenge is I have to possibly allude to the liabilities, also convey my sincere intent to buy, and not make him feel emasculated (which he already feels that way because I said "no" a bunch of times). So now I'm back to waiting for a broker to give me a letter, which I have to then send. I just feel like he's so convinced a woman permanently absent a man (he knows I am committed to my late husband) can't own a house. Who will mow the lawn? Operate a drill? Etc. Thank you ❤️ if anyone ever has insight or has managed to be female and deal with a man who thinks women can't manage money or mortgages, I am all ears.
  15. Thank you. From what I understand, it is just generally murky even from the standpoint of lawyers. There are legal protections in my state for people in my position, and there are four elements to be met, and every lawyer with whom I've discussed this has said this scenario does meet all four elements of it. There might be leverage I have, mainly around the respective contributions and the landlord living here, sleeping on my couch, making unilateral decisions etc etc things. If they continue asserting they're a landlord, it creates a lot of liability. If they drop that claim, legally I likely have first right of refusal. But all of that really is more on the "litigation" side, and my lawyer is more interested in making an offer. Which brings me back to this parent being avoidant and weird and trying to figure out precisely how to do that, which is a primary hurdle. My lawyer just referred me to a broker, so I'm hoping to get the letter out of the way ASAP. The only thing I wish my lawyer would do that he's not currently doing is take over communication or make an offer, but I also imagine his not doing that is for some reason. Thank you ❤️ It's confusing. I said it's where we lived, but my parent and I purchased it together years ago and I have not been on the deed. It was originally for my family and parent to live in, and there is a legal apartment in it. My sibling has always liked the house, but only began asking for parts of it this year. If my sibling did not develop an interest in the house, this would not be contentious. It's only contentious because my sibling has convinced my parent that I am hostile to them (not true), and it seems like this entire conflict is triangulation. Mortgage payments and then as I've mentioned regarding standing debt, improvements. I have all records relating to these payments as well as my involvement in the purchase of the house, the down payment, etc. The entity is just my parent, there is no lease or rental agreement because until July I was always acknowledged as part owner and eventual purchaser of the house. When I took on the expense related to the house, my parent said to pay what I paid toward the mortgage toward that. I have done that since the expense materialized. I just talked to my lawyer and they said the eviction letter won't stand but did not elaborate. They also indicated that it would "take years," which I've heard from lawyers and brokers. The issue with all of this is it's a great starting point to negotiate a price, and I can't see a way my parent won't decide that selling it to me is easier. Which goes back to my inability to speak to this parent, and their refusal to hear me. I've been trying to think of a way around that for months now, and I cannot find a way. My lawyer is a real estate lawyer, and it seems that the slowness in response was proportional to the possible disruption or impact of the letter (minimal). He did say a third party offer would be problematic, but no one is able to enter the house to look at it without my permission, so it might not easily come to that. Anything could happen, but I hope not that. As for your last point, I am incredibly worried about the same thing with my sibling. This is not the first nor the last time she has gotten a new partner, gotten pregnant, and caused havoc everywhere. It is guaranteed to happen again sooner rather than later, and we're all aware of it. I do think my other parent will okay a right of survivorship clause, and is also aware of this issue but doesn't like to acknowledge it. As for it being grim, widows and widowers tend to be focused on the "what if someone dies" angle since the younger ones have typically been blindsided before or endured probate with an intestate spouse. I don't think there's any chance this won't be part of any sort of deal we might reach, because of both my parents and me and my kids are aware of this pattern. Thank you ❤️
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