Well, closing on the condo isn’t happening quickly. It’s been a rather long and winding process that is still in the works with FirstBank of Puerto Rico. We sent off the signed contract and our earnest money on the 12th of December via UPS 2nd day.
At first there was a flurry of activity and then silence. I kept emailing our contact at the bank getting back only an “out of office until” notice. True, it was Christmas/New Year so I was patient. But after another email in late January with no response, I finally called Sandy, our broker at ReMax and asked that if she could get in touch with her contact at the bank and find out what was up. She apparently got someone’s attention because shortly afterwards I received a letter and an email asking me for updated bank statements and a lot of documents that I had previously provided. Hmmm…. seems someone was moved on/up/out? I now have a new contact. I will have to ask Sandy if she has any idea what was up with that. I wish that this ended here but today when I sent an email looking for a possible closing date to my new contact, I received an “out of office until” reply. Hmmm…. again?
On the plus side, we did get the appraisal back and as anticipated, it is at a market value considerably above our purchase price. This was REO property (a foreclosure owned by the bank), something that I have experience with. REO/distressed properties are properties that a lot of people shy away from because it usually means that the property is not at it’s finest visually or may need deferred maintenance done. Sometimes the mere fact that the property is labeled “foreclosure” just makes it sound “suspect” to most. I love to look at them because there is always a lot of unclaimed equity sitting on the closing table and if a property has “good bones” I am in. This place was suffering from nothing more than the “foreclosure” label. It is going to need appliances, paint, some landscaping and a little updating, but nothing more than the sort of things that any new owner would want. The complex is only 12 years old, well maintained and built to code so there are no risks with this condo purchase.
So while we wait for the bank, Dean and I are doing a lot of investigation into home automation. There will be extended periods of non-occupancy so we are looking into various ways to turn things on and off remotely via the internet. No one likes paying big energy bills and since Puerto Rico has very expensive water and electricity, those bills can be high. Currently the kWh rate is around $.26 while the US average is at $.12-.14 per kWh. At twice the cost it doesn’t take too much effort to rack up a $500.00 plus monthly bill, even without running the a/c. So far we’ve lined up a whole list of devices. The issue we are running into is that all of these things talk in different languages on different wifi frequencies. What we need here is (drum roll) One Ring to Rule Them All. And of course Dean found it! (my precioussss!)
The One Ring is: Revolv
Revolv has no problem controlling all of the devices that we are interested in. They show up on the Revolv iPad app which then gives us control from anywhere. So far we’ve found a valve that can be controlled to turn the water on/off (no fear of broken pipes), a device to turn the hot water heater off, ones to handle the a/c units, the refrigerator, the lights, the TV etc. The application also neatly integrates a scheduler to handle everything automatically. For example, the hot water heater can be turned on the night before an arrival, a/c units set to cool a couple of hours in advance and as we pull into our parking spot, lights can be turned on along with the stereo. Pure magic! It will be as if we never left.
Of course, along with this ability to control everything remotely we are looking for ways to be efficient when we are there. We will be investing in energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, etc. Given that the research we’ve already done to date has taken us down several paths, I am sure that this topic will be the subject of many more posts as we select the pieces and work out the kinks.
Meanwhile, we wait for the bank.
Well no sooner I had posted this, the papers from the bank arrived. Yes, this very afternoon! Funny how that works. I guess that my new contact really was on the ball after all and managed to “un-stick” the “stuck”. Ok then! Now that we have papers in hand we can move forward and plan the closing date. Soon Montesol E 4-3 will be ours!