We haven't paid him anything yet, and he's been a prince -- and more than that, I feel very confident at this point that the man knows what he's talking about and is going to do a really thorough inspection for us -- while at the same time, giving us guidance on which repairs are actually critical (health hazards and the like), which are long-term issues, and which are really going to up to us to decide if we care about. Love Mark!
It's also just very nice to have an expert who is clearly on our side, and isn't motivated in any way by which house we make an offer on, or whether we go through the process quickly for a sale. So far, our lawyer also seems like she's going to be similarly competent and on our side, although we haven't had as much interaction with her yet.
I spent a little while this morning waffling about whether, as many people seem to think, we should put a high priority on a block which has very outgoing neighbors and lots of kids already. But, as Kirsten pointed out when I called and chatted with her this morning, odds are that within three months of living in ANY house, I will have shown up on ALL my neighbors' doors within a three block radius, WITH a plate of food, AND introduced myself, AND met every single kid around (especially the ones old enough to babysit). Meeting nice folks with small kids shouldn't be a problem. I tend to be a hub. Now, if Kevin had ended up with someone just as introverted as he is...but luckily for him, he didn't. :-)
We're still waiting to get our inspection report, which we expected to have yesterday; I called our realtor this morning to see if he can find out what's up with that. He didn't get the impression during the inspection that they'd found any major issues, which is great, but we'd feel better if we had that in writing before we went forward with an offer. And so we wait.
In the meantime, I really am going to start churning through e-mail today. Vacation is lovely, but it's hard to relax while you have an over-full inbox sulking in a corner. My powers of ignoring have been almost entirely used up at this point. Poor inbox.