Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nothing Comes Easy: The Saga Continues

As much as we love Los Alamos, absolutely NOTHING comes easy here. At least not for the Moores.

Leni's job was perhaps the largest hassle of our lives. Hassle doesn't even do the situation justice. Shopping for a house was also difficult. Below is the play-by-play of the events that unfolded since we started "house hunting" in April.

WARNING: If you are not in the least interested in the intricacies of a messy real estate transaction, do NOT read on.
  • Being out-bid on 2 houses in the same weekend. Both bids were over asking price. Can't compete with that so we moved on without being too upset.

  • Another bid on a third house accepted but bank refusing to close for 90-120 days. No thanks.

  • Bid on 4th house (the one we got). Agreement come to after their counter offer and our counter-counter-offer. Agreed on a price, some work that they would have done, and a closing date of June 18. Done deal...one would think.

  • Inspection shows that roof needs $4,000 worth of work.

  • In the middle of negotiations regarding who would pay for the roof, I jumped a plane to go to TX to do some work there. I'd been sitting in my seat less than 5 minutes when I heard someone say, "Hi Maggie." There was the seller with 3 of his 4 kids. They were flying out east to see family and his wife and older son would be joining in a few days. He sat behind me with his youngest and the two other kids were seated next to me. "Perfect!", I thought. While I'd been looking forward to napping on the flight, this was a great opportunity to help this guy out with the 2 young kids seated separately from him. They were 6 and 4 so no doubt he would be relieved to have some help and then, perhaps, be more inclined to shell out at least something for the roof, even if he was unable to pay for all of it. The flight was 90 minutes long and I spent each of those being overly nice to the kids. I helped adjust seatbacks, taught them how to lower their trays, opened snacks, helped reach bags, adjusted overhead lights and air...I even let them take turns sitting in my lap so they could see how the window (because the view of the wing was just so good!). Upon landing, I turned on my cell phone only to receive a text from Leni saying that the sellers were unable (possibly unwilling?) to pay for the roof, or even half. Come to find out later, they are 2 years behind on their property taxes so I think it was a combination of both. They offered us $500 and we took it and just dealt with the fact that we are going to fork over some money for a roof later. At least we know about it and there won't be any surprise leaks in the future. I'm most bummed about the energy I put toward being so nice to those draining kids.

  • Week before scheduled closing: loan officer sick and in hospital = major delays in paperwork. Can't be mad at her but frustrating nonetheless.

  • Won't be able to close on June 18 as scheduled so we send a contract addendum to the sellers stating that the closing will now be "on or before June 25th". I assumed they would be pleased to sign this because it was a week of extra packing time. Come to find out they hadn't even started packing their things and refused to sign the addendum saying that wanted to close on the 30th. This was problematic for us because the 30th is in the middle of the week and Leni would have had to take time off work to move. We already had a moving truck reserved to move on Saturday the 26th as well as helpers who had agreed to assist in the move that day. Needless to say, we weren't in the least interested in moving mid week and especially since our landlord was giving us a prorated rent for June, we wanted to be out sooner rather than later. "What are they going to do? Throw us out on the street if we aren't out in time?" was what we're told the seller said about settling on a closing date. Really? REALLY?!?! He had no idea who he was dealing with.

  • Knowing that the sellers weren't very concerned with getting out, we started asking the obvious question: what happens if we close and their junk and 4 kid are still in the house? The answer we got, agreed upon by both realtors, was that at that point, you call the cops and order an eviction notice. Aw crap. As fun as it sounded and as much as I'd love to have the story to tell, I really wasn't interested in making the process any messier than it already was. If it didn't have to come to all that, it would be okay with me. That being said, I was prepared to do it. Without thinking twice. In fact, I was kind of hoping that we'd run into them around town beforehand to drop hints that we weren't above legal action...just to light a fire under them.

  • The sellers' realtor loaded up her car with some boxes and took them over and told them to start packing (not her job!). She also let them know how ridiculous they were being about the closing date and made them sign the addendum finally. Thank you, Teddie Sue! When she called our realtor to let her know that the document was signed, she called them "childish". I couldn't have agreed more.

  • A new closing date was set for the morning of Friday, June 25th. I had hoped that it would be earlier in the week but I also knew that having it on the last possible day would probably deflect more drama from the sellers.

  • A pre-closing walk-through of the house was scheduled for the evening before closing. This would be the moment of truth. Would their stuff be out? Would the house be clean? I was worried because I'd seen pictures that the appraiser had taken less than a week before and noticed that no packing had commenced when they were taken. So either they wouldn't be done and out, or they were quick workers and pulled it off. Both sellers, it should be mentioned, are teachers with the summer off. There would be NO EXCUSE for not having everything done.

  • At this point, I'm trying not to let this make me into a pessimist but it's tough. Although I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the place would be in good order, I was wrong. 7PM on Thursday before closing comes around and finds us at the house with just our realtor. Thank God the sellers weren't there because there may have been bloodshed. The place was trashed. Not damaged but there was a pile of junk in the garage and every room had trash in it. There were clothes in the dryer and empty soda cans everywhere.

  • As the three of us crouched on the pet-stained floor of the master bedroom, we made some phone calls and found some things out. First, the sellers were planning on having a professional cleaning service come the next morning. That's calling it close, but whatever. Second, we called the loan officer only to be told that our loan paperwork was not yet ready and that we wouldn't be able to close tomorrow. Again, I don't fault her because so much of that stuff is out of her hands. But she should have called us to tell us long before. We shouldn't have had to hear that over the phone 17 hours before the second scheduled closing.

  • So that put us in a pickle. We wanted to be able to call the sellers and demand that they clean up their shiz. But without the promise of a ready-to-go loan, we didn't have anything to back ourselves up with. We decided to wait until the next day and see what would change by then (both in terms of the loan as well as the state of the house) to make a decision.

  • Walk-through, take two. Friday afternoon comes around and we, once again, met with our saint of a realtor and we walked through the house again after the cleaners were scheduled to be finished. Trying to assume the best here. This time, the house was in very good order but there was still a bunch of junk in the garage and driveway. All things considered, it was probably the best we were going to get. Still, the loan was not ready

  • Not wanting to wait for the loan to get approved by the middle of the next week , we went ahead and moved in without closing. We signed another addendum regarding closing date (this time, on or before June 30th) as well as an occupancy agreement saying we'd pay the sellers $40/day to live in the house until closing and the sellers agreed.

  • Moving went well. My brother and sister-in-law came up on Friday afternoon and stayed long enough to get everything but a small carload of odds and ends over to the new house. Many thanks go to them for this. Those stairs leading up to the front door were a pain and the process would have been much more drawn out had we done this by ourselves.
So that's the saga as it stands. We're told that there are very good chances that the loan will be ready to close tomorrow since it is the end of the month. Apparently, it will be a blow to the loan company to have to go into July to get this done. As of yesterday, they had all the information they needed and had sent it to the underwriters for final approval with an order to put a rush on it.

Stay tuned for the end of the story. I'm doing the same.

Keep It Real!

1 comment:

  1. Maggie, it could be worse. A friend of mine had nearly the same troubles you did. But! In addition to the trash in the house, the family hadn't gotten around to picking up their potbellied pig. A potbellied pig that had gone from tiny and cute to large and surly. So of course we teased her that the pig was being left behind. On the day I was helping her move her couch in, partly so she could show me the trash that had been left behind, I was playing with her mailbox and saw a handwritten note inside. Since she was on the other end of the couch, she had me read it to her. I joked it was the adoption papers for the pig, and then started reading. Sure enough... "We tried getting her on the trailer, but this is her home. Her name is Panchita and she likes tortillas and dog food." So at least your house didn't come with any extra pets. :) (That stupid pig was evil, and growled at us when we were getting it on a trailer to go live at a farm. She wanted to take a chunk out of us and totally would have.)