May 13, 2011

House Offer & Other Drama

Well, the good news is, there's an offer on the house.  This is what I say to myself through clenched teeth when I'm getting more and more frustrated with this whole mess.  There's an offer on the house.  Aum.  Ooooooofffffffeeeeeeer.  Aum.

I got the word that there was an interested buyer last week.  Fantastic!  Let's sign up.  The original plan was to put my name on papers last Wednesday, but due to a personal obligation, the buyer couldn't do his part.  Hey, I get it. Life gets in the way at times.  Thursday it is.  Well, Thursday it was, and my agent had showings back to back to back to... Well, you get it.  She wasn't going to be available til 9:00 that night.  I guess I'll put my going out of town for a little weekend getaway on hold so I can sign these papers Friday.  (Remember the bamboo sweetie.  Strong, but flexible!)

Ok, the offer has been signed.  There was much rejoicing in those around me.  (yaaaaaaay.)   However, this is the calm before the storm, I'm just sure of it.  Call me a pessimist, but there are still at least two more steps that can go horribly wrong at this point.  I need to have the bank accept the offer, or if they counter, have it be one that the buyer can still afford and is agreeable to.  I need to have the bankruptcy court accept the good faith offer, and then I need to find a new place to live that I can afford where I can take my animals.  There are perhaps, hundreds of places that this could derail between here and there.  I'm excited, yes.  But, it's not time for rejoicing just yet.  Put my beer back in the fridge, please.

So, here it is, Thursday, May 5th.  I get an email from my agent needing a few things.  Now, this I expected.  There was NO way this could be that easy.  Here's what the letter said.  Paraphrased of course.  She needs me to write a hardship letter.  Basically, that means I need to tell the bank why I need them to consider a short sale. Let's see, I'm divorced, in chapter 13 where half of each paycheck is being garnished, I can't afford to stay there on what's left, my house is a reminder of all that was bad in the last 8 years of my life, and I want to make a fresh start because that's good for my mental health.  Ok, so I know that I'll need to breathe a little more life into that, but that's the basics.  I've been a good delinquent mortgage holder.  I've kept the place up to the best of my abilities.  It's not a hole for someone who loves the place.  It's just a hole for me.

Moving on.  Beyond the letter, she needs to know if my chapter 13 has been discharged because the person she'd been working with at the bank told her they couldn't accept a short sale unless it had been.  (For those of you who don't know what discharged means, it's after you're done making all of your payments to your chapter 13 plan.  The courts bless it and call it done.  That's what discharged means.)   That is pure, uncut malarkey for those of you playing along.  Yes, they can.  There's just an extra step involved.  They have to accept the offer and provide a letter of good faith intent to the courts and then the courts have to approve it.

Ok, that process aside, here’s what really got my goat. Come to find out, that the bank requires that my house be appraised.  Well, that’s not the exact term that was used.  What they needed was a Broker Price Opinion.  This pretty much means that someone that the bank appoints gets to tramp through my house and tall the bank if they think the place is worth more or less than the offer on the table.  If they guy says it’s worth more, then the bank can counter offer.  If the guy says they’re getting a deal, the bank is getting a deal.  Seems fair, right?  Well, in principle.

It was mid-morning Thursday.  I get an email from my agent telling me she needs two things to happen.  First, she needs my hardship letter.  Second, she tells me that at 5:30 that night, this appraiser will be looking at my house.  Um.  Don’t I have a say in this?  I had plans you know.  Alright, alright.  They weren’t critical, and I need to get this done.  Sure.  Let’s do this dance.

This is the kicker.  During the course of our conversation, she tells me that this guy learned about needing to get this done the night before.  He has a due date of Friday morning.  This gives him something close to 36 hours in which to work my house in.  Alright.  That's a really short cycle.  And I understand the need to get it done.  However, there's a way that will ingratiate you to people, and then there's this guy's methods.  Here’s how he goes about it.

At roughly 10:45 at night on Wednesday, he calls her and tells her that he needs to get into my house.  That night.  What?!  How on earth did he think that would be acceptable?  When she pretty much laughed at the guy and told him there’s no way she’s calling me that late.  He parried with a “Well, I’ll just go before she goes to work”.  Don’t think so Spanky.  I’m at work bright and early and there’s no way you’re calling me before the crack of dawn to ask, much less tell me you’re going to be in my house.  At best, I'm going to laugh at you.  At worst, you might learn a few new words that, if you say, you can’t kiss your mother for a week.

Both my agent and I were just incredulous that this guy had the stones to think that sort of thing was ok.  Neither of us were all that upset about both his being seemingly put off by having to wait till that evening.

Maybe the fact that I’ve been more or less living in a pressure cooker for several years amped me up.  Maybe it’s that I’ve never really gotten to decompress in the last 8 months or so.  Maybe it’s that I have more headaches than a gobstopper has flavors.  But the nerve of this guy really got to me and I came a little unglued.  

I know I’ve said it before, but my agent is amazing.  If it were possible, I’d have her babies.  She took my mouthing off in stride, talked me down a little bit, and told me what to expect.  She urged me not to do anything dumb, like follow the guy around the house, menace him in any way, or leave some bondage gear out on the bed side table.  She cautioned me that if he were to mark up the price of the house just to be a dick, that would set us back some time and could cause the offer to fall through.  *sigh*  Yes, logic.  You stately king you.  I can’t argue that.  So, I did what was best.  I put the dogs in the yard, packed up my laptop and headed out to run some errands and grab some dinner at a place with wi-fi.  

I decided to play it safe and give the guy a solid 90 minutes or more to get the his appraisal done.  So, at about 7:00 I headed home.  

Now, before I go on about this next part, let me give you some background.  I have showing times allowed for Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  There are some time restrictions since I have to get the dogs out of the house, and don’t want people to ask to see the place after 9:00 PM.  Also, as part of the instructions to the agents doing the showing, I request that they A) turn off all of the lights when they leave, and B) leave a business card so I know they were there.  Relatively simple, right?  You’d be surprised how often those aren’t honored.

I digress.  The final drop in the douchebag bucket was as follows.  Normally, when I come home after having strangers looking at my house I check all the lights and head to the kitchen.  I usually find the business card on the counter or table.  My ex husband needed some furniture when he moved out, so he took the stuff I didn’t like as much; the couch, chair, and table in the living room.  So there isn’t much in there.  So, when I walked in the door and saw this guy’s business card on the steps leading up to the main level, it really made me think about how much passive aggressive energy that took.  I mean, 10 steps away was a counter.  5 steps the other direction and he’d have been able to put it on a shelf.  Nope.  he chose the floor of all places.  Classy.

Complaints about the business practices of local agents aside, now all I’m doing is coasting.  Which is rather nice for the moment.  I got the letter saying the earnest deposit on the house has been received by the title company.  While this is wonderful in most cases, in mine I don’t really care.  I’m merely the source for signatures.  The bank and court are the real power holders here.  So, until they poke me with a stick and tell me they need something else, I’m moving on to the next thing that needs done.  For the moment anyway.

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