Friday, March 27, 2009

Up the Hill

That's what we call it; the High Desert is "up the hill" from where I used to live. Of course, up the hill is really up and over a mountain range that doesn't go quite so far down on the other side. It's about a 50 mile drive from here to there. A lot of people make that drive, so I have expected that the morning commute would be something awful. However, we live far enough out and I start late enough in the morning that it's not been too bad.

We've been here a week... and what a week it's been, too. Here's how it all went down:

The appraiser required that a range and dishwasher were installed prior to close of escrow. This put us in a bit of a jam because we knew what we wanted, and planned to charge them at Home Depot to get the one-year-same-as-cash deal, but we couldn't buy them until after we closed or risk being kicked out of escrow. Dave said he probably had a range in storage. Tom and I bought a dishwasher with some of our make-the-house-our-own money. However, it couldn't be delivered until the end of this month. Home Depot actually lent us a dishwasher in the meantime (I love those guys!). Dave realized he did not have a range in storage, so he went to the Sears outlet and bought the cheapest one he could find. It turned out that they'd had a run on cheap ranges that weekend, so he spent a cool grand with the understanding that he could return it "if his wife didn't like it." Dave also borrowed his neighbor's truck and drove up the hill to install the range and put the dishwasher in place. A few days later he went up (again in the neighbor's truck) and pulled both pieces out.

Dave did get the seller to pay for the appliances, but getting them to sign that paper took so long that he requested an extension for close of escrow until yesterday, in which he stated that it was because of the delay in signing that form. They signed the extension within an hour!!! Ugh!

We freaked out at the extension because all of our moving plans were set for the end of last week. I was going to be off Thursday and we were both off Friday, and I'd arranged for three of my friends to help us get the first load of boxes moved on Friday. Saturday we had about a dozen people set to help us move, including my dad who was borrowing his old trailer from a friend. And about half the people who were signed up for last weekend would not be available this weekend.

Dave the realtor and Joe the lender had been positively haranguing the escrow company to get their stuff together. Dave and Joe are seemingly mild-mannered, however, I have a track to the inside story. Joanie, my coworker, is Dave's wife. So whenever things went haywire (which they did a lot at the end), Joanie would regale us with tales of Dave cursing loudly at his computer in the morning or late at night. And Joe, who I have learned is more tatted than I "could imagine" (and I'm the daughter of biker types, so this really makes me imagine, haha) told us that he was on the phone late one night with our underwriter.

"I think I might have... well, I'm pretty sure that I... uh... I might have used some four letter words. Yes, I'm pretty sure that I did. But I had a set of docs come back last Thursday for a loan that I had to put together with bubble gum and spit... and it went out after yours and yours should have sailed through!"

Wednesday of last week we finally got to sign loan docs (we were supposed to close the night before), but not the papers for escrow. Thursday brought the rest of the paperwork through. Tom was able to sign and fax these from work (no, I'm not sure why original signatures weren't required, but they weren't) and I dropped in (from work... no point in being off, right?) and signed them at the lender's office. As I was signing, the finance person noticed that the appliance money was listed as a credit, which is apparently not right. So I called Tom and caught him just before he wired the remainder of our down-payment. He increased the amount accordingly and sent it off.

We were told that night... and Friday... and Monday... and Tuesday... that we would be funding that day or first thing the next morning at the latest.

The next bit of drama was about those freaking appliances again. The seller was committed to paying us $750 for them, but they wouldn't just write out a check in our names for some reason. They wanted an invoice, so Dave sent over the receipt for the dishwasher, which was about $100 more than the check. No good. They wanted an unpaid invoice (what the hell is that?! we had to have the damn thing in before escrow could close, remember?!). So Dave went ahead and whited out the paid amounts and submitted that. Problem solved.

Tom's parents sent us a housewarming gift in the form of a check. A considerable part of that went to our new range.

In the meantime, Dave spoke with the seller's agent and pleaded our case. A deal was apparently struck that the other agent wouldn't come near the house over the weekend. Dave called that "agent speak for go ahead and move in, but I don't know anything." We are conservative adventurers, but this was a desperation moment. We went ahead and did it.

Later that weekend I spoke with Dave who told me about another client of his who had done the same thing over a month ago. Their original mortgage was sold right before it funded and everything got jacked up, so they were back in escrow with a new company. The upside... and to us it was miniscule... was that they were living in their house "rent free" for a couple of months. Dave said the wife only spoke to him in monotones. I'm pretty sure that information snagged about five hours of sleep from me that night.

Monday morning I was informed that escrow had also forgotten to include our first year of home insurance in the downpayment, so I had to run over and take care of that, too.

Mid-Tuesday we finally funded. Dave and Joe both said we were free to purchase the remaining appliances we needed, but we weren't taking any chances by charging even something small until it was all over.

Wednesday morning we recorded and it was finally done. That night we went to Home Depot and had a rather fun shopping spree. We bought a new dryer (just the gas version of our old one, which was a low-end GE), an over-the-range microwave/convection oven/warmer (ooh yeah), a bazillion blinds for the (21 freaking) windows that need them, paint, paint supplies, primer, a baby gate that we're hoping works at the top of the stairs (the railing is too low for most of 'em) and a new new front door lock (the first one was malfunctioning).

The other day we finally got the operating system and software reinstalled on our computer. Earlier this week our dishwasher finally arrived and so did the DirecTV man. Today we received the microwave and dryer, along with FIOS.

Tomorrow we'll get caught up on laundry, sand and prime some cabinets in the kitchen and hopefully get some of the blinds installed. The plan is to get all the blinds up and the cabinetry painted by the end of the weekend. Now, except for all the packed boxes and wide open views through our windows, this place is really beginning to feel like home.

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