Casa to Chez, Part III

Title companies are like copyeditors. Their job is to help. By being as nitpicky and insanely detailed as possible. It’s not their fault–house-buying is a fraught experience anyway, and making sure every I is dotted and T is crossed is a thankless task both for them…and for underwriters.

I was told the underwriters and the title company loved me, because as soon as they came up with a problem I provided the relevant documentation to fix it within an hour or so. This necessitated all sorts of bother and to-ing and fro-ing, especially when dealing with Time Bombs Left Behind From The Divorce. I suppose I should be grateful that I know everything is cleared up now, even the clerical errors breeding several trips to the federal building downtown. (I now know where the County Auditor’s office is too! They were beginning to recognize me…)

And I was told we would be closing “within days.” I was told this every day.

For two months.

Oh, wait, it gets better!

Both the mortgage broker and the person handling everything at the title company went on long-planned vacations the week we were really, truly, no-fooling supposed to close. Which meant “the file”–meaning me and the house I had grown to love and despair of ever moving into–was in the hands of people who didn’t know what was happening…

…and they requested documentation I’d sent in months before. Again. Weeping with frustration, I complied.

I was even polite.

And then…nothing.

I found out later what the hold-up was. Suffice to say there were a batch of home loans that were, shall we say, not handled correctly by a subcontractor. Wouldn’t you know, mine was among them? DEAR UNIVERSE: PLEASE TO STOP HELPING ME OUT, KTHXBAI.

This is the part where I started deconstructing. (And my writing partner started making plans to visit with two tranquilizer guns and a baseball bat just to get me to calm down.) Dear Reader, the stress got to me. I wasn’t eating, I couldn’t sleep much, all I could think of was the house, the house, the house. I was, in technical terms, wiggin’.

This went on until I broke under the strain, during a week where we were supposed to close Monday…but things weren’t ready, Wednesday was really the day, but again, things weren’t ready. I lost my ever-loving mind. I told my realtor that Friday at 5pm was my deadline, and if we did not sign by then, I wanted the papers for rescission-of-sale ready so I could sign them and be done. I would rather rent the rest of my fucking life than deal with this, I told everyone who would listen. I just wanted to make the pain stop. My realtor was frantic too. “We are so close, don’t give up now! This will be so worth it once you have your new house keys!”

I did not believe her. Because Friday dawned, bright and clear…and there was no progress to be seen.

To Be Continued…

  • *follows along with the tale, drink in hand…*

    (I probably deserve a cookie for not telling you the story of what happened DURING our first closing…. short version: papers weren’t filed properly. We almost didn’t get to close. All of our belongings were already in the U-Haul. Stress and booze and a direct-from-God law clerk got involved. The next two closings I’ve done were much easier.)

  • On the one hand, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one being completely tortured by the home-buying process. (Not eating? Check. Not sleeping? Check.) On the other hand, just reading your story is making my heart race. So far as I know, we’re still set to close Friday — but I’m still pretty much bursting into tears at least once a day because I’m so afraid it’s all going to fall apart. Ugh.

    If I don’t tune in for Part IV, don’t take it personally…

  • Dara Bennett

    Aah, Now I understand the wine comments. I was getting worried.

  • ellen

    I think underwriters and title company folk are sadistic jerks hiding behind nit-picking regulations, personally. There was no excuse, for example, for them not telling you that the date for your closing fell during their vacation — and therefore should be moved either prior or after so that unnecessary delays would not happen. They’re so accustomed to things not happening when they say they will that they don’t even both communicating, and it’s no skin off their nose because there is no emotional content for them. My brain can hear them: “Let’s see if we can get THIS one vibrating with rage!” “Just once I’d like to see someone walk away from a sale.”

    No, I have absolutely no support for this theory. It’s probably utterly unfair. But their complete lack of communication, the frequency with which they “lose” paperwork, and their ability to hide anonymous and blame-free behind the realtor and loan officers doth piss me off. Hm… maybe that’s where the zombies all work…seriously, does anybody ever MEET an underwriter? Maybe they’re all vampires or werewolves or… *wanders off to write a short story*

  • martianmooncrab

    it makes my “we need a check for 100 dollars NOW or you will never close” (the same people who after the closing gave me a check for 600 dollars out of the escrow when it closed) to the fact my closing date was the day after I was to leave for Ireland to be with Anne. Ah the joys of getting my sister in law to close for me… I never knew how much I loved and trusted her until I gave her my power of attorney and a cashiers check for 30K. *shudder*

  • Summer

    I have been surrounded by the home buying process my entire life. In my family we either build the homes, sell the homes, rent the homes or insure the titles to the homes. I even did a short stint myself as a secretary in a realtors office. I learned early on that I wanted no part of the selling or insuring title. My mom and grandma both worked in title insurance for 30 years each. My mom was forced to quit by her doctor because of the stress she inflicted upon her well being and her body had finally reached their limit. She is a much happier and calmer person now that she doesn’t do that type of work any more.

    So with much understanding I send you (((huggs))) and calm thoughts!