the waiting is the hardest part

I really hate Tom Petty. I feel a little bad for him, because it’s not his fault, really. In fact, it has nothing to do with him. Well, his voice is pretty whiny, so I guess it has to do with him a little. But mostly, the fault lies with Silence of the Lambs. I hear his voice, I think of that “American Girl” song, and the next thing you know, I’m thinking about clothes made out of human skin. My brain has become pretty efficient about it, actually. It mostly goes Tom Petty’s voice = skinning.

But still. The this particular song title is apt. We close on our house today. Possibly we’ve already closed, but there’s no way of knowing as no one ever calls us to tell us what’s going on about this huge purchase we’re making. It’s amazing to me how much lack of process there seems to be in something that involves so much money and red tape. Well, it’s not amazing really, since my mom has been able to work both as a real estate agent and mortgage broker with no experience and not a bit of sense in her head.

But still.

You have no real idea of how much money you have to bring to your signing until moments before (if even then). You get no real guarantee that your closing is even going to be on the day you plan it to be, even though it’s in writing and you’ve hired movers (or in our case, rented a truck and bribed relatives).

In truth, this is the easiest experience I’ve had buying a house. It actually does work a lot more smoothly when you have good credit and a savings account. This time, when our mortgage broker said, “this is everything I need”, she only asked for two more things. You have no idea how much of an improvement this is if you haven’t been through the mortgage process with only exactly the amount you need for a down payment in the bank and an avalanche of credit card debt. So, I definitely recommend the good credit/lots of savings method, if you have a choice.

All of our problems have been with the signing the papers at the escrow company portion of the festivities. And thinking back, I’ve always encountered problems with that, so it makes me a little suspicious about the process overall. With so many regulations in place, shouldn’t there be a way for someone to check everything and make sure it’s right in advance? And how much of that stuff is right, really?

The last house I bought, I got to the signing only to find out that they needed more money. The escrow company had miscalculated or something. And in that particular instance, there was really no more money to be had, so that was tricky. When P. bought his condo, he went to pick up his key on the specified day only to find that the loan hadn’t actually funded yet. As this was Friday, he would have to wait until Monday. Of course, he had to be out of his apartment that weekend, so that make things a little irritating. The real estate agent finally agreed to give him the keys early, but you wonder, why couldn’t the various people involved do things on time? And why was no one making sure everything got done? And why did no one call him to let him know? This one other time, the address somehow got recorded wrong in the recording office and I had to go down there to the basement in city hall where they keep all the records to initial a change.

This time, we were lulled into a sense of security when our loan process went so smoothly. But then we went to the signing. First, they asked us to come in but had no idea how much money we had to bring. We asked and they replied, “that’s a very good question.” Well, sure. That’s us. Always asking about the good stuff.

Then, we got there to sign. First, we noticed that it seemed like we were being charged twice for most of our closing costs. We’re doing two loans to sneakily avoid paying PMI, and there was both an addendum to the first loan with the closing costs for the second loan, as well as closing costs listed on the actual second loan. So, we pointed that out. Oh, right. That’s wrong. You’re being charged twice. We’ll just redo those papers. Hang on.

That made us less than confident that everything else was right. And what if we hadn’t noticed? How do we know if $600 is really what we are supposed to be charged for the appraisal? Maybe it’s a typo and it should be $300. It’s impossible to know. You just pay whatever’s listed.

Then, we got to the second loan papers and it was entirely the wrong loan. We were doing a 30 year fixed loan, but the papers were for an adjustable equity line of credit. So, we mentioned that. Right then. The bank has to redraw everything. Come back in a couple of days.

So, we did. These loan papers were right, but had someone else’s address on them. And the IRS-specific papers had P. and I as married with everything being reported under his SSN and me as spouse filing a joint return. Even the IRS is trying to marry us off! The girl who was doing our signing was nervous to have us change anything.

“Just sign it how it is.”

P. said he wasn’t signing something for the IRS that had inaccurate information and scribbled over it when she left the room.

After we finished signing, the escrow person realized she’d had us sign with blue ink when we should have signed with black ink. So, she made copies of everything and made us start over.

And then we waited. And we still wait. Supposedly everything is fine, but you would think someone would call us and let us know. P. is sending me text messages: “any word yet?”

And there’s no word yet. I called the escrow company yesterday. They said everything was “fine”. I asked when it would actually be recorded because we needed to arrange getting the key. Sometime during the day. Arrange to get the key in the afternoon.

Well, it’s 3pm. I called again. No, it’s not recorded, but everything’s “fine.” Well, right, but there’s only two hours left for recording to happen. Will it happen within the next two hours? Oh, well, maybe someone can call you back.

There’s no word yet. Should it really be this unknown?

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