Monday, July 4, 2011

The Lawton-House Saga

A few months ago while sitting at our kitchen table, trying not to puke all over the person sitting across from me both out of disgust and from morning sickness, I realized that customer service is dead. I was discussing our recent home inspection with the realtor who both sold us our house and was selling it so we could be {{happily}} on our way. "Well, where is the report from your inspection?" There were discrepancies. Things we were told needed to be done, but had never been brought up by our original inspection. "We never got a copy." "Well that's just not right!" No kidding. After more discussion, it was clear we never had one. What was not clear is how that happened. The realtor told us she thought it was because we said we could handle whatever the house gave us. We were naive. We jumped into a house and made many mistakes in the process but NOT having a home inspection on a 50 year old house?! Come on. She did agree that she wouldn't have approved of that, even if we had said we didn't need one. She said she definitely would have advised against it. And though both J and I remember paying for one, we never got resolution on whether or not we actually did.

For a long time we cussed that {{non-existent}} inspector. "How could he have missed these things?" "What kind of half ass fails to notice...?" You know, things like, standing water under a mooshy bathroom floor, layers upon layers of peel and stick flooring {{presumably laid to help said mooshy floor}}, black mold, the fact that one of our bathrooms didn't get hot water to it, plus a whole list of things I'm not even going to get into. After that discussion at the table a few months ago {{and for lack of evidence to the contrary}} I decided we never had one.

Let this serve as a lesson to you: Just because someone says they are out for your best interest, does not always mean they are. {{This story is about to get much, much worse.}} Now our real estate agent was married to the military and her husband was retired vet. As a wife {{and probably even a soldier}} hearing these things make you happy. Having lived the life they understand how hard it can be. She was very understanding about the reasons for buying a house before we arrived in town, something I wrote previously about here. A blog I wrote before we knew we never had an inspection. Anyways, as a military spouse I can't imagine dicking over another of my kind just to make a buck and because I can't imagine it and wouldn't do it, it never crossed my mind that it would be done to us.

So about the time that I'm trying to hold back my cookies, I came to the realization that this person talking to me is only after her commission. A whole commission she didn't necessarily need as my friend found our buyer. The buyer who WE sent to our realtor for help. At this point she had been at our house a total of three times. Once to tell us what needed to be done to list the house, once to take pictures for the listing, and now, the third time, sitting across from me telling me she was certain we told her we didn't need an inspection. On this particular day we signed our repairs list and were given a close date a month or so away. Joy. So close to escaping.

This is where things get more wonky. Our ORIGINAL close date was Monday May 23rd. The Friday before, we had heard nothing from anyone about closing, I called and asked our realtor if there was going to be a delay. You may remember the whole transportation fiasco and there was in fact a one week delay which allowed us to get our crap moved out of the house before we closed. It was frustrating, but only because I'm the one that had to call and get answers. In a situation when they should have been given to me. After that week passed, we were postponed for yet another week. And by postponed I mean, as with the previous week, we had no news until close to 5pm the business day before we were supposed to close, and yet again, I had to call for answers.

By now I'm irritated and frustrated and annoyed. The realtor is taking no responsibility for the situation. "It's the underwriters." Fine. It was the under writers. They kept asking for more and more things from the buyer. However, It's very hard to be understanding when there is no communication regarding the situation. On top of the lack of communication, by this point there was still no re-inspection. Hey people, you can't close on a house if there are things that had to be repaired in an inspection, without a re-inspection. At the news of the next {{yes, that makes three}} delay, my husband called and chewed our realtor a new one. A phone called that turned our communication from poor to non existent. Suddenly, the only way that I would get updates or answers to my questions was through text message. So {{sooooo}} Professional.

At this point in the closing process, Bug and I are in AZ. Having real issues with the next {{that's four}} delay {{probably because she was ready to be done with us}} She pulled the loan from the bank it was at and took it to her sister {{or some family member, I'm not sure we found that out later}} at a different brokerage firm. Then, because she couldn't explain this through text, she called to let me know what was going on. She said the Assistant Manager of the firm {{her relative}} was personally guaranteeing the loan would close by June 13th and, oh by the way, it will cost you a little more to close but then it will be done. Fine. Whatever. Can we just be done with it already?

Much more optimistic about this closing date, Bug and I return from our vacation to AZ, just in time to clean what was left of the house and have the buyer move in. The poor buyer. She was jerked around just as much as we were. And as we got close to the 13th, we were told the closing date will definitely be June 14th. Our appointment was even made for our meeting with the title company. Yay! Now we were getting somewhere. Then, on June 14th a couple of hours before closing, because we hadn't already dealt with enough, our realtor called to tell us we wouldn't be receiving as much as originally estimated.

Actually, she called me and said we'd only be getting X-amount of dollars. A small amount of money in comparison with what we were estimated. A fraction. After confirming the amount she said was "All we would get from the entire sale of our house." I hung up on her telling her I'd have to call her back.I was 18 weeks pregnant {{and standing in Sears}} and already WAY over the situation as it was and at this point all I could do was cry. Confused, J called her back to get real answers. Ones I may have got if I were in the right mind about the whole thing, but I wasn't, so I didn't ask questions, I just cried. She gave him a different amount. It was much more than the amount she gave me, but still much less than the amount estimated. It was two hours before closing. We could wait and try to solve the problem, which would delay closing further, or go ahead with closing and get whatever amount we got and be happy that we didn't have to take money to closing. She couldn't tell us where the money went. Couldn't explain what the difference was, or why the estimate was so high and the return amount was so low. She only kept saying it was "JUST an estimate." Honestly, I'm still not sure she didn't just pocket four grand some how. She blamed the poor estimate on US and the fact that we gave the buyer such a large amount for closing costs and amount she would never had needed had we not been sent to the realtor's sister {{or who the fuck ever was the broker}}. She only admitted to "dropping the ball a few times during the whole process."

Tired, angry and just over the whole ordeal, house, town, we went to closing two hours later. We decided it was more important to be done with it than whatever she managed to thieve from us and at least we could leave that place that weekend and know we'd never have to go back. I was actually sick to my stomach up until we got to the title company. God smiled down on me and Bug had fallen asleep as soon as we pulled up. So darn, I had to sit in the car rather than to face the realtor during the closing. She did walk out to wish us good luck and thank us for using her. Or maybe it was for her using us {{after all she made more than twice what we did}}. I can't remember. Either way almost four weeks late to the day, we FINALLY closed on our house.

There is a some what happy ending to this story, though. Other than the fact that we got out of there alive, house-less and still happily married; One of the amazing things that happened to us while we were there was that Chief of Police and his wife allowed us to be part of their family. Amazing people I cannot begin to describe without becoming overly emotional. Any who, The chief did not appreciate the way our deal was handled. Nor did he appreciate hearing the stories from another military family I met, who had an even worse story than ours. It just so happened, that right before we left he had a meeting with the new Garrison Commander to go over black-listed areas and bad neighborhoods and the like. The Garrison Commander listened very attentively to our stories as told by El Heffe and then he passed our realtor's name off to the person in charge of off-post housing for all military personnel...

Karma will surely catch up with her some day.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's Official...

We found a house and we named our baby.

We looked at many, many houses. Probably too many. After seeing what we could get new in our price range, looking at used houses {{and the fiasco of the last one}} just made them seem dingy and too much work. New it is. For whatever reason the amount of building that is happening in this part of the world has not slowed down at all and we had many to choose from. The one we chose had some particular incentives that made it hard to turn down and ultimately they helped us make our house buying decision. J likened the whole process to buying a new car. You go to a dealer tell them what you want, they walk you around a hot parking lot all day looking at the different models, and then when you find one you may be interested in, they sweeten the deal with incentives to get you to buy one way or the other. And just like with buying a car, they worked. Here is the new Casa.

Perfectly located 20 minutes north of post, this little beauty is going to give us 2400 square feet of living space that does not include an awesome screened-in porch with an attached deck. The kitchen has gorgeous cabinets {{lots & lots of cabinets!}} with dark granite counter tops and a cute little space at the island for some stools. There is a ton of closet and storage space {{good for any girl trying to run a business our of her house}} which I'm not even sure we can fill at this point in time. There's one closet off the kitchen I didn't think we would even use, but I'm thinking it is going to be a great place to put a wine rack - a BIG one{{I'll be storing up for the impending birth and inevitable deployment that will leave me with 2 two years apart}}. J got his man-room. A nice large bonus area that will be a nice place for video games. Also, one of the best parts for me, is there is an office space off of the bonus room that can be shut off by these great french doors. That way when I'm doing businessy things it can be quiet & private {{ha! I'll let you know how that works out}} and when people come over I can hide my {{messy}}desk by shutting the doors. It's a wonderful thing folks.

Speaking of the impending birth of our second child, we finally picked a name. {{yay!}} I feel like a better parent, as why should you have children if you can't even name them? Having thought I'd never be the parent to anything but one of each {{I mean, I put my order in folks}}, I just assumed we wouldn't have to pick another girls name. Jokes on me. IT'S A GIRL. Some day I will write about all this so it makes sense, but for now, just know we are very happy to have another princess in the house. Any who, Bug's name was really the ONLY girl name we liked when we had her. Actually, we liked the name Maille. Which is the traditional Scottish version of Miley. And after 10 people asked us with straight faces if we were honestly naming our kid after that annoying one on the T.V., we decided to go a different route. Now Bug is named after her Grandma. A much better and more suitable name for her. It fits her. So we find out Baby 2.0 is a girl and that starts a whole mess of name searching, database reading, website checking. You know, the norm for naming your off-spring. I wanted her to have a family name since her sister does but quite a few of our family names are very antiquated {{I'm not naming 2.0 Wilma, Ethel, or anything else of the sort and that's just that}}. I did like one family name from J's side but much of the family was unanimous that she wasn't a person to be named after. Unfortunately, the databases, websites and search engines didn't help us out either. We found one name {{ONE NAME}} in three different websites we both thought was OK. You can't name a child a name you feel is *just* ok. Every name I liked, he hated or rhymed with something awful and in turn I would do it to his favorites. We are a loving couple.

I kept going back to the one family name. I really loved the name. {{And don't tell my husband but I've been calling her it since we found out she was a girl.}} After weeks of, "How about _____ {{fill in the blank with any weird name you may see or hear on the radio or while driving}}" I finally wore him down and got my way. Baby 2.0 will be named Lyla Renelle. A name I love and a middle name that was J's grandma's. Unfortunately for her, we are the nick-namey kind of parents and 2.0 will probably stick with her the rest of her life...

At least it will here, anyway.