March 09, 2005
Well, we've come a long way since we decided to buy a house made-to-order from a production builder. The photo you see here shows our minivan (yes, tres suburban) in front of a plot of land where we decided to have our new home built. It took quite a bit of imagination to get from there to where we are now.
Here's how the 54-day construction cycle came to an end.
I received a phone call yesterday from the escrow company. It turns out that the lender had a few more papers they wanted us to sign, and they had to be signed by noon today or we wouldn't be funded in time to "close" today. So I told them that we'll be there by 10am, and then I phoned Paulette to see if she could make it by 10am.
In the meantime, all of this running around has cut into my work time, and both my employer and I (let alone the bank that wants to lend me money) would like me to remain employed. So I went into work early this morning just so that I could get *something* done.
I meet Paulette and Alexander at the escrow company's offices, where we sit with our closing person and are presented with the forms that remain to be filled out.
The first form we need to attend to is to initial a change to when the deal would expire if we didn't complete the deal today. Essentially, there's a form that notifies all parties that if we don't close the deal on time (ie, by today), then the offer to lend us all this money expires on a certain day. The escrow folks filled in March 11th for the day, but the bank wanted them to put in March 10th. In other words, if we didn't close the deal on time (today), the ability to close would expire tomorrow.
So we had to go in and acknowledge the change in that date, or they wouldn't let us close today.
THE IRONY OF THE WHOLE THING was that if we didn't initial the form by noon today acknowledging what would happen if we didn't close today, we wouldn't have closed today. Whereas, if they hadn't required us to come in and initial the form that told us what would happen if we didn't close to day, we could have closed today without signing it.
They made us come in to initial a form that would only be relevant if we didn't initial it.
Is your head spinning yet?
Okay, there were other forms, too (all very minor), but that one just cracked me up.
On our way out the door, someone shouted, "Wait! We need one more thing!" Good thing they caught us before we'd left, because we might not have been able to return to home (Paulette) and work (me) and then gotten the message and then gotten back to their office in time to make this other teeny tiny change.
But, as you might guess, they did not require us to come back yet again, and all we had to do then was wait until it was time to go back and check out the house. We arrived at our house for the final walkthrough with the site super, checked off everything from the list (one repair that hadn't been made yet, the fellow made right on the spot. Pretty cool.) and then we were done.
Well, except for getting the keys. The builder won't give you the keys until they know they have the money. So I called escrow and asked if everything was squared away. They said they'd call me in just a minute, but they were pretty sure we were good to go.
Then I get a call from our friendly builder's representative, who said that the money had gone through, and she'd meet us at the house to give us our keys.
She had already phoned our mortgage broker and our real estate agent. Which means, essentially, that when we officially became home owners, we were the last to know.
After she kindly delivered the keys and we loaded some stuff into the house that I'd had sitting in the van, we locked up. We tried all of the keys in the locks, and they all worked. In our mailbox, the mail carrier had left a form saying that the post office wouldn't deliver any mail for us until we told them whose mail to deliver. Accompanying this form was junk mail from the cable company.
We locked up and got ready to leave. I got a phone call from the escrow company. "You can go pick up your keys now."
All throughout this process, even with the last-minute back-and-forth, the one thing I kept in mind was something a friend had noted:
Everybody involved in the process wants this deal to happen. The real estate agent. The mortgage broker. The lender. The builder. The escrow company. Us. Everybody.
When you know that everybody wants the deal to happen, it's easier to find a way to make / let it happen as little challenges pop up. And we did, and they did, and now we own our new house.
You might think that's the end of the story. But, no.
Now itís time to move into it.