Lessons on Buying a House: The Final Countdown to Closing

Paint Strip“Scurrying” and “a tiff” might be how I’d describe some of the goings-on today related to the final steps before closing.

The corrections asked for by the VA-approved appraiser appeared to have been made. My agent had talked to the appraiser and then made arrangements for the contractor (small-time, not big-time) to get everything remedied. All of the items which had appeared in the appraiser’s report that needed attention had been taken care of. I went out myself and checked it all, and everything looked OK. Even the removal of the spacers between the patio and foundation had been pulled out. (This has to be one of the weirdest rules I’ve heard of. Even though this long board was between the concrete of the foundation and the concrete of the patio, because this piece of wood was touching the foundation, which is part of the house, it was considered “conducive for termites”. Now there is an inch-and-a-half gap between the house and the patio that I will have to fill, probably with a spacer board; somebody has recommended redwood.)

Anyway, it seemed as if the house should pass on all the corrections, but when the VA-approved appraiser went back yesterday, did it? Oh, no. There were still a couple of corrections that had to be made, ones he said were obvious in his photos on his report. Obvious to whom, I don’t know.

It almost looks as if there might have been some sabotage involved. Between the time the contractor made the first asked-for repairs, some holes had been made in the siding on the garage very near the repairs. I know that Saturday when I looked at the completed repairs I didn’t notice any holes. Could this have been done by the appraiser when he came back to re-inspect? At $75 a pop for each re-visit to the property for just a couple minutes of inspection, maybe that’s what happened. I’ve heard that in these days of a slower real estate market, appraisers and inspectors aren’t getting so much work.

Therefore, a good deal of scurrying took place. My real estate agent went out to confer with the contractor. The contractor did some corrective repairs. My agent informed the finance company that the repairs had been made. Apparently, the finance company got the appraiser back out for the re-re-inspection (yep, that’s my new word).  All of this happened with in the expanse of a few hours.

I guess everything passed the re-re-inspection because within minutes of my asking the finance officer if the closing was still on for Friday and her telling me “yes”, my agent called me and asked if I could do the closing on Thursday afternoon instead of Friday.

There was scurrying and “a tiff” between the finance officer and my agent, both maybe anxious to get everything finished. It’s a little bit funny because when you get to this point in the buying process, most everything has been set in motion, and, unless for some reason you just decide that you don’t want to buy the house, there is not really much that the buyer has to do. You might have to provide a bit more information here and there, like your very last pay statement or an address that you didn’t know when you were filling out forms. Otherwise, all these other people are “scurrying” to get all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed.

The finance people, your agent, the seller’s agent, the title company people, the contractor–all of them are hurrying to get the whole purchase process completed.

In these last few days, I’ve felt a bit like I was watching a strange tennis match played among all these people, because now I know that in addition to the few phone calls and emails that I was party to, there were many others between these other “players” in this sale.

Why? Because when this whole deal is finished, they are all going to get a piece of the pie. And if for some reason, it all doesn’t go down, that pie is not going to get cut!

And what have I been doing? Actually, I’ve been doing a lot. Making arrangements to transfer utilities, finding someone to change the locks, checking out lawnmowers.

And to accomplish one of the first tasks that I want to complete in my new house–checking out paint strips.

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