The Great Move: Escrow Hell…

You’re probably reading this and wondering; Christina, does it ever get better?

Honestly? Not until we got settled in to our new apartment. Everything up until then was just chaos and stress.

The Wednesday after John returned from Washington our Realtor told us that the new buyers wanted to do an inspection of the house. We tried to schedule it for that Friday, but apparently Saturday was a better option instead.

Our realtor also surprised us by explaining that Escrow would be closing on the 28th which meant we would have to be out by the 31st. Which messed up some of our plans a bit.

We thought we would have until at least the second of April to move out, and that we would be able to spend one more Easter with the rest of family. Thankfully we were able to arrange get togethers with both sides the weekend before – so at least that was easy to fix.

Also, we had planned on flying a friend down from Washington to drive up with us. She was in the middle of classes to be a caretaker for her brother, and her last class was the 31st. So in order to get her back on time, we would need to either fly her down on the 28th and leave the day escrow closed, or fly her down on the 31st and pick her up from the airport as we started our long drive up North.

After a brief discussion we decided that the former would be better – which caused a bit of pearl clutching from our realtor. She warned us that our check from selling the house might not be available until the 29th. John and I explained that that was fine, the escrow company could mail the check. She suggested we do a wire transfer instead. We shot that idea down because it would cost more. She then recommended closing escrow on the 25th instead, that way our check would be ready by Tuesday at the latest. John and I shrugged and were like sure. Since the 28th was the day we were planning on leaving, why not make it the official ‘you must be out’ day.

So our realtor had us sign some paperwork to change the closing date, and we settled back and thought the rest of escrow would be smooth sailing.

Monday, the 12th of March, brought two horrid surprises to our doorstep.

As a part of the escrow process, we had to do a termite inspection on the house even though we were selling it as is. So we called a local termite company to come out and take a look. We knew there was termite damage in one corner of the porch. The inspection revealed that things were actually much worse than that – there was actually termites in the wood around the heater. And in order to treat it, they would need to tent the whole house… which would cost a pretty penny.

Now, because we were selling as is, and the buyers were paying with cash – we didn’t need to treat the termites. It was up to them as the new owners to treat the problem. However I knew that, if they decided to, they could back out of the sale at this point.

Our realtor insisted that this wouldn’t happen. That the sale would go through. She suggested we call the termite company she liked to work with instead. They would be cheaper she insisted.

Reader, they were not cheaper. In fact, what they quoted us for treating the termites was THREE TIMES MORE.

In addition to the whole termite mess, the buyers had gotten their copy of the inspection report back and put in a request that we make repairs to the house. While we could do some things ourselves, others were out of our expertise and would have cost way more than we could afford to fix. Plus, even if we could afford to fix everything, it could take a couple of months to line up contractors to fix the more involved problems. There was no way it could be done before escrow closed.

John and I were furious. Had these people forgotten we were selling the house AS IS?

John wanted to say no to the request for repairs. I was nervous that they might walk away if we did. Who knew how long it might be before we got another offer? We couldn’t afford to wait another nine to ten months. We agreed to do the repairs we could do ourselves and give a small credit for the things we couldn’t fix.

We sat on pins and needles while we waited for the response – only to find out two days later that our realtor had never sent it. Apparently she was waiting for the official termite reports to come in so she could send everything all together.

While her reasoning made sense, the end of escrow was looming on the horizon. We had a week and a half until the close. Two weeks until our ‘you need to vacate the property so the new owners can move in’ date. We had just booked a Zippy shell pod to move our stuff in (it was cheaper than a Uhaul) and we needed to buy a ticket for our friend to fly down. Plus John needed to put in some kind of notice.

So I snapped and told her to send the response to the request for repairs. When the termite report showed up the next day we forwarded that along as well.

Cue us sitting on more pins and needles while we waited for the next response from the buyers. And lots of praying. And lots of fasting. And lots of worrying that this would all be for naught. Our realtor continued to insist that the buyers really wanted the house, and they were not going to back out.

Sunday evening, the eighteenth, we got our response. They wanted us to give them a $700 credit on repairs and split the cost of tenting the house. We agreed to the later, but stuck to our guns on the former.

Monday rolled around. Technically the deadline for the buyers to wash their hands if everything had passed, but I still worried that they would change their mind. Meanwhile John was upset because he wanted to give his company a proper two week notice, but at this point the most he would be able to do was a week. While his job had given him a lot of stress over the past year, his current boss was someone he really liked, so he wanted to handle things properly. Plus he had a pretty small joke he wanted to play on the plant manager.

Tuesday night we got the news we were waiting for – the buyers had agreed to our response, and we were set to close on time.

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