Friday, August 09, 2013

A House Is Not a Home

Quick rundown of the house situation that has caused me so much stress over the last four months.

  • Early spring: My landlord Irish Pete calls me up and asks if I have any interest in buying the house.  I reply in the affirmative.
  • Months pass in which no action of any kind is taken.
  • Late spring: I start seeing a lot of circulars from lawyers in the mail, addressed to Irish Pete.  After a few days, when one comes labelled as "or current occupant," I open it.  It is, like all the others, an advertisement for legal services because the house is scheduled to be foreclosed at the end of the month.  According to one flyer, he owes 157 large.
  • I call Irish Pete.  He admits he is in arrears and about to foreclose.  He was keeping this under wraps for some unknown reason.
  • I hire a real estate agent.
  • Irish Pete employs an agent who specializes in short sales and comes off as the sleaziest of used car salesmen.  This car salesman gets the foreclosure date postponed.
  • I start filling in paperwork to get pre-approved for a loan.
  • The bank Irish Pete owes to sends some appraisers around.  Irish Pete and the car salesman tell me to try to persuade the appraisers that the house is in far worse shape than it is (to claim the roof leaks, to pull the fuse to the AC and claim it's broken, etc), as well as a few other lies about Irish Pete's residency and so forth.  It's not clear what their motive is, unless their paramount goal is to avoid foreclosure and a sale to me at any cost.  In any case, the appraisers refuse to listen to anything I have to say about the house.
  • The foreclosure is postponed another month.
  • I start looking for other houses and have my agent put in a bid for 138.
  • More time passes with nothing happening.
  • Pete's bank finally replies that the offer is unacceptable and their offer is 190.  This seems to be outrageous to me.  I counter with 160.
  • This is rejected. The bank claims its final offer is 180.  I reluctantly agree; it's not more than the property is worth, perhaps, but it's more than I expected to pay at a short sale.  However, I also reason that me staying in one spot and not going through the stress of moving is worth a couple of thousand dollars to me.
  • The foreclosure is postponed another month.
  • A house inspector comes at my expense.  His report is filled with grim news, as mentioned earlier (carpenter ants, faulty heater, bad wiring, water damage).  I have five days after the inspector's report to decide whether I want to opt out.  I have my agent submit the most egregious faults to the bank and ask for them to cover it.
  • The weekend goes by.  Irish Pete replies through his agent that he is "waiting on a signature."
  • The car salesman replies finally that the bank insists the house is sold "as is" and no repairs will be covered at all.
  • I am not legally obligated to buy the house at 180.  There are ways to weasel out but they're not easy or exactly ethical.
  • I stop paying rent to Irish Pete on the grounds that he is not acting as a landlord any more but a seller (he is no longer fulfilling his agreement to provide upkeep for the house).
And there you have it.  My Summer of Dithering and Stressing Out and Not Being Able to Go On Vacation.

1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

Hmm, I thought you lived in a Large City where the price of a house would not start with a "1". My first house was in a Very Small City and cost $59,000, charming rose trellis and all. Good times.