Friday, April 18, 2008

House on the Borderland (Part Three)

One of the terms the Relocation Dicks set in our contract on the house was that all home inspections had to be concluded by March 20, two weeks from our contract date. Unfortunately, while some of the inspections were easy enough to get done, others, such as the septic and well inspections that had to be done by the Borderland Health Department, took a bit more time.

For days the Borderland Health Dept. told our real estate agent that they were coming "tomorrow" then would fail to show up. Why were they stalling like this? Well, I don't know for sure, but it might have something to do with the fact that all of this stuff had been inspected almost exactly one year beforehand and was therefore still "under warranty" except by the time the Health Dept. finally showed up, mere three days before the deadline set by the Dicks, the previous inspections had expired by six days. And once they did arrive, they announced that they weren't going to even attempt to inspect the well or the septic system because the owners had moved out of the house five days previously and health dept. regulations stated that someone had to have been in residence for 30 days prior to the inspections. So in essence, the inspections that we had to have in order to buy the house could not occur by the Dicks' deadline, or conceivably AT ALL, because the previous owners had moved out.

Adding insult to injury, the Health Dept. announced that they also weren't going to pass the well-system until a concrete well-cap was constructed around the existing well pipe. (For those of you in cities who've never heard of such, this is basically a big metal or plastic pipe, sealed, that sticks up out of the ground and leads to the well reservoir below. The concrete well-cap must be in place and built conically to cause rain water to flow away from the pipe and not collect around it, possibly contaminating the water supply.)

Now keep in mind this is a 20 year old house that has been sold more than once during its existence--most likely a year and six days previous to that point--so why were we getting busted on it now?

To us, this matter smacked of the sort of thing that the owners should really have to take care of. After all, it was their house that had to pass inspection before it could be sold and their fault we couldn't get it inspected cause they'd thoughtlessly moved out of it. Our agent warned us, though, that he'd already spoken to the Relocation Dicks and they'd outright refused to have anything to do with any of it, as per their status as dicks. He suggested we drive over to Borderland and construct the new well-cap ourselves.

Leaving aside my entire lack of skill at this sort of thing, we thought it was a bit out of line for people who don't own a piece of property to be asked to construct ANYTHING on it, let alone something that is going to have to pass some sort of rigid governmental standard. We asked a number of people what they thought, including one of Mrs. A's local government contacts and our own local health-dept. Everyone advised us that we had no business building ANYTHING on property we didn't own. So we phoned our agent back and explained to him that because we could not legally fix this issue ourselves it had to fall to the people who legally could, i.e. the relocation dicks or the original owners. If they wanted the house sold at all, they were going to have to make a move. We'd set our foot and spoke our mind.

We never heard what the dicks' response was to this, because I'm pretty sure our agent didn't approach them about it knowing they were going to be dicks and lose him his commission on the sale. Instead, he had a plumber come out and test both the septic system and well (they passed) then worked out a deal with the health department in which they would go ahead and issue official passes on the well and septic system provided we signed no-fault documents stating that they'd not been officially inspected yet and let them come back and test them for real after we'd been in the house for 30 days. Seemed a fair enough trade to us, so we went for it. The only other outstanding question was whether our bank's lawyer would do the closing or whether the dicks' lawyer would do it. We preferred ours, as we couldn't imagine the dicks' lawyer being any less of one. We told them to fight it out amongst themselves.

We were approved for our mortgage, told we needed to come up with $2500 to cover the closing costs and had to have all of it documented as to its place or origin. The bank was quite insistent about this part. We couldn't, for instance, take credit card advances to pay for it, but had to have documented legitimate sources. So we scrambled to pull all of that together, with help from family, and managed to get it done fairly quickly. Once everything was in place and all the inspections approved or otherwise noted, our banker called to tell us that our closing had been approved and would take place the following week. We just needed to wait for the bank's lawyer (yay!) to phone and let us know the full closing cost amount to have a check for. Only the days went by and no call came. Finally, the day before closing, we phoned the lawyer's office to ask.

Oh, no, they said. You don't have to bring any money. We're giving you a check.

See, part of our offer on the house included $2000 of earnest money to let the owners know we were serious. However, because we don't have any real liquid cash on hand, we financed 100 percent of the house instead of 100 percent minus the $2000. So the earnest money was extra that went toward covering the closing costs. The costs weren't as bad as all that, so we got the difference back.

And since I won't have a job in a couple of months and since potentially neither of us will have one in July, that will be money we'll probably have to either live on or pay house payments with until the wife's job kicks in come August.


crsunlimited said...

I feel your pain. When we closed on our house we had everything taken care of or so we thought. The day of closing while I was signing papers in the Title office the lady was about to hand me all the papers, then said "and do you have the $200" It was for alleged propane that was in the tank of the house we where buying. Now I realized that it was a basically a false fee because any propane company in this are is paid for their propane by the person who had it delivered, and not by who owns/or will own the house. I paid it though otherwise it would have been another couple of weeks with the title company supposedly haggling with the propane company to take their gas and then get the title paperwork redone. Which also would have resulted in some more fees.

Anonymous said...

Oh, crap i'm going through the same sort of thing! First the seller's jerks said we were closing on the 30th, and now the lender told me it's on the 25th! And we
can't use credit-loan for our source of the down payment, so now we have to scramble and get money from my father-in-law...sheesh!

An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.