We Have A House!

Home Sweet Home - image of a house
Home Sweet Home

We took a big step towards settling down in Virginia.  Wednesday morning, Feb 28, 2007, we closed on the purchase of a house here in Dale City.

For me, the closing was a typical event of crossed signals, missed connections and general confusion.  For our realtor and the other professionals it was an embarrassment of chaos.  So I’d have to guess they’re just not used to doing business the “Charest way.”

We already had a twelve day delay in the closing due to problems on the seller’s side.  We were originally scheduled to close on February 16, but three days before closing the title company requested the later date.  The house we bought was a foreclosure property, and we were told there were some issues with obtaining clear title.  It wasn’t our problem other than it meant a delay in getting out of our apartment, so we let it ride and rescheduled.  Meanwhile, Winnie had already packed up half the stuff in our apartment, ready to move out.

So for the past two weeks we’ve been walking around our apartment with boxes piled up in our living room, just waiting.

Wednesday morning was the big day.  We scheduled the closing for 9:30 AM and Winnie and I both took the day off.  Our realtor had confirmed the time with the title company two days prior, no problem.  Our finance officer made sure all the loan docs were ready, and made sure I knew what some docs I still needed to provide.  Winnie, as a newly designated Legal American Resident, was ready to sign her name to the deed.

We arrived at our realtor’s office, location for the closing, 15 minutes early.  The first thing we were told was our agent, Candida, was chasing down a UPS truck to get our closing package. We made ourselves comfortable and enjoyed a cup of coffee.

Next, our finance officer, George, found us and asked about some docs I needed to provide.  I proudly pulled out the package I prepared the night before only to discover the docs needed were not in the package.  As Candida was still out chasing a truck I had the time to run back to the apartment and find the correct papers.

Twenty minutes later I was back with what George really needed.  Candida had returned while I was gone.  It seemed the title company had sent the package via overnight UPS instead of just letting their agent hand carry it.  No problem except they hadn’t told Candida, and the UPS truck arrived to make the delivery before her office opened.  The notice card UPS thoughtfully left hanging on the door was the first thing Candida saw when she arrived.  She chased down and caught-up with the UPS truck about ten miles away.

So now we had all the papers and were waiting for the title agent. Candida called the title company and discovered the agent was scheduled to arrive at 4:30 PM.  Apparently, to the title company, confirming that an agent would be available for a 9:30AM closing didn’t actually mean they would in fact have an agent present at that time.  Candida was pissed.

She immediately called a friend; a title agent working nearby, and got her friend to come over with the stipulation the original title agency would pay her triple her normal fee.  By 11:00, we had everyone present with the two-inch thick stack of docs ready to sign.

By 12:00, we were done and once more in debt to a bank.  Candida presented us with a small housewarming gift, and we had a round of congratulatory handshakes from everyone.  The key to our new house was still in the lockbox hanging on the door, so Candida agreed to follow us over and get it for us.  We headed out to our new home.

We arrived at our house just as a carpet clearing crew arrived that I had previously scheduled.  Candida pulled up a few moments later, retrieved the key from the realtor’s lockbox and opened the house.

In front of our real estate agent and the carpet cleaning crew I got to carry Winnie across the threshold and kiss her into our new home.

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