Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Making Hay Instead of Making Loans

I know you’re sick of it, but this is what’s happening:

We have a new date for the closing. At least I think we do. It’s November 30. That’s a week away. Since past experience has shown me that Slow Bob’s bank says they are going to close but then they don’t, I thought I better double-check. And since Ellen, the loan officer at Bob’s bank doesn’t return my phone calls, even though it’s in our contract that his bank should keep me informed and apprised just as if I were a real estate agent brokering the deal, I decided to shoot her an e-mail. I thought why get aggravated when I get her voice mail and she doesn’t call me back? So I e-mailed. I said I just wanted to confirm that the closing is set for Wednesday. She said, “As far as I know it’s scheduled.”

As far as I know?!

Tell me I’m not asking for anything crazy! Tell me I’m not expecting too much! Is it too much to expect the loan officer to know whether it’s on or not? Is it too much to expect her to get up off her ass and find out?! Is it too much to expect the buyer to actually abide by the contract, a contract the loan officer helped him write?!

Not that it’s Bob’s fault. That I know of. Forget Slow Bob. It’s Slow Banks in Virginia. I’ve realized it’s a Virginia bank thing. Because of all the transactions I’ve had buying and selling houses, buying and selling the Keansburg house, buying and selling the Jackson house, Oklahoma, Ferrum, and now this, ten transactions in all, the only time there was a problem with a house closing on time was when a Virginia bank was involved in a mortgage. Ten closings, two involving Virginia mortgages. Eight on time. The two involving Virginia mortgages not.

The last time this happened, bad, but not quite as bad as now, was when we were getting a mortgage to buy the Ferrum house. We had just traveled two days from Oklahoma and pulled up in front of the Ferrum house towing a trailer with dogs, cats, a fish, a kid, the computers, all our valuables and jewelry, with the moving trucks a half day behind us, and were told, standing on the curb thinking we had made it and the worst was over, exhausted, dirty, dehydrated, that the Virginia bank wasn’t ready to close. Two days earlier when we left our old house, the house we could have stayed in longer if we’d known we had no where to live, there was no problem. But now, suddenly, for some reason no one ever explained, they couldn’t do it. Couldn’t close. Sorry. No go. You’ll have to find a motel. I’m sure you can find a motel on such short notice that will allow all those animals. Oh, all the stuff that’s coming tomorrow morning on the moving trucks? Storage. Yeah that’s right. Storage. That’s what they have that for!

Luckily it didn’t come to that and I can actually say one nice thing about the Evils. Since they’d already moved out, they allowed us to move in before the closing. It took the bank two weeks, two weeks until they were finally able to close, and the Evils made our lives a living hell for the favor, but that’s another story. At least we weren’t homeless. The point is, the Virginia bank caused this. For no reason.

And so experience tells me not to count on the bank. Perhaps they get delayed because the loan officer has to make hay—that actually happened with Kip, Buyer Number Two—the loan officer’s voice mail said that’s where he was when no one could reach him all week to find out if Kip was getting the loan. “I’m out making hay. Please leave me a message.” I kid you not. Now it’s hunting season and everyone’s obsessed about that around here—Kurt’s helper didn’t come to work again today because he’s out hunting and the company we sub for said it’s slow, they don’t have any work, it’s hunting season—so maybe that’s the hold-up.

Whatever the reason, we feel like little kids waiting for Christmas. Waiting, waiting, waiting. And then it gets canceled. But they reschedule it! Then we get our hopes up again. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Gotcha! Canceled. But rescheduled. Ah, why don’t they just give us our coal and get it over with?