The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

And it all went down at the Shamu show…

Whew. We are just back from an eight day vacation in sunny San Diego. I will post about some details of our trip and the fun we had later in the week, but for now, I just wanted to give you and update on my Tempe clients and the house they are selling plus the house they are buying.

Just to recap, the house my Tempe clients are selling was originally supposed to close on July 15. It is being purchased by a college student, who plans to rent rooms out to his friends. Initially, his step-father was going to buy it with him and have his name on the title as well. This was actually planned to close on the 15th, at least partially because it was before I was to leave on our vacation and before my clients’ planned vacation as well. Unfortunately, the buyers made several changes to their financing plans, including removing the step-father from the title, which pushed the perspective closing date out to the 20th, which landed right in the middle of our vacation. We all took a deep breath and adjusted to the new time table. I packed all of my paperwork and registered for a new fax number that would forward right to my email address.

Wednesday the 20th came and went. I spoke with the other agent, my clients, the title company and the lender and all agreed it would close Thursday, Friday at the latest. I didn’t worry too much. The lender swore to me that the documents were on their way. He was sure there wasn’t a problem. Thursday passed with little activity and more promises.

Friday we woke up early and packed the kids into the car for the requisite trip to Sea World. We were all excited. Jason and I hadn’t been since we were kids and neither of the kids had ever been. We showed up with our hats and sunscreen, stroller and a healthy amount of anticipation. The first thing we did when we arrived at Sea World, was to check the schedule for the Shamu show. Since we had an hour before it started we visited the sting rays. They were my very favorite. They were like big graceful swimming puppies. They seemed to want to be petted. They swam over to where we were standing and poked their heads out of the water to be stroked. I loved them. So did Ben.

After the rays, we headed up to the Shamu show and selected our seats. We decided to stay out of the first 16 rows (or the ‘splash zone’) this time. It was a great show. The killer whales were amazing and the boys adored watching them do their tricks. Even Gray, at only a year old, was totally entranced.

When we filed out of Shamu stadium, I grabbed my cell phone to see if I’d missed any calls. There were two messages and three missed calls, all from my clients. I listened to the messages as we strapped the baby back into his stroller. With every word from my phone, my stomached knotted. It wasn’t good news. The closing was off. My clients had called the title company to confirm their signing and were met with the news that the lender had called (on his way to catch a plane to go on vacation in Alaska) and said the loan was denied in underwriting. There would be no funding.

I was shocked and horrified at the news. Did deals really go south ON THE DAY OF CLOSING? Apparently so. The other agent was just as upset. Needless to say, my clients were a mess. Not only were they not going to sell their house, but the purchase of their new house was in serious jeopardy as well. It was a total nightmare, and it happened, for me, at Sea World.

Fortunately for my family, it was time for Gray to take his afternoon nap, and there were plenty of rides that Ben wanted to go on that could not accommodate his little brother. So I took the baby and walked him around the park in his stroller until he fell asleep while Jason took Ben to the big kid stuff. It gave me time to make the zillions of necessary calls.

My manager recommended attempting to salvage the deals. Honestly, I was calling him for advice on how to cancel the deals and get the most earnest money back we could. However, his suggestion set my wheels turning. After speaking with everyone involved at least three times, it became clear that there might be a way out of this mess without starting over. Because when it came down to it, we had two sellers who wanted to sell, and two buyers who wanted to buy. So if we could just work out the time line, everything would be OK.

The buyers for my clients’ house began working on finding new funding and we started in negotiations with our sellers to see if they would be willing to extend our deal. As of today, three days later, it looks like the buyers have been locked into their new funding and their lender has promised me that the underwriting problems of the previous loan will not rear their ugly head, and the sellers of the house we want to buy have promised that they will sign an addendum to extend our closing date. It’s a miracle that everything has survived.

Here I am, yet again with the lesson learned. This time, it’s “Never depend on anything until the sale has been recorded.” Boy oh BOY do I hope it’s the last lesson on this deal. I’m all for learning, but my lord, my poor clients don’t need any more classes in the fickle nature of real estate!!

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