‘Escrow’ must be French for ‘drama’

It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve posted to the blog. Not because there’s been nothing going on but because there has been a lot of drama and we didn’t want to post anything publicly that might come back to bite us. What’s below brings you current to a week ago:

First, there are issues with the appraisal of the California house. The initial appraisal is lower than 30 of our 34 offers. This means that the buyer has to bring more cash to the table to supplement the mortgage loan, which makes the buyer nervous about the deal. We had made it a condition that the buyer wouldn’t negotiate the sale price down if the appraisal was less. Since the appraisal seemed rushed and unrealistic to us, our Realtor approaches the buyer about changing lenders in order to get a new appraisal. The second appraiser spends much more time researching and delivers an appraisal that is in line with what everyone expects. So the deal is on.

Just as we relax, Schwarzenegger announces the new $10K state housing credit that goes into effect on May 1st. The buyer starts talking about pushing out close of escrow until after May 1st and making that a condition of the sale. We say that we can’t do that because of our mortgage rate lock and escrow here. She then offers to pay to extend the mortgage rate lock and pushes for us to delay. When we detail additional expenses involved in delaying (rental housing, furniture storage, mortgage costs, utilities, etc.) the seller decides that a delay doesn’t sound so attractive after all and one more problem is averted.

Meanwhile, in Tucson, I have my Realtor contact the sellers of Palo Verde Vista to ask that they allow me one day during escrow to bring in a few contractors to see the house. The idea is to get estimates so that work could start right after close of escrow, allowing us to finish and move in sooner. It takes four calls by our Realtor to get a response and the response is ‘no’, don’t bother us until escrow. Their Realtor phones ours to say that the sellers are freaking out and feeling overwhelmed. They are an older couple with a house stuffed with things to move. So I withdraw my request, and we offer to give them a few extra days to close escrow. We even offer to spend one day helping them pack and load/unload stuff. So surely that will buy us some goodwill.

But when we submit a few items from the inspection report (not nearly everything in the report), they miss their deadline to respond within 5 days with no apologies or concern. So no warm fuzzies or cooperation from the current owners. We hear that it is the wife that is hostile about moving. So we decide it was time to at least consider alternatives. The problem is that NO new houses fitting our already-broadened criteria have been listed in the three weeks since we made the offer. So, what to do. Ah, the adventure!

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