Thursday, August 27, 2015

Not Settling Today

So today was supposed to be our settlement on the farmhouse. Our first time sitting on the seller's side of the table. Our first time receiving a check at settlement instead of paying through the nose. But it's not happening today.

We tried to move it up to yesterday even, so that we can move on with our refinancing of our new house as well as some other things. But nope. It was going to be today. But it's not happening today.

Typically when you accept an offer, the buyer has 30-45 days to pull their lending together. These buyers have had 52 and counting. They are getting VA financing. And they are apparently on round 4 of the VA asking for "more information," where each round takes about 7 days. So settlement has been delayed and it's not happening today.

They thought it might happen tomorrow, but that's not happening either. Then they said to keep the next 7 days open. "Hopefully." We have no idea what's going on and we're so frustrated.

Every day it sits there, it's costing us money. We've financially and mentally prepared to settle this week and the delay to some unknown time is stressing us out so much, we both have physical manifestations from stress.

Our realtor tells us we should be happy (because at least the deal isn't off), not frustrated. Easy for her to say. She gets the same commission either way. Meanwhile our cost keeps going up and up. We're already selling at a loss PLUS giving them closing costs help. And now it's delayed and costing us more. We asked if we can ask for compensation for every day of delay, especially considering the fact that they've had 52 days to do this in the first place. But she said that will only delay things further.

And today, we drove by, as we do, to make sure everything looks good. Well, someone put graffiti on the barn. Again. AGAIN. We've already painted over it once. And now there's a big, black cross spray painted on it. If we'd settled yesterday, this would no longer be our problem. But no, we didn't settle yesterday or today, nor are we settling tomorrow.

We don't know when we're settling, so everything feels like it's in limbo. Everything is up in the air. We don't know how to commit to anything right now. We were supposed to settle and then go up to New England to take the kids to a Portuguese festival. We'd be there right now. But because of all this limbo and waiting, we're stuck. Lost days at work (and remember, no paid vacation for contract work), no chance to get out of town (due to the possibility of settling tomorrow that we just found out isn't happening), and limbo with everything else.

Our realtor (I could write a post about her alone - oh, the aggravation of dealing with people with poor communication skills!) told us to "keep the next 7 days free." Yeah, because that's how life works. We have WORK. We have schedules. We have our own business. We can't just leave our schedule wide open for a full week waiting on the who-knows-when date that they'll be ready to settle.

In the meantime, we hope the feds don't raise rates. Because that would really suck. We've spent the past few weeks visiting banks and talking to lenders to figure out the best way to refinance our new house once we settle on the farmhouse (whenever that is). We're trying to do it before September, but that's not happening now.

I know these are first world problems and we have A TON to be grateful for, there's no question. Clean water. Good health. Beautiful home. Safe neighborhood. Freedoms. That being said, I was thinking yesterday how utterly unfair things have gotten. Our parents generation were able to graduate college and get into a home in their 20s. You didn't need graduate work. You didn't have tens of thousands in student loans. And you could work and qualify and show responsibility and get into a home without jumping through umpteen hoops to prove yourself. You could start your life together!

My parents were debt free (no student loans, no mortgage, no car payments) and living in a paid off home by 40. We were 30 when we bought our first home and even then we entered that mortgage with the additional mortgage of student loans. We've paid off 42% of that debt, so we're almost halfway there. We thought we'd pay them off before our kids start college, but that's clearly not happening, so pretty soon we'll be helping them with college costs while continuing to pay our own.

It wasn't like this a generation ago. We're past the age my parents were when they were debt free and we're nowhere close, and more debt is coming. I can't even imagine being debt free. Given where we are in our 40s, and with our children starting college soon . . . who can do it (besides the 1%)? We don't want our children to deal with these kinds of stressful burdens. We've spent most of our marriage stressed by this sort of thing. We want to be able to help them. And then there's retirement to think about! Gah.

And we're not extravagant in our lifestyle. We have a beautiful home, that's true. We're able to afford it because we live in a place where the cost of living is low. We don't go on big vacations or drive fancy cars. We do stuff on the cheap, go to the beach off season, and drive 17-year-old cars that sputter blue smoke and don't always start. And I am so NOT a spender. I hate shopping and hate spending money and rarely do. We are savers, no question. I continue to wear clothes I bought myself in high school (true story) and I am a master at making leftovers stretch with innovative and delicious meals and sides. Waste is not something we do.

We've made choices that include me not working so that I'm able to be home with our children and homeschool. We walked away from mainstream medicine to start an alternative medicine clinic - a conscious decision to put freedom and flexibility above a big income. We wouldn't change a thing, to be honest. We don't regret a single decision.

I just see how much things have changed in one generation and I worry about our children's generation and how they're going to be able to afford it. The income inequality in this nation is a huge chasm. Breaks for billionaires and struggles for the middle class. Bailouts for the rich and penalties for the poor.

Other countries tax more, it's true, but they also provide healthcare, vacation, and college educations, because those things are valued. It makes sense! Not only is it emotionally and physically healthy, but of course those governments have a vested interest in keeping people healthy - that's their bread and butter! People paying taxes is what keeps their governments running, so it behooves them to keep their citizens healthy and educated. Something has gotten screwed up here where the value is on the almighty dollar and only the very rich are rewarded. This is exactly why Bernie Sanders is speaking to so many people's minds and hearts. We're fed up. Enough is enough.

Okay, that almost took a political turn (Feel the Bern!) and that wasn't my intent. My intent was simply to say it's been a stressful past year plus and though today was going to be a big step in resolving some of that stress, we aren't settling today. We're waiting. Again. And we don't know for how long. And it's so frustrating.


Dr. Mark said...

Well, you summed it up better than I could have. You've given voice to so many of my same thoughts, but more eloquently. I'd throw out platitudes like "it will all work out" or "I'm sure things will fall into place," but sometimes you just want to hear a "that sucks." And it does. I'm happy to keep riding this roller coaster with you, but really, I'd rather we take a relaxing trip down the lazy river.

Boquinha said...

Each generation is supposed to do better than the one before, every generation helping the next. I feel like things are shifting and, financially, that's not so cut and dry anymore.

I'd opt for a relaxing beach trip after all of this is resolved, though admittedly, timing wise, I'm not sure we can pull that off . . .

Jimmy said...

That sucks.

Sounds like this real estate agent has you over a barrel. Can you drop her and start from scratch?

Boquinha said...

She hasn't been easy to deal with at all. At this point, we're so close. Time to sell and move on. :/

Emily Foley said...

OH MY GOSH. I want to punch someone about this! I am so sorry! You've got to be kidding me! Graffiti...moving dates...missing festivals...all of it is making me so mad for you. It should not be this hard! I am so sorry you guys!

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Emily! I really, really, really appreciate the empathy!