Jo Ann Jaacks: Moving On . . . Gotta have Faith

Anyone who has recently played the game of Selling a Home/Buying a Home knows the game rules are much changed. About eight or ten years ago, thanks to banks’ wariness over the subprime lending debacle, house values plummeted. Good for buyers; not that much for sellers.

Back then, it took us 15 months to get a buyer for our home, after several gut-wrenching price reductions. We immediately found the perfect house at the perfect price and it all seemed to be working out wonderfully. Until we got the inspection results and discovered the reason the house was perfectly priced was that it needed a new septic system. We also discovered that engineering fees and septic installation costs had risen by several orders of magnitude, requiring an outlay of $30,000 shared between us and the seller. Neither of us was happy about that, but it was still a good deal.

When I received the engineer’s call that the septic system plans were finally ready, I hurried to grab them from his office and raced to Torrington Area Health Department to see one of the two officials who had been involved in the inspections and were familiar with the plans. Of course, this was 30 minutes to closing time on a Friday and both of the two had left early. I think the office staff recognized my desperation and hurriedly turned up the last remaining official with the power to stamp the plans and issue the permit. He asked me a lot of questions, then stamped and issued — to my eternal gratitude. I then raced to my lender and gave them the precious permit just five minutes before the bank closed.

After raiding our IRA to pay down our debt ratio as required by our lender, and financing such needful installations as a radon remediation boondoggle, we began to seriously budget. We chose a ‘bargain’ mover. We eventually had to fire the movers when the meter was still ticking three hours past the estimated, and budgeted, time. Asking “Where should I put this?” when bringing in the last box, and in answer to my impatient response “Just drop it there,” my bargain mover literally let it fall from his hands. Crash bang went a large carton of dishes and glasses.

When the job was halfway done, our septic installer announced that he was going on a mission trip to Guatemala, but assured us “Don’t worry, it’ll get finished before closing.” It didn’t and the closing had to be extended. It was finally decided amongst all parties that as long as the bank was satisfied, we could close prior to topsoil being leveled and seeding being done. We then moved into a home we hadn’t yet purchased and vacated a home we hadn’t yet sold. That leap of faith required daily entreaties to St. Jude and a lot of Tums.

Two days after the long-awaited and joyously celebrated closing, our attorney called us back to sign some new papers. It seems in a room full of attorneys, paralegals, brokers, buyers and sellers, none of us caught a glaring error on the most important closing document. Our attorney assured us he’d never made this mistake in decades of closings, and I believe him. All through the process, I was expecting obstacles to be placed in our path, and they routinely were. I was just grateful when they were small molehills rather than mountains, although we got both. I was also grateful to our long-suffering realtor - Super Susie of Sotheby’s - who cheerfully hung in with us throughout the entire ordeal.

Fast forward to a total upheaval of pretty much everything, thanks to a year of pandemic - the apartment where I have lived with my therapy cat for the past two years went up for sale since my landlady was moving out of state. She told me there would be plenty of time for me to find a new apartment, but we both were shocked when several offers were presented with a few days of listing.

My full-time job now has been networking with everyone I can think of who might know of an available one bed/one bath apartment, filling out rental applications, doing drivebys and relentlessly perusing Zillow, Craigslist, Apartments.com and seemingly 100 other sites. As a friend always told me, “It’ll all come ‘round right.” I choose to believe that - you gotta have faith.