Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gratitude: Dry Closing and Other Anticlimaxes

This week, we experienced a dry closing.  You ask, what is a dry closing?

Apparently, it happens more than we might think these days.  The buyer signs the closing documents, and the seller signs too, often at separate times.  The money comes later.

It's somewhat anticlimactic.  And although I was assured that closings happen this way all the time, it was stressful.  I prefer the old style of closing:  people gather around a table, and at the end, the seller goes away with a check.

Let me pause to be grateful.  When we sold our last property, our condo that we had bought for my mother-in-law, we had to bring money to the closing.  It's better to leave a closing with money that you didn't have before you came.

We put the house on the market 7 weeks ago.  We got our first offer 8 days after we put it on the market.  That offer didn't work out, but we had another one just days later.  In two weeks after we signed the contract with the realtor, we had a signed contract from a buyer who would pay cash--a prize!

We continued to get offers, which means my spouse will be haunted by the what-might-have-been.  I'm glad that we didn't have to deal with the nuances and wrinkles that come when buyers need a mortgage:  there are insurance issues with our older house and appraisal issues.  We didn't have that, and I'm relieved.  My spouse, on the other hand . . .

I'm hoping that with money in the bank, we'll relax and count our blessings.  We have many blessings.

If you've been following this blog, you know that we have done our house shifting in a different order than most people do.  We bought our new house and then put the old one on the market.  We had no guarantees that we could sell it, but we did have a back-up plan to rent it out if we had no interest in it from buyers.

Happily we don't have to think about that.  We have money in the bank, and we're back to owning one property.  What a relief.

It was strange to have signed documents but no money.  Yesterday I watched anxiously for news that money was on its way.

You'd think that in this age of wiring money and transferring funds electronically that it would be more seamless and speedier.  Ha!  That's one reason why our closing took some time.  Our buyers originally thought we'd have the closing in early September.  But new laws about moving money, especially international funds, meant it took a few more weeks.

If the buyers had never mentioned an early September close date, we'd be counting our blessings that we closed by the end of September.  But since we had the possibility of an earlier close, the delay was oddly disappointing.

The dry closing was oddly disappointing too, and we tried to analyze it.  Was it that we had to wait 24 hours for our money?  Why should that depress us so?

I finally decided that part of my sadness came from past experience.  With the previous 3 properties we sold, I felt we were helping the buyers out of a jam, in some ways.  With our first 2 properties, we sold them ourselves, so we got a sense of the buyer's story.  Our first house went to an older African-American woman who was losing her rental house, and the second house went to a single mom with teenage kids who wouldn't have been able to get out of her shoddy rental home otherwise.  Our condo went to two siblings who were buying it for their father; their first condo deal fell through, but they ended up being thrilled because our condo was better than the one they lost.

For our current closing, we sold our house to a granite company.  I thought the granite company owner was buying it for a family member coming from Colombia.  Now I'm not so sure.

Why should it matter?  It shouldn't.  So, tell that to my emotions.

But for all I know, the house will be filled with new residents who will love it.  Maybe those residents will be family members of the buyer.  Maybe the new residents will be renters because the buyer was purchasing an investment property.  I have that strange sense of feeling that the house deserves to be lived in by people who love it.

I know, a house is an inanimate object.  It does not have feelings.  It does not have inalienable rights.  But I may have a poem that's begun to percolate!

So, let me return to gratitude.  I am so grateful that we have moved to our new house.  I love the area.  It's much quieter.

I am grateful that we sold our old house and that we did it just about as quickly as it is possible to do so.  I am grateful that the money found its way to our savings account.

I am grateful for good friends and family who have been encouraging along the way.

I am grateful that I have a full-time job and part-time possibilities that make all of this possible.  I am grateful that my spouse does too.

I'm grateful that my spouse is handy with repairs.  I'm grateful for my father-in-law and friends who have volunteered to help.

And again, let me stress, I am so grateful that we sold our house.

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