I am a homeowner for the first time. The elation that is flooding over me is nearly indescribable, even as I look around my living room and see the massive project that awaits me. I came into this with my eyes wide open, fully aware of the necessary time and work, but it is all worth it. No longer do I have to deal with a landlord who considers me inferior because I happen to have breasts or downstairs neighbors who have after-mixers at their place until 4A. I can paint the walls and construct kitty ledges and rip up flooring, all to my heart's content. It's invigorating.
But I swear, I nearly cut a bitch in the process. You may want to go brew yourself some tea and pop a bag of popcorn, 'cause this is going to take a while.
I kinda lied a little above: I only knew a portion of the story when I first fell in love with my little fixer-upper. I knew the sellers were in a bind because of a tax lien on the house, and the house had been their first house before they began renting it out. I was okay with some of the outdated features* because, hey, I'm a DIY gal and who doesn't want to rebuild their kitchen cabinets by hand**? Three and I would be able to renovate this house and make it our own! It'll take time, but the smoke smell will eventually be obliterated! Okay, so the siding needs to be replaced! That happens! Blinders firmly applied! It wasn't until after our offer was accepted that shit started to turn sideways.
It is a bright and sunshiny Tuesday morning, and Three has just gone back to night shift***. The sellers had been courteous enough to let us move in prior to the closing date because the lease Three's job had secured was up and we would have had to stay in a hotel or efficiency, and with them only charging us $100 for nearly a whole month, it was a bargain. The first night, we only had an air mattress and three lawn chairs, but hey, at least we weren't sleeping on the floor, right? Anyway, almost right at 8A, three trucks pull into our driveway, filled to the brim with roofing supplies and a gaggle of well-rested dudes. Now, I didn't witness this; the husband did because he was playing a few games of Magic: The Gathering 2015 on Xbox before going to bed. However, I am woken by the loud banging of people with tools on my roof. All of the cats are freaking out, hiding underneath the bathroom sink, and Zola seemed quite confused by the commotion. I, of course, am miffed, but after seeing Three's pained and exhausted expression, I decide that he probably had a better reason to be irritated. Yes, the sellers had communicated to us that a roofing company would be coming at some point to replace the roof, but they never revealed a time or date, and since our closing date was creeping closer and closer, Three and I were getting a little worried. The roof would have to be completed by closing, so we are both relieved and incredibly annoyed at the sight and sounds of hammers on high.
Speed ahead by, oh, six hours, and the male half of the sellers parks in our neighbor's driveway and approaches the workers who he has hired to replace the roof. His wife had just called me to tell me that the roofers were coming that day (thanks?), and she told me that they'd used this company before, so I figure that he was just catching up with them. The guys seem a little put off by him, but I guess I would, too, if I were in their position. As they were cleaning up, Mr. Seller knocks on the front door and laments that the workers just would not help him make some repairs around the house. He legitimately seems upset about this, as if he forgot that they hauled ass to make sure this project was completed quickly and were most likely exhausted. He then tells me that he's just going to come back tomorrow to fix some things around the house, and I'm all, "Okay? I mean, all they have to do is clean up and leave. That shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, tops." But he's made up his mind that there was no point to him starting on little projects at such a late hour of the day (it was, by this time, 2:30P), so off he goes about his business.
A little backstory is required here: we were able to get FHA downpayment assistance, and they have much stricter requirements for houses to be sold this way. You can't sell an FHA-assisted buyer an as-is house, unless as-is meets all of the standards they require. Once the sellers accepted our offer, the state sent an inspector out and made a list of improvements that had to be made by the seller before closing, which is why Mr. Seller was making an appearance that day.
The next day rolls around, and sure enough, Mr. Seller is there, bright and early. With a twelve-pack, a carton of cigarettes, and his brother-in-law. By 4P, only two items have been checked off this mystical list - Mr. Seller will not allow us to look at it, for some reason: a few pieces of siding have been replaced due to water damage and a drawer in the kitchen was fixed. I knew of at least four more things the realtor had told me about a few days before but was truly amazed at the lack of accomplishment that day had provided, at least in terms of house stuff. Mr. Seller, on the other hand, had drank nearly the entire twelve-pack by himself and was almost halfway done with the carton of cigarettes, which he had been smoking inside the garage.
Okay, another bit of information. I am a former smoker, but cigarette smoke smell is the worst smell on the face of the earth. Even when I was at my highest cigarette count, I would never smoke inside anywhere, let alone where I lived. The sellers, on the other hand, didn't have this kind of rule. Whomever had rented the place before we had placed our offer had smoked like a fucking chimney inside, and the walls, ceiling fans, etc. was covered in the shit. The day before, I had spent over two hours cleaning the ceiling fans, with most of my time on the kitchen one, which had layers of grease and cigarette smoke caked on it. So when I smelled the smoke coming from my garage, so close to where I had slaved away, I was livid. However, I calmly asked him if he wouldn't mind smoking away from the house, because at this point, he hadn't placed himself on my shit list. Yet.
So then, in an effort to be civil, Three and I offer to help in any way we can. We want the house sold as much as the sellers do. Mr. Seller is all, "Well, do you want me to paint the new siding whatever color you guys are going to or should I just leave it bare like it is?" I had no idea what regulations stated, so I texted our realtor who was like, "OMG, seriously? I told them the siding had to be painted as close as possible to the current paint job." I shrug my shoulders and walk to the side of the house, opening the gate to the backyard to reveal ... Mr. Seller with his penis hanging out, peeing on the side of my goddamn house. I quickly slam the gate and just stand there, blinking. That asshole is pissing on my. house. I end up telling Three what the realtor had told me, but I can barely even explain why I refuse to communicate with Mr. Seller.
"I. Will. Tell. You. Later."
After he leaves, Three vents to me, saying that Mr. Seller had better come back tomorrow because there are still things wrong with the house and OMG we are closing on that coming Wednesday, and suddenly, I burst out with, "His penis was out, Three! He peed on our house! I was not expecting to see another man's junk today! THAT WAS NOT PART OF THE PLAN."
Both of us burst into laughter because really, how can you not after someone screams about a gross man's penis, but it quickly devolves into pure, unfettered rage. The guy half-assed everything today. He didn't even paint the siding. The front screen door had to be fixed, the carpet needed to be straightened, the back window in the bedroom had to be somehow opened, and the deck had to have stairs (the cinder blocks precariously placed there were not even close to being safe). The realtor had offered to set the sellers up with her handyman, who was only asking $500, which included the cost of labor, to fix everything state housing required. But nope. He is a handy fella. He doesn't need someone to do it for him.
I call up our realtor, my irritation growing with each time I remember seeing Mr. Seller's dick, and she gets on the phone to ream them out. I have no idea what she said to them, but Mr. Seller is back at our house the next day to paint the siding, only this time, he had no beer or cigarettes. He did, however, choose to display his awesome attitude, which was pretty much summed up by what he said to Three when Three offered to assist him: "I'm in a place where I'm selling a house to you and you need government assistance to buy it from me, so I think I'll rely on myself for help."
OKAY, DICKWEASEL. This ass hadn't paid taxes on this house for eleven fucking years. Yes, you read that correctly. He owed nearly $40,000 in back taxes, which is why he had to get the house sold.
Ahem. Yes. That man is on my shit list NOW.
Anyway, because of course this is how this would happen, closing is put off for yet another week because the sellers didn't get done what was needed for the inspector to be happy. And I'm severely fastforwarding here, since a lot of the following weeks were just more of the same frustrations: Mr. and Mrs. Seller were just dragging their feet getting repairs done, new inspections needed to be conducted, Mr. Seller was being a belligerent cock. You know, more of the same.
Then finally, we get a break. Our closing gets rescheduled for a Friday. Granted, it's on a day where I'm babysitting a 22-month-old girl for a friend, but I figure I'll just keep her entertained in the lawyer's office while we sign the paperwork for our house. We are there for several hours, and poor Baby Girl has missed her nap. She quiets down when I push her around on an office chair like a racecar and even squeaks a little in excitement. And I hear the lawyer say to Three, who's nearly to the end of the paperwork he needs to sign, "Do you know where the sellers are?" We have been there nearly two hours at this point, and I am looking forward to not ever having to deal with the sellers again. A few minutes later, the paralegal requests that the lawyer come speak with her in the hall, and Three and I exchange glances.
"Well, it seems the sellers are out of town," the lawyer says when he sits back down.
Three's eyes close, and I can almost see the steam come out of his ears. The closing date had been shared with both of us, as well as the time and location, but they had decided to go on fucking vacation. I nearly break down in tears from exhaustion and disappointment. I had been awake since 6A, twenty minutes before Baby Girl's daddy had dropped her off with us. We still go through the rest of our paperwork, even though we'll have to resign everything whenever we get rescheduled. Then I receive a text from Mr. Seller, profusely apologizing (aka lying) and asking us to please call him as soon as we are done with the lawyer. Before we leave, we make sure to get a date and time for our reschedule so we can communicate it to the sellers, and once Three has calmed down enough to talk, we call Mr. Seller.
"Well, we tried calling the realtor and the lawyer and the paralegal, but nobody would return our calls! Mrs. Seller just had to go out of town today, and since we couldn't get a hold of anybody, we figured it wasn't happening today."
So. Let me get this straight. You, Mr. Seller, who owes $40,000 to the IRS, just decide that making a phone call or two (which isn't what happened, but hey, we'll go with your story) in regards to selling your home, which, again, has a tax lien on it, is enough to convince you not to even make an attempt to show up for a closing? I mean, yes, it was up in the air that day; there's no denying that. But Three took a day off of work (and was pointed for it) to come to closing, and I took a baby that wasn't mine into a boring lawyer's conference room for close to four hours. But you couldn't even bother to grace us with your presence. I gotcha.
How Three manages to maintain his composure on the phone is beyond me. But he does. He calmly explains the situation, and although he doesn't actually accept Mr. Seller's apology, Mr. Seller believes that he did, which is a fascinating thing to behold. Three more or less insults the man, but somehow, Mr. Seller is all, "Thank you for being understanding!" Then we let him know the new closing date and time and silently promise ourselves that we will curse them both if they don't show up.
On May 5, 2015, sellers and buyers meet, and the house is finally sold. I heave a huge sigh of relief and then go to lunch with our realtor, who is just as happy that this ordeal is over as we are. Three and I arrive at what is officially now our home and smile as we collapse onto our air mattress for the first time as homeowners. Of course, all the stress from the past three months gets us both sick, but like I said, it's all worth it. Now we just have to get started!
Although seriously, fuck you, Mr. Seller. Mrs. Seller, you're alright. You deserve better.
* The main bathroom is a designer's nightmare. First off, it's fucking beach themed, with this godawful adhesive umbrella-and-beach-ball-and-palm tree border up at the top. Second, there is a tiki-inspired light switch cover, and the switches are backwards and upside-down. Third, the locking mechanism on the door was actually removed, so there is no way to guarantee that a cat or dog isn't going to terrify visitors by just letting themselves in. It's the only room that I actively hate.
** I'm going to build myself a butcher block countertop. I don't like the look of quartz, granite's pros don't outweigh the cons in my opinion, the recycled stuff is way too expensive, and the McDonald's-looking shit isn't coming anywhere near my kitchen.
*** His job requires him to flip-flop every two weeks from a twelve-hour day shift to a twelve-hour night shift and vice versa. It's hard on anybody, but since he's a diabetic, it's that much more difficult.