We drove away from our house, our van loaded to the the bursting point, tired, hungry, and spent. It was a short trip from the house to the hotel.
By the time we finished cleaning and loading the car and making sure everything was just right it was 9:00 pm! We drove 4 miles to the hotel and tried to sleep. I say try because sleeping with 4 small children is an experience that is difficult to describe. It's one of those "you would have to be there" moments. And we would be repeating those moments for the next several nights.... all of us, together.
But the topic of this post is closing, and this may or may not be the last time I talk about this process!
We had known for months that we would need to have certified funds to bring to closing, because that is what you do when you LOSE (I am not bitter, I am not bitter, I am not bitter). It is still such a foreign concept to me that we lived there, improved it, and still walked away with nothing to show for it.
So the week of closing I get the call with the official amount needed and I think I may have a heart attack. It is more than we expected because apparently some lenders return any balances in escrow after closing instead of during closing. So, no sweat I am rich thanks to our miracle.
We don't bank locally so I obtained wiring instructions and thought we were good to go. I call my bank two days before to initiate the transfer and find out that because I have never done a wire transfer before I need to personally be in the bank for them to notarize my signature, etc. Well that won't work.
My next plan was to convince my in-laws to do it for me. I called them and asked them if they would do the wire transfer for me if I transfered the funds to their account. I knew that we banked at the same bank so that should be easy. They agreed to that. But when I tried to initiate the transfer I was told that because I had never done an account to account transfer like this that I was limited to $2,000 per day which means I would have needed to start transferring money 3 days ago in order for it all to be there.
Then I did the unthinkable, I begged. And was reminded why I don't ask for help - some people just can't be helped and I appear to be one of those people. I asked my in-laws if they had $8,000 that they could transfer for me and I would send them the money. I don't know where they keep all their money (actually I do, but that's another post for another time), but it wasn't accessible.
So I find the nearest branch, it is 2 hours away. Mind you I am two days from closing and still have a house to clear out and clean out. This is crunch time. I can't afford to spend 4 hours in the car driving to the bank, when I have successfully managed our finances by phone, mail, online for the last 6 years. And I do it.
All the while I am thinking to myself that the amount of the check that I have to drive 4 hours to get covers, almost to the penny, the 6% commission paid to the real estate brokers.
In our particular state, all involved parties are present at the closing: buyers, sellers, their respective agents, attorneys, the lender, etc. It is a party (I guess that depends on which side of the table you sit on). Because we wanted to get out of town earlier than the designated time of closing our attorney took care of everything for us. But I wonder if it even occurred to our agent that the check we wrote was to cover her expenses. Did she feel like she had earned it? Did she have any remorse about taking our money?
I know real estate professionals perform a valuable service. When times were good and people were making money off their homes paying a commission wasn't a big deal, because it's paid with profits realized not your actual money. When it is your money and not profits, it is a harder pill to swallow.
And that was our closing, and I suppose in a small way closure.