Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Moving Saga

I wrote this a week ago while sitting in the Manchester, NH airport where they have free wi-fi, on my way to a workshop in DE, but I'm posting it on Thanksgiving, because I am soooo thankful that this part of our lives is behind us.

Our daughter lives in MA, about 25 miles from our new home in NH. My wife always said that the day she told us she was pregnant, the house would be going on the market and that’s exactly what we did back in April of 2007. The process of selling our house in a down market was painful. It took two and a half years from the time we put it on the market.

Actually, we sold it within ten days, but it was contingent on removing and underground oil tank. Unfortunately, when we removed it, they found a pin hole leak. The EPA allows up to 10,000 ppm before you have to remediate. Our reading was 11,300 ppm. In the end it cost over $10,000 and we lost the buyers, because they wanted their kids in school before Sept. If you know anything about dealing with the EPA and the state, you know there was no way to make that happen, as attested to by a three in high stack of paperwork. The process can actually take over a year or two.

Fortunately, I was semi-retired and could stay on top of the process. I was on the phone constantly in an effort to expedite things, but I wasn’t a pest, and if there was a Nobel Prize for ass-kissing, I would have won it. My tactic paid off. I had established a good reporte with the remediation company and they agreed to slip me in between big jobs. The remediation process was actually completed in August, but there was still the state to deal with, and that took until October. By this time, the market had tanked.

Over the next two years we added upgrades, kept the house spotless, and reduced the price in conjunction with the changing market. I won’t detail the process except to say that we lost two more buyers, because they couldn’t secure financing, and turned down two offers that in retrospect were not as bad as they seemed at the time.

Finally we sold the house in August, during a 10 day period where we had three offers. One was way too low and the other two were lower than we wanted, but workable. The first was a cash deal that was $8,000 lower than the second, which was an FHA loan. The people were prequalified. We opted for the FHA, because they wanted to close within 30 days. In retrospect, that was a mistake. There was more than $8,000 in aggravation.

We had two and a half years to watch the market where we wanted to move and figured we would have to take a small mortgage in order to keep from feeling a financial pinch, so the race was on. We had to head up to NH, make and offer on a house and secure a mortgage. With the help of Beth Redmond, an absolutely top notch real estate agent, we were able to get everything done.

While we were in the process of getting the mortgage and making all of the arrangement for the move we were hearing nothing from our buyers, their agent or their lawyer. Calls from our lawyer, my agents, and even our title company to their lawyer were getting nowhere fast.

While our agent, Beth Redmond, was on top of everything and an absolute joy to work with, their attorney, Jeffrey Roth for Lakewood, NJ was one of those layers who is the reason for lawyer jokes. He gave absolutely no information about where they were in the process at any point in the process. The closing date came and went four times. My attorney, here secretary, both of my agents, and the title company said that they never experienced anything like his lack of consideration and response.

Part of the problem was the buyer who was doing everything himself and wasn’t able to complete things in a timely fashion. Between his refusal to let his agent do want agents are supposed to do and the lawyer’s lack of communication, it he cost them considerable money. There was four hundred dollars in penalties and a few thousand dollars in furniture that we were going to leave for them, but donated to charity, because we couldn’t establish what they wanted or if they wanted anything.

If you are living in Ocean County NJ and are thinking of selling or buying a home, stay far, far away from Jeffrey Roth, of Roth and Roth, in Lakewood. On the other hand, if you are thinking of selling a home, Debby Ficke of Diane Turton did everything I could have asked for to sell our home in a down market, and Beth Redmond is who you want to contact if you are buying a home in southern NH.

Now here’s the kicker. When we moved, as we were unpacking, I came across my Bar Mitzvah album. The first thing I came across was a stack of telegraphs. The first three were from relatives I didn’t know, but they all had the last name of Roth! It is possible that I am related to Jeffrey Roth, but I have no desire to find out, because if we are related, I would disown him, because I would not want to have anyone as inconsiderate as he in my family tree.

I'm doubly thankful that our first weeks in NH have been in stark contract to the weeks leading up to the move.

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