Just do your damn job

Dear Everyone associated with the selling of our home and the purchase of the dream home:

Just do your damn job.

I’m not asking for much. What I’m asking for you is to do your damn job. I’m not even asking for extra services here. I’m asking for you to DO the ONE THING we contracted with you to DO. The thing you’re being paid to do.

For example, Mortgage Company (and you’re the one I really want to strangle) your job is to issue the mortgage. When you need a piece of paperwork, it’s your job to tell us you need it. When you issue a letter stating that we have been approved for our mortgage, it’s your job to put the CORRECT AMOUNT on the letter and the CORRECT ADDRESS of the property we’re purchasing.

You tell us we need flood insurance. The sellers tell us we don’t. The surveyor tells us we don’t. You agree that we don’t. Your “compliance officer” tells us he doesn’t care what FEMA says, and he requires it anyhow. Fine. We tell you that in order to get the flood insurance you demand, we need an elevation certificate. You send out a surveyor to survey the property and don’t tell him to issue an elevation certificate. Therefore we still don’t have flood insurance, and without flood insurance, you won’t issue us a mortgage. Do you see the problem here? Just do your damn job.

To the real estate agents (there are three of you involved right now) please just do your damn job. When we call and ask how the funding is going to get from one closing to the next, please tell us about how the funds will be wired, not “Trust us: we do this every day!” and then a little later, “Oh, gee, that’s not going to be enough time.” Do your damn job.

To the attorney: we want to have the closing somewhere other than your bedroom where you can recline on a settee with your feet elevated on a pillow while you eat bon-bons. Do your damn job and get to a location such that fifteen other people don’t have to travel an hour each way for the honor of your presence.

To fifteen random service providers who never called us back: what part of “We’re trying to do business with you” are you failing to comprehend? You claim to offer a service in exchange for money. We’re trying to give you money. What am I missing here?

And that’s just for starters. Dear everyone: we’re doing our best, but there’s only so much we can do if you don’t do your damn job.

Because right now, the closing is in two weeks, and I’m not sure it’s actually going to come together in time because half of you guys can’t find your back pocket with either hand, let alone both at the same time, and all of you are allergic to work.

Just do your damn job and this will be a whole lot easier on all of us.

Thank you.

In all fairness, there are several folks who’ve done a stellar job with things. The handyman/miracle worker whom the realtor recommended is awesome and deserves to have his number retired in Handyman Stadium. The HVAC guy is similarly wonderful. But they know who they are because they can look themselves in the mirror in the mornings and be proud of themselves.


  1. xdpaul

    I live in Iowa, so I’d probably recommend getting the flood insurance unless the house is on a mountain top. I’m amazed both at the number of uninsured households that are now unrecoverable and the extent of the flooding that reached homes that you never would have predicted would have been touched.

    Of course, I’m sure it is obvious to you whether or not the home is at risk. I’m just being paranoid based on the devastation I’ve been seeing lately.

  2. philangelus

    I’m fine with GETTING flood insurance. I’ve been on the phone with three flood insurance sellers, and all of them require a “certificate of elevation” which no one is willing to produce for us.

    Either we *are* in a flood zone, in which case elevation can be determined, or we are *not*, in which case it can’t. But this garbage about “You’re not in a flood zone, but we’re demanding flood insurance anyhow and then not providing you the certification you need to purchase it” is horsepuckey.

    If you typed our address into FEMA’s site, it says we’re an A-6 flood zone. The reason is that the back half of the property is in the flood zone. The house itself is not. I’ll still insure it, but we need the documentation.

  3. philangelus

    Ahhh… The legal secretary for our attorney is getting onto everyone who has previously been stupid. I think we’re going to bring her a huge box of chocolate and flowers afterward if she manages to reverse the epidemic of cranial rectosis that has struck the real estate/mortgage community.

  4. knit_tgz

    Cranial rectosis – need to write that expression down to use in the appropriate situations. You do have a way with words!

  5. ladyknight

    I was going to suggest that you don’t make the attorney come to the closing. When we closed on our house, we agreed with the attorney that he would be available by phone should we have any questions, and he went over the mortgage paperwork beforehand and approved it. When we told everyone else involved in the closing that the attorney wasn’t coming, there were some genuine sighs of relief…evidently he can be quite intimidating over the phone!

  6. philangelus

    It’s the attorney for the mortgage company of our buyers that’s being a total butt. Our attorney laughed and said, “I don’t care if they want to have the closing in DistantTown. I don’t care if they want to have it on the moon: your legal plan pays me to drive.”

    Our attorney probably won’t do anything for us there other htan look intimidating. I get that, but he’s not the problem.

  7. Ivy Reisner

    I have found the other attorney’s behavior to be the way of the lawyer. At one point, when I was going from firm to firm installing software upgrades, the game was “let’s see how long we can make the technician wait”. Whoever made the tech wait longest won. The more inconvenience someone will put up with for you, the more important you are, or so the thinking seems to go. I found it strikingly odd that my contact at Skadden Arps, indisputably the largest and best known firm I’d dealt with, was perfectly capable of keeping a set appointment at a set time. He was alone in this.

    If I’m supposed to be at a client site at 1:00 and I’m there at 1:00, then the clock starts at 1:00. If I’m sitting in the waiting room for 3 hours, we charge for 3 hours and I’m paid for 3 hours, so honestly, I don’t care. I took the time to crochet squares on a blanket. By the time the project was done, so was the blanket. You’d have finished a novel. This amounted to waiting in just under 100 reception areas.

    Good luck with the house. With luck this bureaucracy will be the worst of it.

  8. Jenni

    We had a mortgage broker who went to bat for us several times on things like this when we bought our house. The seller wanted everything by a certain date (like in 2 weeks time!) and then wouldn’t let us in to get the inspection done. Found out that it was the realtor who didn’t want to “push” because it “takes the seller a long time to do things since he’s in a chair”.
    I just looked at my husband (who’s also in a chair) and said, “Um, hello!”

    I think the world would fall apart if everyone did their job right the first time.

  9. Kit

    Yep – as we’ve already discussed, it’s a hairy-hairy. But as awful as buying and selling a home is, just remember this too shall pass, and you will barely remember it sooner than you think. I don’t know of ANYONE who’s ever had a seamless transaction. There’s always something. Or a lot of somethings.

    Hang in there! It will all be worth it in the end!

  10. CricketB

    Our lawyers and banks and agents and insurers just did everything over the phone, with a bit of fax and courier. Both houses were in the same small city, so they already knew, or knew of, each other, but it all worked out just fine. I got the impression it’s always done that way. Surely there are enough certified witnesses in each town they can agree things were signed without duress.

    Our legal problem was the key. I’m not sure who was to give us the key, but it wasn’t done. Seller had moved out of town. Her real estate agent didn’t have the key. Our real estate agent happened to have a copy (with which we had done the standard last-minute check that they hadn’t destroyed it), so drove back from holiday.

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