Saturday, November 5, 2011


I haven't been around as much lately. We’re planning a move. This will be a leased home, since we only plan to live there for about two years. It has, however, brought back memories of purchasing my first home.

It took over two years to save the money for a down payment. House hunting was interesting, but it took forever to find the right home. It was worth waiting for. Located on a quiet tree-lined street, it was close to work, schools and shopping. The house was perfect and well maintained with all the charm of an older residence. We held our breath, waiting for our bank’s approval. When it came, we had a final eight week wait for the closing date.

There was plenty to do in the meantime. We packed our bags and gave notice to our landlord. We made several visits to the area, introducing my daughter to the neighborhood, playground and school. We notified friends and family of our address change. Finally, closing day arrived.

We sat at a conference table waiting. Finally, our lawyer arrived with a grim look on his face. We would not be able to close. The owner had said that she had title insurance. No one had checked to verify this until the afternoon before closing. In some cases, that might have been rectified quickly. In this case, an approval had to be made by a city committee that would not meet for another six weeks.

We hurried home and called our landlord to request a two-month extension. He was unable to help, since he had already signed a lease with another tenant. We were able to find an unoccupied home for sale in the same neighborhood. The owners were happy to rent it to us while we repeated the process for purchasing a home. It was a good house and I lived there for almost twenty years. I still felt a pang of regret whenever I drove by the home that had been my first choice.

I’ve always wondered if the problem could have been avoided. Our lawyer had a small practice and didn’t specialize in real estate. With a real estate lawyer barriers to purchasing might have been anticipated. Maybe a larger firm with more staff would have checked the title insurance far ahead of the closing date. Forty years later, I still don’t have the answers.

Moves can be both exciting and stressful. For now, I’m happy that we’re only renting a home.

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