If you’ve been following along, I mentioned here that I was working on buying a home in Florida. Well, it’s official – I own it. I figured how that came to pass was worth a story.
On December 11th, I headed to Boston to catch my flight. Ironically, it’s cheaper to drive two hours to Boston and fly from there, rather than drive 30 minutes to Portland. Portland has a perfectly good airport, but no direct flights to Fort Myers. I am not getting a connection for the three hour flight and paying twice the fare for the privilege.
My flight was at 10:45, so figuring getting there two hours ahead of time and allowing two hours for the drive, I should leave at… oh, 6:30. Plenty of time for any contingencies, certainly. Barely. Between Boston traffic, long lines at the bag check and security (this will be important later), I made it to my gate at 10:33. Just in time for them to call my name in that way that lets you know they’re going to change your seat assignment. I try to pick an aisle seat because A: I’m not a small person and being on the aisle gives me at least the illusion of more space. B: I hate, hate, hate being in the middle and having my personal space invaded by hips and elbows. And C: I can get up and use the bathroom without disturbing the others in the row. As it turned out, they moved me up a row so a family could sit across from each other, and the middle seat next to me was empty.
As a bonus, when we got to Fort Myers they opened up the back door of the plane, rolled up some stairs, and they told me I could go out that way if I wanted to! This is huge when you’re two rows from the back of the plane, and 99% of the people in front of you are over the age of 70. I was the first one off.
I think that was the last break I got.
Between waiting for my luggage, a glacial line at the rental car counter and traffic, I think I got to the hotel some time after 4 p.m. Closing was supposed to be the next day, but I still had not heard from the realtor and made arrangements for important things like where and when that was going to happen. I also had to make a final inspection of the property and arrange for the power to be transferred. I think I remember making some phone calls.
I probably should mention that I am purchasing this house with a sibling and she couldn’t be there for the closing, so I had to get power of attorney in order to sign for her on the closing documents (this will also be important later).
It was finally decided that the closing would take place the next day, 12/12, any time after 1:00 p.m. at the closing agent’s office, about 45 minutes away from the house. We did the final inspection at 11 and made our way over. The closing agent presented me with a sheaf of papers about an inch thick, which I had to sign not only with my own name, but with that of my sister, followed by the words “by her attorney-in-fact” and then my own signature again.
Several. Dozen. Times. Initials, too: XX and XY, by A.I.F. XX. Every page.
After it’s all done, she offers to scan it all and send it over to the lender while I’m still there, just in case there are any problems. Because, hey – wouldn’t it be a real pain if you had to come back?! Sure would. Forty minutes later, the owner of the title company comes into the conference room and sits down. She has some bad news. The lender doesn’t like the way I signed my sister’s name. Instead of (my signature) and (my version of her signature) by her Attorney-in-fact (my signature again), they’d really like it to say (my signature) and (my version of her signature) by (my signature again) her Attorney-in-fact.
Excuse me? It’s the exact same thing. Florida law doesn’t care as long as the words are all there. Nope, no good. Do it all again. Reprint all the forms. Sign and sign and initial and initial. Scan and email to the lender. Wait, wait, wait some more. Another 45 minutes. Annoying little dog. Water stains on the ceiling. Finally, it’s approved! Four hours to sign some documents. The title company gave me a $3.00 bottle of wine for my trouble. I hate wine. They also gave me a box of candy-cane chocolate chip cookies. My realtor stole them.
But I own it! Now I can go over on Friday the 13th and meet with the movers who will deliver all of our stuff! Exciting! What could possibly go wrong?
See what I did there?