The Dubious Solution (Another House Update)

The Gingerbread Diaries

So far, each time I update here about the Saga of the House something happens the next day that changes the road ahead–or at least presents a significant speed bump.

After our last update I realized that we were well and truly only two weeks from closing and I was both astonished as well as suspicious that we had all the needed ducks in a row. Sending out a round of status updates to our team I was, unfortunately, proved correct: our contractor had failed the bank’s validation.


Turns out our contractor, the one man who consistently returns my calls and whom I know in my gut I can trust to do this job as he promised, seems to only hold a county license when the bank is requiring a state one. And it’s not like he can go down to the courthouse and file some paperwork and get said license, the process can take months so it looked like we were once again sunk.

Only there was hope in the form of our contractor’s cousin, holder of the required state license and someone he’s worked for before. The bank and I both had the same thought: would Contractor S be willing to sign on as General Contractor and sub the work out to Contractor L? That was the question at hand.

It took a few days to arrange a meeting between S & L the following Saturday to go over the broad strokes of the deal, then Monday Banker R informed me we were back in business, Contractor S was willing and seemed like he had everything the bank would require of him, and we pushed the closing back two weeks to allow for paperwork processing.

And then we waited.

We waited a full week while Contractor S neglected to return phone calls or emails, did not submit the requested documentation, and generally made everyone uneasy. So uneasy, in fact, that our HUD Consultant called me at 9:30am this Saturday morning concerned about the state of affairs and fearful that we were about to be screwed over. Granted, the worst-case-scenario part of my brain (which was fairly well developed before we entered the real estate game) had already thought of all those angles and many more, but to hear someone other than the niggling voice in the back of my mind express them was not exactly how I wanted to start my weekend!

Did you ever have to endure group projects in school? I always hated them with a passion–first because I like to work alone, second because there always seemed to be an inequality of the effort put forth. Essentially the 80/20 rule in miniature, it bothered me to no end to be responsible for someone else’s grade only slightly less than it bothered me to have someone else responsible for mine!

Up until now, everyone involved in this venture has been fairly well invested in the process, either for purpose of personal gain (myself, the sellers, the Realtor, and Contractor L) or due to professional integrity (the lender, the lender’s assistant, the 2 outside inspectors, the HUD consultant, and the loan doc specialist). Dear heavens, that’s eleven people involved so far and all of them pulling their fair share of the work! But bringing in Contractor S was like having the odd-student-out assigned to a group of friends–they might possess a certain specific qualification needed to fulfill the assignment, but they’re not really all that invested in the process since their involvement is impersonal (in the student analogy, perhaps he plans to drop the course in a week, I don’t know…) .

After losing, all told, a week and a half to this delay, the people waiting on info from the new contractor have at least made contact with him. And, yes, I did try to express to him–both on the phone and in writing–the urgency of the situation, but I obviously didn’t get very far since it took a call from the lender’s assistant to actually see any progress. (Insert diatribe about being a woman dealing with the classic Southern good ol’ boys network and how being forceful gets you labeled as an uppity bitch while a man–hello, lender’s assistant–gets results. But, hey, if it continues to work, I’ll hold my tongue until the renovations are done. Mostly.)

So that’s where we’re at: the clock is ticking, we’ve had yet another setback but we’re still in the game. I remain cautiously optimistic (emphasis on the cautious) but I’m not breaking out the Champagne just yet.

Now, let’s see what tomorrow brings, shall we?