Oh to Be a Shepherd

Long, long ago in a relationship far away, I once joked with someone about running away to Montana and herding goats for a living. I’m not even sure there are goats in Montana but that really wasn’t the point of the whole thing.

Not quite so long ago but still long ago, during one of the interminable management training sessions at Charles Schwab, we were forced to perform mock interviews on a partner. No one apparently was aware that I mock mock interviews for sport and my own amusement, so I gave a lengthy interview on being a shepherd.

These days, it’s hard not to look back on those two events and think it would have been one hell of a lot easier to be a shepherd. At least in theory, the sheep follow directions, right?

No one wants to hear a whining real estate agent so I’ll avoid that. However, this easily has been my most trying year, not from a financial standpoint or a business standpoint – by the end of the month I’ll be at a closed sale an average of every two weeks this year – but just in the sheer volume of stupidity that I’ve encountered.

  • First sale of the year, the lender misses the closing date. In the business, I think this is called foreshadowing.
  • Transaction three – the listing agent who removed the lockbox and the key immediately after closing without thinking it might help for the new owner to have a key to the property.
  • Number five – HUD home where the oven disappeared somewhere between the contract date and the close of escrow. The entire property was locked up which meant whomever took the oven likely had lockbox access. But listing agent would not share the lockbox report and HUD said a stolen oven wasn’t their issue.
  • Number six – wait … I’ll have to get back to you on this one as I don’t remember it at all. I’m sure it will come back to me. Count it as a positive for now.
  • Transaction nine – oh yes, the well. Folks, if you own acreage property and have a private well, make sure you use an FHA approved well agreement just in case you feel like selling somewhere down the line. Just take my word for it, okay? Thanks.
  • Number 11 – the short sale. Aside from the fact it took almost two years to sell, all went reasonably well with this one.
  • Number 15 – another short sale. House appraised for less than the Broker Price Opinion provided to the lender. Seven weeks later, we’re about to close.
  • Number 17 – another short sale, this time my listing. The appraiser enters the wrong sales price on the appraisal and everything seizes up. Through in a mortgage broker (as opposed to a mortgage lender) whose favorite line is “it’s out of my hands” and this one has been a joy.
  • Number 18 – closing was supposed to be this week. Lender apparently doesn’t know what a closing date is but that’s okay since the termite treatment that the seller promised to do isn’t being done until this coming Monday, almost a week after the scheduled closing date.

And I didn’t even get into the ineptitude of Commerce Title in handling the refund of an earnest deposit since that didn’t end in a closed transaction.

It would be almost entertaining if it weren’t taking years off my life dealing with lenders with no sense of urgency, no real concept of what a closing date may be and no concern for how delays impact both buyer and seller.

In more ways than one, it’s like running a preschool – the only thing missing is the loan officer in the corner eating paste. Then again, maybe they’ve gotten into the rubber cement – at least that would explain much of what’s happened this year.

Photo credit: Mike Baird via Flickr Creative Commons

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.