The next few weeks after the inspection is complete and the Purchase and Sale is signed are tedious. First you apply for a mortgage, then insurance, and finally you wait…for a long time. Time that feels endless. Time you wish could be spent doing something constructive. Tearing up floors, cleaning, and painting. Or at the very least, planning the new space.
We were directed to a lender by our real estate agent, who told us he was the best. I, becoming the ever picky buyer, was not impressed by his email demeanor. For one thing, his organizational skills left something to be desired. When we first reached out to him about increasing our pre-approval limit he somehow misplaced the email containing our bank statements and pay stubs, forcing us to resend our materials. Then, after we forwarded him the signed P&S, he sent us quotes showing the wrong down payment.
Given that this was the biggest purchase either of us has ever made, and I was not feeling particularly confident in our lender, I asked if we could meet in person to discuss our options. After reading a long list of articles about mortgages in preparation for our meeting, I was feeling rather puckish the day we walked into the bank. I figured with our credit history we could probably negotiate some of the closing costs. Unfortunately, he shot me down immediately and said their prices were as low as we would find and that he could offer no wiggle room. My response was to basically pout during the rest of the meeting while he pointed out why each and every fee listed in his breakdown was required when buying a house in this state.
That night, my husband diligently sought out offers from other lenders (and unsurprisingly, what the first lender said turned out to be true, his bank was the cheapest), but we were pleasantly surprised the next day when our lender, the same one who told us the day before that we were getting their best offer and had 24 hours to lock down interest rates, emailed to say he could drop the origination fee completely. Turns out, my stubbornness and ability to give stink eye for an hour saved us almost a grand!
Next, we had to apply for homeowner’s insurance. We reached out to three different agents recommended by the lender. The first was shot down immediately for being too aggressive and asking for details from our inspection we weren’t comfortable sharing while the other two sent in offers so different from one another that we had to spend a few hours reading about deductibles and replacement costs to make our final selection.
As the deadline for our mortgage approval closed in, we sat diligently by, waiting to send in our updated bank statements and pay stubs, careful not to spend any unnecessary money, hoping that all would go smoothly and we’d be able to close on time. We’ve been back to the house a couple times since our first visit, for the inspection and to do some measuring, and each time we’ve fallen more in love with the place.
Now that our mortgage has been approved, all that remains is to wait. We don’t close on the house for another two weeks. That’s two whole weeks where we are trapped in our current apartment, unable to make future plans for the house or spend money. Two weeks before we throw down the last big payment and they hand us the keys. Then we need to renovate, ripping up carpets and painting the walls. It will still be another month and a half before we will be ready to move completely into the house. Because it is my natural state, I of course am spending that time the only way I know how, worrying and stressing.
As excited as I am about owning our own home and about the house itself, I’m still ambivalent about moving out of Somerville. I’m excited, scared, frustrated, and sad. I want to be in our house right now and at the same time I want the sale to fall through and force us to sign the lease on our apartment for another year. I listen to our upstairs and downstairs neighbors, the traffic from the street below, and I think, yep, time to go! Then I hear the distant beat of a drum as a marching band walks down the bike path or listen to the cluck of somebody’s chicken on a quiet Sunday morning and think I’m not ready to leave this place.
Why would I want to give up late night walks to JP Licks or last minute tickets to a show at the Somerville Theatre? Is it worth it to have a porch, to be able to paint or redecorate whenever we want, to have no upstairs or downstairs neighbors, no barking below or arguing above, no strange laundry left behind in the washing machine, no grumbling about how tall the grass is or how nobody takes out the trash or shovels in the winter. I know the answer. I do. I’m still sad. Somerville has been my home for 9 years. It will be hard to leave it behind (though, as my husband points out, it is still just a bus ride away).
Yesterday I started going through one of our closets to prepare for the move, but I got weepy every time I thought about leaving. Today, I sat in one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, annoyed because I’ve eaten the same three dishes here the last six times we’ve been, yet I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I realize that we won’t be coming here nearly as often. Soon, storefronts will change and I won’t notice right away. Then, I’ll decide I’m not up for the bus ride to Davis Square for ArtBeat or Union Square for What the Fluff. We’ll hardly ever eat at Painted Burro, Posto, or Saloon. Lord knows if I can’t get myself out for the farmer’s market or Union Square Donuts now, how am I ever going to do it when I’m two towns away?
I’m not going to wallow in this self pity any more tonight. For one thing, this is not really an occasion for sadness; it’s exciting because we are almost done buying a house, and that does not warrant a pity party. Unless something major happens in the next two weeks, you’ll not hear from me again until we actually close on the house. Then you’ll get to hear about renovations. Won’t that be fun?