My Pursuit, Part II: Getting to Closing

by Shilpi Paul

A couple weeks ago, I shared the story of the hunt for my first home. This article is about the path from our offer being accepted to closing, which was long and uncertain.

Finally sold.

When we first viewed the property that would eventually become our home, the seller (who was also the listing agent) shuttled us quickly from one room to the next, gently pushing my back to speed me up while whispering that the current tenant wasn’t thrilled that prospective buyers were trampling around in her home. We sympathized. We were tenants, too, and knew how we would feel if someone was uprooting us. But this was business, and the process was barreling forward in all its bureaucratic glory.

First Try

Our offer (contingent on the tenant moving out) was accepted in late June, with a closing date of August 26th. As many UrbanTurf readers know, DC’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act gives existing tenants the first shot to buy their home. In this case, there was no offer from the current tenants, so we felt good to go.

The next few weeks were spent setting up the home inspection, getting appraisals, talking to our lender, meeting with contractors, finding insurers and letting our current roommates and landlords know that we were leaving. We also moved some money around and organized paperwork to get our financing in order. It never once occurred to us that we wouldn’t take possession on August 26th. We did notice that the tenant was around during the inspection and hadn’t yet found a new place, and paused when the seller introduced us to her as “your new landlords.”

At the end of August, the seller told us that, the tenant had indeed not moved out of the unit we planned on moving into. She asked if we would still like to go through with the closing and take it on as a rental unit. We did not.

Thwarted, we dropped into a tailspin. Should we abandon this house and look for another without tenants? With dwindled energy, we started halfheartedly looking at listings. We were in limbo, not sure if we should continue our search for bathroom tiles and a contractor or put our energy towards finding a new house.

Next Try

A couple weeks passed, and the seller came back to us with good news: the tenant found a place she liked and wanted to move in on October 1st. We put the wheels back in motion, setting a new closing date of October 3rd and lining up all our ducks again. Wary and marginally more savvy, we took an “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach to this date.

Another complication emerged: the tenant used a Section 8 voucher, which subsidizes the cost of housing for low-income residents. Because of that, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) needed to sign off on her new apartment. As October 1st approached, we waited for the paperwork to wind its way through HUD’s labyrinthine halls. The second closing date arrived with no news from HUD. The tenant couldn’t move in to her new place, we couldn’t move in, new roommates couldn’t move in to our current abodes and we were digging around in already-packed boxes to find a blanket. If the tenant didn’t get HUD approval soon, their new landlord may just give the apartment to another renter, putting us all back where we started.

Try, Try Again and Success!

At this point, we detached for a while. We went about our lives, putting the house out of our minds as much as possible. Good deals are worth waiting for, we decided. Finding a new home would probably take longer than waiting this out, and we didn’t want the tenant to be out on the streets. And, we never wanted the tenant to be in a position where she didn’t have a roof over her head.

Ultimately, after much uncertainty, HUD approval finally came through towards the end of October, in time for the tenant to get her new place. On November 2nd, we arrived for our walk-through just as the tenant was driving away and we waved to each other. Closing happened right after that. So, after four months and many lessons learned, we finally got ourselves a home.

(Almost. We are in the midst of renovating, and the third and final installment of this series will appear in a couple months, when we’re finally moved in.)

See other articles related to: dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/my_pursuit_part_2_getting_to_the_close/4637

1 Comment

  1. xmal said at 4:23 pm on Wednesday November 23, 2011:

    Can’t wait for the Third Installment!

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