So we bought a house last week.
This may come as a surprise to regular readers who know that the whole point of this blog is that we bought a house just last year after managing to live 57 years without one.
We figured we should make up for lost time by purchasing a house every year until we die or until our money runs out, whichever comes first, which I hope would be the money running out, because if we die first, it would mean we’d be dead by next year, because that’s about when the money would be gone. Unless the houses we were buying were the kind that fit on a Monopoly board.
Anyway, just kidding about all of that. We didn’t actually buy another house. That would be silly. We bought the same house.
Yes, we bought our house again because that’s the only way we could sell it for more than we paid for it! Hah! Kidding again. We didn’t pay more for it. In fact, it appraised for exactly what we paid for it last year, which is a little disconcerting, considering how much it cost to have the kitchen redone. But it’s not like that money was wasted; after all, the entertainment value alone of watching them reconstruct that part of our house over six months was well worth it.
Of course, what we really did last week was refinance our mortgage. Interest rates had come down so much in only a year that it paid to do so. My nearest real estate professional, who is also my wife Barbara, had this whole formula that tells you when the rate has dropped enough to warrant dealing with banks and lawyers again.
And now I’m happy to report that our monthly payments will be about $500 more than they used to be.
I mentioned to Barbara that this was somewhat unexpected, since I thought the idea was to reduce our payments, and she pointed out that the new payments included escrow for taxes and insurance which I had previously been paying directly.
Still it bothered me. It made me get all introspective with myself because, really, who else would I get introspective with? Intellectually, I knew we were coming out ahead, and that I’d no longer be getting those large bills for taxes and insurance. But even though I’d be paying less every year, it peeved me that I’d be paying more every month.
Meanwhile, we had to spend an hour in an office* signing papers that some lawyers had made up. Someday, trees are going to acquire the power of mobility and kill every attorney they can find in the most painful way possible. Among the 147 pieces of paper** we had to sign and/or initial were:
- An acknowledgment that we had read the bank’s statement that it was their pleasure to serve us and that we should enjoy our new home. Did the bank not know that it was refinancing our old home?
- Another acknowledgment that we had seen some document we had just signed. I would have thought that our signatures on that document would be acknowledgment enough that we had seen it.
- A disclosure that nobody is allowed to discriminate against us when granting us a loan, which, considering that we were signing this at the closing, would seem to be self-evident, unless they were somehow discriminating against us by approving the loan.
- A document which asked me to verify that I was, in fact, me signing my name to all these papers. It asked me to verify this by signing that document. Has it not occurred to anyone that, if I was imposter, and I had falsely signed someone’s name to all the other documents, that I’d have no compunction in falsely signing this document as well?
Of course, if we had actually sat there and read all these documents, we’d still be there. So, instead, the paralegal said things like “And this just verifies that you haven’t done anything illegal to the residence, like installing a meth lab such as they have on the excellent TV series Breaking Bad which can be seen on the AMC network.”
After awhile, my hand began to cramp up because I’m really not used to writing so much in longhand (I’d make a lousy celebrity), but we got to pause for a bit to figure out how Barbara should sign her name. Should she use her middle initial or not? Ultimately, the lawyers decided to created a new piece of paper on the spot to attest to the fact that Barbara was Barbara, with or without a middle initial. She signed this in triplicate, two times each, with her initial and without.
As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of lawyers. But I really love our house.
We might buy it again next year.
See you soon.
*It was one of those temporary offices that they rent by the hour, like the rooms at that motel in your neighborhood nobody likes to talk about, so we didn’t even get to see a lawyer stand in front of a case of books that probably haven’t been opened this century. In fact, we didn’t even get to see a lawyer at all, just a paralegal who had to keep calling the real lawyer for instructions. (“Really? They have to initial every page? Even the ones that say ‘This page intentially left blank?'”)
**There were possibly only a dozen or so actual documents, but they were all in duplicate or triplicate, and they had to be initialed on each page and signed on multiple pages. In black ink. Has to be black ink. The paralegal even brought her own black pens to make sure. Now here’s what I don’t understand: it’s obviously very important to lawyers to have a live signature on all the copies, instead of just having a signature on the original and Xeroxing^ it three times. But with today’s photocopying technology, it’s difficult to tell the original from copies. So wouldn’t it make more sense to use blue ink so you could more easily tell if the signature was real and not copied (assuming a black and white copier)?
^I have just been informed by a lawyer that I’ve violated 39 trademark restrictions by using “Xerox” as a verb.
The “lawyer” depicted in this blog post is not our actual lawyer and may not, in fact, be a lawyer at all, and is not shown actual size. The meth dealer depicted in this blog post is actually the actor Bryan Cranston who only plays a meth dealer on TV. This disclaimer should be in a much smaller typeface but I can’t figure out how to get WordPress to do that.