With each passing year in this business I consider myself that much more experienced with the workings of a real estate transaction. I even go as far as believing that there can’t be a deal breaker out there large enough to pass under my radar without plenty of advance warning. But each time I begin to feel my sense of confidence rise to a level of “I can do no wrong”, acts of nature surely knock me down a peg or two to remind me that such a level will never exist – not in this lifetime. I compare this type of artificial confidence to the naivety associated with the sinking of the Titanic. “God himself could not sink this unsinkable ship!” so many proclaimed back in the day.
I have a terrific client who was sent to me by a local Branch Manager with Bank of America’s Home Loan Division. No to point fingers or blame this “oops” moment on any particular entity, I just thought it compliments my inflated sense of confidence for this blog post. Moving on…. I find the perfect home for my client and write a strong offer for him which includes his solid gold pre-approval letter issued by no other than B of A! I immediately present my offer to the listing agent for acceptance. My offer is accepted with little difficulty and my client is delighted. My confidence begins its rise to a level that feels as if I’m walking on air; light and happy as if I’ve got my head in the clouds. Why should I need to worry about this transaction with my client’s solid gold Bank of America approval letter provided to me as if it were a “get out of jail free” card.
Throughout the process I begin to get to know my new client little by little. We discuss his occupation as a deputy sheriff with nearly 30 years on the job. I meet his grown daughter who is also in law enforcement and enjoy listening to the two of them banter back and forth about their experiences on the job. They begin to talk about “mom” and how she’s doing now compared to the married years of so long ago. They reminisce about the old days and look forward to the future when dad will be living just a few blocks away from his daughter when this purchase is all said and done. We are all so happy.
During my moments of “bliss” I begin to hear references to “the divorce”. “The divorce” begins to push the clouds floating around my head away as I begin to see it before me like an unveiled dimension to my client’s current situation. Wow! My client is in the middle of a divorce, not past it. He is purchasing a home for himself while still legally married. Hmm…could this be an obstacle for him in his blissful pursuit to reside closer to his daughter? No way! Mr. Branch Manager from B of A would have certainly smoothed the way around this blatant fact before handing me my “golden letter”. Oh! And they currently own the home that “mom” lives in right now. Imagine that!
We are now 30 days into this transaction with only a few weeks ahead to close escrow. I feel so ignorant not to have picked up on this fact before now. My client must have his non-purchasing spouse agree to have her credit checked, her debt analyzed and of course the always necessary notarized signature on a Quit Claim Deed removing her from any right of title to the newly purchased community property asset that I was so confident about procuring. Wee!! Like taking candy from a baby! Wee!! Whoever said “ignorance is bliss” was spot on with this one. The clouds are gone, the sun is glaring at me and once again I question my ability to successfully perform my job. I know, I know. Another lesson learned from the book that will never have an ending. My “golden letter” just turned into ------.