Thursday, June 29, 2006

Money: the problem solver

Do you ever just get into a situation where you wonder if it would be worth it to spend a lot of money just to avoid stress?
I just found out my real estate agent is on vacation for the next two weeks, so any hopes I had had of a timely closing on the condo are evaporating fast. Since my landlord wants to get another tenant into my apartment, I will now have to juggle my various options as to where I stay when I leave, where I store my stuff, and who moves my stuff.
The cheapest option might be to take my landlord up on his offer to store my belongings, if he can really fit them all in. That would mean getting some friends to help me move my stuff downstairs and figuring out which family and friends I'll crash with while I'm homeless. Then once my condo is ready, I'll hire movers. I have a few people who could be potential hosts, but there are some issues, such as distance, pets, whether they themselves might be moving, whether they'll have other guests, etc... and also just my innate reluctance to ask people for favors. I'm also worried that my landlord won't really have enough space, which would mean trying to split my stuff among more than one location, which will make the move into the condo a total nuisance.
The somewhat more expensive option would be to rent storage space, which would mean getting friends to help me load and unload a U-Haul into the storage space, and then I'd have movers get the stuff from storage to the condo.
Then there is the pull-out-the-stops expensive but least painful option: I get movers to put my stuff in storage. I sublet a furnished room, or even better, stay in a hotel for a long as necessary. Then I get movers to take my stuff out of storage.
Unfortunately, I think I am too frugal to take the most expensive option in this case. At least the hotel part of it-- that would go beyond the range of spending I'd consider for a convenience, more into the realm of wild extravagance I totally can't afford. As for the storage and hiring movers both times, I might just do it and consider it a few hundred extra dollars well spent.

But what I really want, unfortunately, is something that my money can't buy: a fast closing on my condo.


optioned unarmed said...

Friends' labor may be "free", but it is not without value... If I can afford a couple hundred bucks to pay movers and not risk my friends' backs, I consider it a better value for all concerned.

mapgirl said...

When I had heavy furniture, I felt really bad asking friends to risk their backs, so I hired a mover. Movers are also bonded and insured so if they break your stuff by accident, it won't ruin a friendship. (Last move a cheap lamp was broken. Fortunately, nothing else got damaged. But what if it had been grandma's special crystal or china?)

Sometimes, money really is a problem solver.

Sorry about the slow close. I feel ya. I had to do a two week rent back on my place and could not move in as soon as I wanted. You're lucky you don't have to deal with a rent-back situation since I hadn't heard any of that till the final week before settlement. It threw me all out of whack for the rest of the month. Luckily I asked my landlord if I could store my stuff in the basement of the old place for pro-rated rent while I was on vacation. He agreed, but fortunately, I didn't need it in the end.

optioned unarmed said...

On another note, isn't it nice to know that you actually have choices!

I remember money being so tight when I was younger that hiring movers was never on the table as even a remote option. Heck, occasionally we even coordinated moves with an additional party just so that we could share the same rental truck.

What a nice luxury it is to have the option of paying for convenience, regardless of the choice you actually make in the end.

Anonymous said...

How does it happen that your agent's personal schedule is causing a delay in closing? (gee, wasn't the closing on his calendar? shouldn't he send a rep in his place, if that's necessary at all).

Do you have an attorney involved? (or in NY does the lawyer simply represent the contract?)

I closed on my first condo (albeit in IL) on a day my agent had other obligations, but her presence wasn't necessary, I had a lawyer. I guess what I'm getting at is, does this particular agent have to be present for your closing to happen? Or am I missing the point-the vacation isn't delaying the closing per se?

D said...

My suggestion is to call the current owners of the condo you are purchasing. Or ask your realtor to (I don't care if they are on vacation). Remember you don't need your agent for closing.

You need to request from the current owners, if they are not living in the condo, time in the property before closing. Yes, you would pay them rent, generally above the going rate per day, but this would be cheaper than moving you and your stuff all over.

You should offer to provide them with assurances that you will be closing on the agreed upon date and possibly pay the rent ahead of time. You bank should be able to write you a letter of guarantee, showing you are getting the loan for the said property. You can ask what the owner would like.

Most times, when they understand your predicament and that you are not trying to take advantage they will work with you.

This will eliminate the need to put out others and probably save you money in the long run.

Good luck.

Miguel said...

Agree with much of the above advice.

Two things you should try to do:

1) Try to close ASAP without the agent (or with an agent stand-in).

2) Ask the condo seller to permit you to rent before closing. The attornies can negotiate terms that would make it costly for you to delay closing, etc. to get the owners comfortable. Personally, I wouldn't go for it if I were the sellers, but doesn't hurt to ask.

In my experience, r.e. transactions never go as scheduled. Your 1st mistake was not leaving yourself a nice timing cushion on your present rental situation. The best use of your time and money would have been to commit to an extra month in your apt beyond what you thought was necessary (if that was an option).

Bottom-line, it sounds like your broker is making their problem, your problem. Don't you think they are getting paid enough to interrupt their vacation and handle this, or at least make provisions to have a stand-in work with you. Now, they are costing you real money. I would call the owner of the agency and start griping about how much time and money they are costing you, and that you want somebody assigned to your closing ASAP.

R.E. is unfortunately one of those areas of life, where nice and gentle equals everybody walks all over you. Time to get in touch with your inner hosility.

And FWIW, spend the money on movers and storage. Save the health and well-being of your friends (not to mention your own sanity). One very significant aspect of building wealth is understanding your own limitations and when you need professional help. When it comes to difficult, dangerous activities, outside my area of expertise, I hire somebody, so that I do not endanger my health, which would in turn endanger my income stream (i.e. my ability to work).

James L said...

i am thinking that you're waiting on the approval of the temp C of O, which can take a looooong time for new construction. With my apartment, I was told at one point I would close in October, but did not close until the following April. Luckily, I was living with my parents so it wasn't that much of a headache (relatively speaking).

Once you get the temp C of O, you still have at least 2 weeks to go before actually signing the papers and such. I don't think you should make drastic plans until you know for sure that the temp CO is ready. You can check on the status here:

Lastly, I would ask the landlord if he could let you stay at your apt on a month-to-month basis, maybe even paying him a bit more money?? (Maybe the additional money you would pay him to keep your stuff for you???)

Miguel said...


If you are waiting for temp CofO, there really is no telling when that will occur. If that is the case, then as James says, you need to hunker down in a flexible situation. Definately try to stay put, even if you have to give LL some extra assurnances or money. It will be worth it both financially and mentally.

Anonymous said...

You might want to check out PODs too if you cann't move into the new condo. They are basically a moving van box that you load yourself, they move and/or store, then you unload. The storage option is better than the normal moving van folks, as you lock the pod, and they never unload it--just deliver it to you when you call. My sister took advantage of thism, and she was thrilled with them--she's MA, not NY, so I don't know the availability....

Single Ma said...

What kind of RE agent goes on vacay right before closing?? You don't really need her/him at settlement but damn, what else did they do with a new construction purchase to earn their pay?

Can your current landlord allow you to rent for just one more month? If you close at the end of the month (July), your first payment isn't due until Sept 1st so in essence you'll have a rent free month (Aug). Having to move twice sucks!

If this isn't an option, I like the PODs idea, but then again, the thought of living with other people gives me a migraine.

Madame X said...

Wow, thanks for the tips everyone. Yes, it's the c-of-o status that I am not sure about right now-- last I heard they didn't have it and I'm trying to get an update. Another broker is covering things while mine is away but of course everyone's away for the holiday.
My BIG mistake was trying to be nice by giving my landlord an early warning that I would PROBABLY be leaving by the end of July. He took this as a go-ahead to sign a lease with someone else for Aug. 1! I haven't had an official lease since the first year I moved in, so I think I'm on shaky ground. I am looking into subletting an apartment for the month of August so I don't have to drive my friends and family nuts!

Miguel said...

Ah, so it is the CofO issue. Hate to tell you, but that could be days or months, no telling. The DOB cannot be rushed. As somebody who has been through the CofO process before, I can tell you that nobody can reliably predict the CofO timing. I got a new CofO for my bldg (in Park Slope by the way), and the inspectors would find some new issue on each visit, which would then delay me another month or two. This went on for months on end. At one point the inspector who had nearly cleared us, got transferred to the Bronx and we had to start all over again with a new (much tougher) inspector. Then, once we were cleared, there was the waiting game of actually getting the official paperwork from DOB.

Well, my whole point here is that you need to find a place to stay where you'll be welcome for more than a couple of weeks, potentially much longer.

Obviously, you never should have given the LL a heads up. If it's any consolation, same thing happened to me when I bought my 1st home. Gave LL a heads up and found myself nearly homeless when she rented the apt out from under me, and sellers tried to delay closing.

One of the few times I've gone totally over-the-top ballistic - let lose on the seller, the broker, the lawyers, etc. Gotta say, it worked, we closed on time, we moved just in the nick of time, etc.

Where r.e. is concerned normal rules of civilization do not apply. Sometimes you gotta crack some heads.

Bitty said...

Your problems are so interesting, Madame X! :)