Escrow: Vermouth Cocktail with Grapefruit

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

-The cure to pre-home ownership woes. Also, my current loan company people are pretty awesome. I just need to vent so bear with me here.-

Congratulations! You are in escrow! The home of your dreams is soon to be yours! What? It's a HUD owned home? No worries, this won't be too much different from a regular escrow.

Confused about what to do first? Follow this handy step-by-step guide!

1. Collect all the information your loan company needs to move forward with escrow. This includes a government-issued ID, a month's worth of pay stubs, a credit report, and information on any major loans you currently owe on.

2. Oh, you already gave them that? Hmm, something must have been lost in the mix. Well, just re-email the electronic copies you made. Or fax the hard copies you have again. No worries!

3. Time to get your inspections done. This means that some people will come out and make sure your home is in working order. This is kind of pricey, about $500 to get the roof, pest, and general inspections done. However, this will save money in the long run if they find major problems.

4. Write out another check to the appraisal guy who will tell you what your house is worth and what needs to be addressed in order to receive your loan.

5. There's nothing majorly wrong with the home aside from a few tiny fixes that need to be addressed. Huzzah! You got the appraisal back, too! The house is worth more than what you will pay for it. Double huzzah! You just have to fix a small leak in the kitchen, too. No biggie, right?

6.  The loan officer is says you have to fix these problems before closing escrow. Okay!

7. HUD will not allow you to fix anything before closing. It is government policy. Uh... so... okay.

8. Uh-oh! The loan company says tough shit. You try to get them to talk to each other, but you have a better chance of immaculately conceiving and birthing a neon green giraffe. Neither will budge.

9. Have a drink!

10: Holy crap, you now have to find a brand new loan company to move forward.

11. You need an extension from HUD. Break out that checkbook because an extension will cost you $375 plus an additional $25 a day. You have never written so many checks before. How exciting!

12. Drink again like there's a winning lotto ticket at the bottom of the glass to cover all these checks.

13. The new loan company needs all of your information. Repeat step 1 and probably step 2.

14. Oh my poorly stucco'ed hell, you need new documents because half of them are outdated by two months. Get to scanning and faxing all over again.

15. You now have to pay for a new appraisal because the government said that using the same appraisal from a licensed appraiser for a new loan company could encourage fraud, completely nullifying part of the purpose of licensing them to begin with. Another check written. Thanks, government, for making this so much easier!

16. Drink. Drink because it makes the pain go away.

17. Write another check. Who knows what for? Your agent said you need to, so, whatever.

18. Drink more. Blackout. Drink again.

19. What happened? You need to buy a dishwasher to install to have a complete kitchen so pass the loan company's muster? Why? You're demo'ing the kitchen anyways! It's just going to get uninstalled! Plus, you have no idea how to shop for appliances because you can't try them out and the reviews online aren't that helpful. The loan company says it must be done TODAY. Don't make me cut you, you bitches!

20. Cut a bitch.

21. Cut all the bitches.

22. Drink. Hide the shiv. No one must know.


So what to drink during all this mess? I highly encourage this little cocktail I learned about during a panel about vermouth I attended at this year's IACP.

It's just one part dry vermouth, one part dry sherry, a shake of orange bitters, and a twist of grapefruit. It is a drink that is not just sophisticated, but also tastes like Tallulah Bankhead swaggered up next to you and kissed you on the mouth - uplifting, dry, and so damn charming. If you could live in Orange County and be so rich you could totally evade taxes legally and give that whole experience a taste: this would be it. Very privileged in flavor. Absurdly so. 


  1. Try buying a house in another country (ok, it's Canada, but still... another country) where the lawyer from step whatever uses the "F" word because of a mistake you made.

    A Sidecar is the only cure. If you are ever in Banff the Sidecar at the Fairmont will cure whatever ails you.

  2. Yeah. Buying a home sucks. But when you are done, it will be worth it. Just smile and nod. And at the end of the day have a drink.

  3. Well. That's messed up.

    If it makes you feel any better, I was so stressed and frustrated about buying our home. And then we got the keys yesterday. Husband and I proceeded to have a dance party in our bare living room that we'll probably furnish with our camp chairs until we can afford something better...but we don't even care because it's OURS.

  4. Buying a home made me want to tear out all my hair. I would have much rather had one (or twenty) of these cocktails.

    I once had the seller's agent call and literally scream at me for having the audacity to go out and buy a new car. My truck had died - could not be resuscitated dead - and I knew I had to get something cheap in order to get back and forth to work (as I had a 30 mile commute into the city), so I bought a Neon. I told him in very small words that I didn't have a job if I couldn't get there, and I certainly wasn't buying the house if I didn't have a job.

    1. Yeah, I got lectured for a new laptop to replace the busted one. =P

    2. UGH. I totally feel your pain.

  5. If nothing else, this makes me feel a teensy tiny bit better knowing that we're not the only ones dealing with house selling or buying insanity. Every time my cell rings, my stomach drops into my feet. The worst kind of Pavlovian response. I may begin to drink when it rings from now on...

    1. I am sure I will drive my agent to suicide. ;)

  6. And even if the home inspector doesn't find it, five years later you will discover terrifying mold in your basement and a crumbling foundation anyway. YAY. YAY HURRICANES. Good thing the basement is where you keep all the beer.

    1. Thank god we don't have basements in California.

  7. Wait - you have to buy a dishwasher? I guess I can see if it was the stove that was missing, but many kitchens down't have dishwashers.... Also, at least in Texas and Iowa (the two states where I have bought), there are lots of houses sold without all the appliances -- especially in Texas, where the fridge is ALWAYS missing, no matter whether the house is new or old, or HUD or anything else.

    Also, my loan officer this last time went on vacation just as some of my paperwork was due, and her replacement totally screwed things up. It delayed my closing by at least 3 weeks. I figure I was lucky they didn't just sell it to someone else...

  8. I always say....Can there BE enough alcohol?!! Thanks for my LOL moment this are a riot. Love, love, love your blog. My daughter is currently buying her first home so if misery loves company, I think you have lots!

  9. Can you put a dishwasher in my house too? I've lived here for 17 years and don't have one (except for my husband's and my two hands).

  10. Garrtet, this saga of no and drink continues until you close the house. When we close the house, title company make us wait for almost 3 hours and finally then they called in to sign it was around 6.00 Clock. They told us no we can't give you key as it is after 5.0 clock, you can get the key tomorrow by 10. 30. I told my husband, okay if they are not giving me the key even after paying all the down payment, I don't care. I am not going to sign it. Until they give me the key. Hubby was got so upset and ready to sign, but I was not.
    Finally they called our house agent and made arrange key at the same evening. Then only I signed. So don't worry, you are going to see more and more until the house is closed and you get the key.

  11. Amazing what a nightmare experience home-buying is, isn't it? My husband and I bought ours last year and since it was a short sale, we also had to get the approval of the seller's bank (I think the process from when we first saw the house and made an offer to getting the keys took just over five months -- five very tiring months). It was such a trial going through the process of our offer being approved before even getting to escrow then all the usual inspections and not-usual-liens and such and still not knowing how things were going to work out (when all that was left was for the sellers to sign the paperwork, we learned they left the country for a week or so -- right before escrow was supposed to close so we were afraid, with all the other problems we'd encountered because of them, that they were never going to return and we'd lose everything we'd spent to get to that point, which is money we couldn't afford to lose). We decided, if the sale fell through, we would wait a few years before looking for a house again because the process just sucked the life right out of us for several months. The only couple I know who didn't go through this nightmare paid all cash for their home and changed hands one week after making their offer (then learned they had a grading issue after the first hard rain). Still, we were happy to get our house, even with the oven that hadn't worked in the 20 years the previous owners owned the house, the proximity to the freeway (right behind our house), the really really weird interior paint colors (we have a purple & brown room, a black & red room we think of our "Les Miserables" room, a paprika-colored kitchen & dining area and cinnamon-colored library). I see great promise (starting with having gotten a free double-oven via Freecycle while we were in escrow so we ripped that non-working 50-year old tiny little oven right out).

  12. That settles it - I'm forever living in Tobbit, the VW Rabbit Truck.

  13. Bit messed up. Still laughed.


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