There we were, a bank account filling with funds earmarked for purchasing a vehicle for me. I had my hopes set on a Jeep as I loved my 04 Grand Cherokee Laredo and was also fond of my 2010 Jeep Liberty. The plan was to purchase my Jeep and then start saving up to buy a house. The Norns had woven a different story.
You can’t live in a car, even a roomy one.
It all started with a letter from our landlord. Our family had been renting our home for nearly two years by then. We’d been month-to-month for the last year of that. The letter was a 60-day notice of non-renewal. Clark and I hired a realtor and found a broker.
The realtor found us a house we liked but didn’t love. She put in a bid that was quickly accepted. Then she started having us put money into the place. Things that she claimed we would have to do in order to pass the inspection for the loan to be approved.
She hired a realtor friend to install a railing constructed of 2x4s at the expense of $400 paid equally between us and the seller. She brought in an HVAC company for a $60 inspection and then approved some repairs to the heating system. She brought in a plumber and approved hundreds of dollars worth of repairs on the bathroom and kitchen. She assured us that we would only have to pay for any of these repairs IF we closed.
We were growing more and more uncomfortable as she was spending our money while we slept and then telling us about it after the fact. We never gave her that kind of permission. In fact, we never even signed any kind of contract with her. The straw that broke the camel’s back came on the morning that she hired the plumber.
What’s a little fraud among friends?
Actually, it started the night before with an email from the broker. We had received paperwork that needed to be signed. Most of it could be e-signed and was everything we expected to sign. Then, there was the paper that needed to be notarized.
That paper was a government form declaring that no other adults besides the two of us would be residing in the home. Our son was 24 at the time and was absolutely planning to move with us. I reached out to the broker to question this paper. Shortly after the realtor had approved a few hundred dollars worth of plumbing repairs, I heard back from the broker.
He said we had three options. The first one, the one he recommended most, was the simplest option. Sign the paperwork. Nobody was going to investigate. The second was for my son to find somewhere to live on paper. He could stay with us but have his change of address put him living with someone else. The third one was to throw our son out of our home.
While Clark and I discussed our options, both the realtor and the broker were blowing up our phones pressuring us to make a decision. The texts began to get ugly. We were still within our inspection period, and the idea of committing fraud was a terrifying one. We told them that we just weren’t comfortable with any of the options presented to us, and we wanted out.
It took getting our lawyers involved and many months of fighting before we got most of our earnest monies back. We did end up paying for a portion of those repairs. The realtor was forced to eat the rest of those costs.
While we fought with them, we still had no time to waste. Our attorneys reached out to the landlord. After pointing out that she would still be required to take us to court in order to evict us, they were able to get us a written agreement for a two-month extension. We hired ourselves a new realtor and found a new broker.
Starting from scratch.
Once the new broker had found us a loan avenue that wouldn’t require us to commit fraud or throw our son out, she made quick work of securing a pre-approval and issuing the letter for our realtor. As soon as we had that letter, we began looking at houses. There were a few that we considered but none that we were certain of. Then I wandered into the Other listings section of Zillow.
I wasn’t sure what Zillow might classify as “other.” I found a handful of undeveloped properties. These were some beautiful plots of land, but we definitely weren’t looking for one of those. Just as I was deciding that Other listings might only be plots of undeveloped land, I saw a cute little house that caught my eye. It was for sale by owner.
Clark and I looked at three houses that day. The first was put together awkwardly, and we really weren’t impressed. The second was cute and had a lot of potential, but there were more than a handful of downsides to it, as well. When I walked into the kitchen of the third house, I was in love.
Just in the nick of time.
We began the purchasing process all over again with the new house. It took nearly two months for the entirety of the loan process, though the processing of the loan itself took only days. During this time, we were still fighting for our earnest money from the previous brokerage and seller, who were pointing the finger at each other as the reason for the hold-up. We were also beginning to worry that we’d run out of time with the landlord and end up in court on top of it all. When it did finally arrive, we had to explain the deposit to the loan processor.
Clark and I closed just two weeks before the extension ran out at our rental home. We had both saved our vacation in order to use it to move. We took the week of Thanksgiving off. It took us the entirety of that week because, in spite of the months of reminders to do so, our children had not packed any of their personal belongings. Finally, we were settled into our own home and could start saving again.
Have I mentioned the truck, yet?
During all this time that we were having to put everything into moving, Clark’s truck had started to act up. I can’t remember what order it happened in, but we lost a lot of power to the dashboard. Currently, we have no dash lights (can’t even see how fast he’s driving in the dark) and only high beams. The power socket on the dash has no power. But, worst of all is the fact that we have no heat.
Just trying to get by.
We do just about everything we can in the daylight hours. This negates the need for headlights, so it eliminates the problem of only having high beams. It also negotiates around the inability to read the dash at night. We ordered an in-car defroster, which plugs into the power socket of a car. If you recall, there is no power to the dash’s power socket. Luckily, there is one at the back of the center console for those in the backseat to use.
We’ve had a relatively mild winter thus far here in Michigan. I have Hashimoto’s and need extra assistance in keeping warm. This is why I keep a crocheted blanket in the truck for extra warmth. I wrap up in my winter coat, top my head with the hat I crocheted years ago, and slide my hands into a pair of gloves that don’t seem as warm as they used to be.
Feeling the crunch.
The price of just about everything just keeps climbing. The total of our grocery bill seems to increase every week in spite of the cutbacks I keep adding to the ever-growing list of things I now consider a splurge. Meanwhile, the costs of electricity and gas are rising. Next month the electric company is switching to time of day rates and will charge more for electricity used from 3pm to 7pm on weekdays.
We arrive at today.
Today, I am sitting at home in my living room when I should be at work. Why? Because last night an ice storm came through and encased the truck. That tiny little device we ordered online isn’t strong enough to break through the layers, and there isn’t anything coming through the vents at all. This leaves us both down far too many hours amidst the rising costs of living when we need to buy one and repair another vehicle.
I have no structured settlement, but I need cash now.
And all I need is your credit card number. Just kidding. If, however, you are feeling inclined to offer some help, purchasing my books is a great way to help my funds grow.
When they move to a new house, Bear B and Stone meet new friends, but not everyone is friendly.
-illustrated chapter book
Monster Beneath my Bed
A mostly true story about a monster found living under one little girl’s bed.
-rhyming picture book
I Love the Changing Seasons
This award-winning story celebrates all the seasons.
-rhyming picture book
Tiffany’s New Car
2 thoughts on “a tumultuous quest for a new vehicle”
The audacity of suggesting a fraud, or, even “better” throwing your son out of home… Wonder how didn’t he think of suggesting murdering him? 🤨
Hope things start getting better! 🍀🍀🍀
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Thanks Yorgos KC. ☺
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