The closing office looked like a front for some other type of operation. It just didn’t look official. It was one enormous room split into a few smaller closing rooms by partial walls. The walls ended a few feet before the ceiling, so there was a persistent din from other people’s closings. When we arrived, people were sort of meandering around the office, and there was a sense of nervous energy, exacerbated by the florescent lighting. Another couple was sitting in the waiting area, looking angry.
We were ushered into our closing room. I had no idea how many people were going to be there. It was like a clown car. Sarah! Sandy! Our agent! The seller’s agent! The seller’s attorney! Our extremely tall and jovial mortgage broker!
While we waited for the most important clown of all, our attorney, to show up, the mortgage broker started walking us through the papers. At least five different times he said some version of “so this paper says you should just pay your loan, ha ha ha !” Or, “these are the penalties if you don’t pay, but we know that’s not a problem, ha ha ha!” I didn’t totally see what was funny, but I made polite laughing noises.
Then our mortgage broker gave us a bottle of wine, from a vineyard with his same last name. He had affixed a picture of himself and his office information to the back of the wine bottle. There was some confusion over whether this was actually from his family vineyard, but eventually (“ha ha ha”) he confessed that it was just a coincidence.
Through all of this, the seller’s agent calmly flipped through an issue of “The Real Estate Times” and looked profoundly bored.
When our lawyer arrived, he walked us back through the same papers that the broker had just walked us through. He wasn’t a nervous laugher, although he did make the same basic jokes… just more deadpan.
Later it turned out he was from my town, his mom is a big fan of my dad, and his sister had my dad as an English teacher. This is a pretty frequent type of coincidence in these parts, although occasionally the connection is that the person had my mom as their Lamaze teacher.
Then, the signing extravaganza began. Initialing, signing, initialing, signing. So. Many. Pages. We got them out of order, and I was not entirely heartened when the closing lady (22, very bored, lots of makeup) said, “oh, it doesn’t matter.”
The seller’s attorney kept interrupting our attorney and interjecting comments about some other issue that to me sounded like a completely different language. “Blah, blah, escrow, blah, blah, fax, blah, blah, here, how does this look?” She started wandering in and out of the room and sliding papers across the table to our attorney.
And then, it was done. Everything was signed. Just like that. We owned our home.
Except, we didn’t get to take possession until the next day. Oh cruel fate! After all of that, we had to go back to Sandy’s, put our shorts and t-shirts back on, and keep packing. Talk about an anti-climax.