I’m sitting here waiting on [Bob’s Discount Furniture](http://www.mybobs.com) to deliver our bedroom sets and family room furniture. I want to go out and explore the neighborhood and stuff I need for the house, but I’m stuck here with not a lot to do. I know next week at this time, when I’ll be surrounded by boxes I’ll wish for a moment like this. I’d like to say leaving Stamford, CT was hassle-free, but it wasn’t. At least I can now blog/vent in the clear. I am a very careful blogger, and if there’s a chance that a party will read my blog and it will change the outcome of a project (or home sale) I’ll self-censor. Never lost anything that mattered to me because of a blog post, don’t intend to start now.
I have some time before my furniture will be delivered. Nice that I don’t have to call and pester them…they did give me a 3 hour window of 9:50 am to 12:50 am but their website says they’ll be here closer to 2 pm. Hey, I can even great the driver by name:
First the good…I’m lovin’ New Jersey so far. Yesterday, I got my new [Select Comfort](http://www.selectcomfort.com) bed that I can’t wait to sleep on for the first time tonight. [Great American Closet](http://www.greatamericancloset.com) installed shelving in the master closets and they did a wonderful job. A handyman is adding extra outlets to my office, fixing a broken dimmer switch in the dining room, installing a garage door opener and changing the locks. Everyone we met has been friendly, we’re experiencing sticker shock at how reasonably priced things are ($2.09 for a gallon of milk!!). Except for auto registration…it will cost over $300 to register my soon-to-be new Honda Odyssey for 4 years. Oh, and traffic on Route 1 around Princeton? Not fun. Got my pool tags in the mail today, and we got the final payment from the sale of the house in Stamford and it’s this that I want to blog about.
Our house in Stamford had been under contract since early February. All agreed up front that the closing date would be June 20th. Knowing this, we scheduled our closing here for June 22nd. While the house was under contract, the new owners contacted us from time to time to ask questions, get references for lawn maintenance, alarm maintenance, etc. We exchanged email and had friendly communication.
We asked for a morning close so we would have enough time to deposit the check in the bank and turn it around to a new check for our closing on the 22nd. [Bank of America](http://www.bankofamerica.com) asked for 24 hours. A few weeks before the close, we receive a call from my attorney that the buyers’ attorney would be out of town that day and at best, we could have a late afternoon closing. No, that wouldn’t work for us as we had to have the check deposited on Monday. We went back and forth for a while, investigating all our options and finally we agreed to close on Friday, with a $5,000 holdback agreement since all the utilities were going until June 20th and the movers were coming on Saturday, June 18th. I knew getting the stuff out of the house would take all day and I wanted Sunday to clean and get the house ready for a Monday walkthrough.
A few days before the close, my broker calls. The buyers want to walk through and take possession of the house at 10 am on Sunday. Um, no, that won’t work as I knew I couldn’t have everything cleaned and ready a full 24 hours before we originally planned. We compromised on a 4 pm walk through instead. I assumed we’d get everything out on Saturday and I’d have the day on Sunday for cleaning.
Friday, the close went smoothly. Saturday, the movers were due at 9 am but they had truck problems and didn’t arrive until 2:30 pm. I think my mover is great and I’m not mad at him. These things happen and they worked their you-know-whats off. By 9:30 pm not everything was on the truck. Eric and I crashed at a local motel and I arrived at the house at 8:30 am to do what I could to get things clean around the boxes that were still left. The whole time, Eric is telling me that I’m taking it too far since it only has to be “broom clean.” Regardless, I give him a bottle of Windex and paper towels and order him to wash down the windows and mirrors, I scrub the toilets, wipe down all the surfaces, vacuum the carpets, mop down the hardwood/tile and dust as best I can with one eye on the clock as the hours tick off to the 4 pm deadline. This is a 4200 sq. ft. home…takes a while!
We leave the keys with my broker and drive off at 3 pm. At 4:30 pm my broker calls and says that they buyers didn’t like how I left the kitchen and they want to hold back $500 of the $5000. Say what? Why? Well, when I took the garbage bag out of the kitchen I forgot to clean the bottom of the container (we did it on the way out the door) and there was dust in some of the drawers. Was there more to nit pick? Maybe. But that’s all it was, nit pick. Everything that we had agreed to fix following the inspection had been done. Had there been no hold back agreement, we would have had the walk through before closing. And if so, would they have cancelled the sale because of a kitchen garbage can?!? Hardly.
My broker agreed that the house was more than “broom clean.” He seemed think the other broker thought so as well. Spotless? Immaculate? No. Had I the time I wanted I would have taken a 2nd or 3rd pass through the kitchen. No doubt. But I left my kitchen in the same shape as my new kitchen is in. Of course I’m going to clean here. That’s what you do when you move in, regardless of what is there before.
We tell our lawyer “no way, no how” to the $500. Our lawyer agrees that they are being ridiculous. He talks with their lawyer, and suggests $100 simply to make it go away. My instinct is to say no. But if they insist, this can end up being settled by the courts and who wants to go through that? Would be more expensive in the long run. I give in on the condition that it is put in writing that we do not agree.
I got the $4,900 today. Here’s the letter that my lawyer sent to their lawyer:
>Enclosed is a check for $100.00 for your clients in the referenced matter.
>Your clients should know that my clients consider their demand as unreasonable, unwarranted and not consistent with the term “broom clean.” They have authorized me to make this payment solely on the basis that they are ridding themselves of a nuisance and do not expect to receive any further contact from your clients.
“Choke on it” would have been too strong, huh? 😉 It’s not about the money. We are more than happy with the price paid on the house and $100 is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I’m just upset thinking of how frantic I was on Sunday morning for absolutely nothing. Turns out the holdback agreement we signed at the closing didn’t say one word about “broom clean” or anything having to do with the cleanliness of the house. It simply said that we would be out by June 20th and there would be no damage, both conditions fully met.
So I’m curious, what does “broom clean” mean to you?
When I thought about blogging this I considered revealing some horrible truth about the house that the new owners would have to contend with in case they read this entry. Truth is, I can’t think of anything. They bought a great house, and every flaw is obvious to the naked eye. If anything goes wrong for them from here on out, I can honestly say that I didn’t know it would happen. That’s a good feeling.