‘Twas the night before closing, and all through the house
Many creatures were stirring, right down to the mouse.
We washed, scraped, and dusted the floors newly bare
With the thought that new home owners soon would be there.
To be specific, it was 5:30 pm the night before closing, the day on which our current residence would become our former residence, all personal effects removed, floors broom clean. By that moment, we’d realized that we were running, say, 12 hours behind schedule, that we had a very long evening ahead of us, and that the first few hours of the next day would be intense. Buyer walk through was scheduled for 9:00 am.
“Hello, Nick. It’s Tim.” [Our attorney for the transaction.] “I still don’t have the final numbers from the bank but I can give you a pretty close estimate of the amount you’ll owe at closing so you can wire that to the seller’s attorney first thing in the morning.”
“Tim, what are you talking about?” I don’t often ‘break into a cold sweat.’ I suddenly felt clammy. My wife looked over at me suddenly, wondering why I was shouting.
“Tim, it’s 5:30 pm on the night before closing. Are you calling to tell me I owe money tomorrow?”
“Yes,” and he reviewed the numbers with me, indicating that I owed an amount that would support a ravenous family of six eating nightly dinner at the Ritz Carlton for a couple of years.
“And you’re calling me at 5:30 pm the night before closing to tell me this?” I was incredulous. “I’m not completely sure that I have that much cash sitting around if I shake every bank account and pair of pants I own.” Second wave of cold sweat.
Tim is a very discrete, unflappable guy. Former litigation attorney. He remained silent.
My mind was racing. Well, of course. We bought the new house for $X. We sold the old house for $Y. Take away the remaining first mortgage and the bridge loan with interest and, voila, we owe dinner for six at the Ritz for two years.
“Why didn’t someone one call us to tell us this a few days ago?” my wife inquired a few minutes later, after I finished hyperventilating.
“Because I’m sure they thought, ‘Nick will know this because we went over and over the calculation when we did the bridge loan eight weeks ago.’”
And we had. And, after I stopped flabbergasting at Tim, I knew that I should have known and I knew that I should have been moving money into position to wire the funds on closing day.
But I didn’t. I forgot. In the cafuffle of buying a house, selling a house, packing up a house, moving, and working, I forgot. Even something as important as this… I forgot. Cold sweat turned to fluffy nausea.
Our clients forget stuff too, even really important stuff. Rather than get frustrated with them…our job includes reminding them…well before their deadlines.
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