Ebenezer Scrooge, Ebenezer Scrooge. . . .
That plaintive call of a Dickens spirit of Christmas might get a lot of responses from people who have been buying and selling homes in this unseasonably warm real estate market. The complaints are enough to turn even the meek into miserly misanthropes.
Take the real estate broker who underestimated closing costs. The buyer would say, "You take the broker."
Instead of having to pay $2,400 to close escrow, the buyer--who was already scrambling to get the money--had to come up, at the last minute, with $4,400.
Or consider the building inspector who told a buyer that a hot tub should be removed because it encroached on a setback, after another building inspector had approved the plans.
Or the lender who turned down a prospective home buyer after the financially secure applicant had scheduled the mover and the telephone company.
Or the telephone company that forced a new homeowner to get the contractor who did the wiring to straighten out the telephones.
Or the contractor who did the wiring but didn't have the time to come back to fix the phones.
And speaking of phones, how about the 20-minutes-at-a-time waits a new homeowner had when put on hold while the phone company representative checked something in the computer?
Nothing was more irritating to another home buyer than repair people who didn't show up when they said they would, but another homeowner griped about a competent, second-generation plumber who had the gall to retire early when the plumber's son didn't plan to carry on the family trade.
The most annoying thing to a home seller was to see the landscaping he had nurtured at his old home wither and die.
That was something like the sale a broker was counting on after showing his client 20 homes, only to have the man buy from another agency.
There are also those sellers who insist on listing their homes at inflated prices, and then--because the homes don't sell--switch agents, drop the prices and sell the homes right away.
There are always things to grumble about, in real estate as in anything else, but a happy solution was suggested for a new homeowner who is still unpacking after moving and doesn't have time now to shop. It was: Put the boxes under the Christmas tree and unwrap them just like presents.
That might make most Scrooges smile.