Imagine being all packed (well 3/4 of your life and home) and then learn that just two weeks before the movers are to be hauling all your possessions on to a truck that you’re not going to be moving at all?
A week ago my perspective landlord bailed on me after a 5:00 pm deadline set by my realtor. We’d been (semi-patiently) waiting for her to sign the lease for over 7 days. I, meanwhile, did all that was asked of me.
My home is like ship that capsized, bobbing up and down amidst a sea of boxes. With one kid headed to college this weekend and my youngest is due to start school next week, there seems no end of this disorganized chaos, at a time when my children need calm and order the most.
We’d worked at a frantic and chaotic pace to pack up our belongings, purge the unnecessary accumulations of the past 7 years, and were eagerly anticipating our new beginnings. When I wasn’t working I was packing. Or purging. Or cleaning. I certainly wasn’t sleeping. I was anxious, excited and nervous. Moving a family, as you all know, is a huge undertaking both mentally and physically. I was up to the challenge because I knew that it would all be over soon. Much like pulling the proverbial Band-Aid off the wound, this would hurt - but just for a minute.
I started to get this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. The woman who would have been my landlord wasn’t signing the lease. There was always some excuse… she was traveling… she was in a different time zone… she was somewhere without internet access… And the latter I knew to be untrue, I had texted her a question, I wanted to know if I could get in the day before the move to meet with the cable and internet people so that I could get a home office set up. She never responded. The message was delivered. With iPhones you can tell these things. For some reason, everything seemed to take an exaggerated amount of time. I’ve purchased and sold homes. I’ve also rented them. I am not inexperienced in this arena. And because of this something began to feel awfully wrong.
Because she lived out of state, I agreed to meeting the property owner via FaceTime. Even that didn’t take place when it should have, and she had me waiting around all day. The next morning we eventually connected and I thought everything went fabulously. We spent half an hour on the phone getting to know one another. She proceeded to tell me about each and every one of the neighbors, and how they would probably love to have Alexander around who could take care of small tasks for them around the house, and he in turn could make a few dollars. What 14 year old boy wouldn’t love that? At the end of our call I asked if I could move in a week early due to my daughter’s impending college departure and my wanting to get Alexander settled before the start of school. She assured me that indeed this was possible and that we’d figure out the prorated rent. This was a Tuesday morning.
By Wednesday I still had no signed lease. By Thursday there was still no signed lease…. Friday, Saturday, Sunday… still no signed lease. We were now down to two weeks before I was due to move and she still hadn’t signed the lease. On Monday morning she was told that she had to give us a copy of a signed lease by 5:00 pm. At 5:30 I received and email saying that this person had accepted a cash offer for the sale of the condo unit.
Had I known it was on the market? Yes, I had. Because it had been sitting for a while we approached them asking if they would entertain an offer to rent. They had been thinking of doing so, and so when I expressed my interest and handed over a check they pulled the condo from the listing.
A week has now passed and I am still beyond livid. I’m angry with myself and furious with her. I feel betrayed and taken advantage of. How in good consciousness could she or her realtor pull such a rotten move on a mother and her three children?
Something unethical happened here…
When an offer is placed on a home for sale it’s listed as a ‘Pending Sale.’ This means that the home continues to be shown in case that sale falls through. In so doing, potential buyers are aware of the situation at hand. Likewise I’ve seen rentals in prior years where the owner let it be known that other bids were being entertained or offered. That same level of transparency should have happened in my situation. I would have handled things much differently.
I wish I could get over this. I wish I could let this be water under the bridge… but it will take me some time. I really have no idea why I’m struggling with this so much other than the fact that it’s sad to see hopes and dreams fail to materialize.
And so, the lesson I take from this is that unless you have something in writing, you don’t have it at all.
Fortunately we still have a roof over our heads.
And as with all of life’s disappointments I will bounce back and I will chalk this up to another lesson in the books.