Occasionally when I am in a treatment room with a patient on the table, I will hear very clear instructions on a recommended course of action. It’s as though someone is standing just behind my right shoulder and offering up specific treatment protocols. These recommendations sometimes fall in line with and serve to confirm the direction I was heading, but more often than not they approach an underlying problem through an unconventional opening, one that I hadn’t yet considered. Either way, I have learned that I should always listen to this voice, because, invariably, when I do, something monumental unfolds for the person in treatment.
I have to tell you, it’s pretty cool to have an Angel (?) whispering in my ear and I pray that I am always open to hearing what is said.
This particular Angel sometimes follows me out of the clinical setting and will also make suggestions that I need to hear in whatever situation is at hand. For example, I have heard that I need to reach out to a particular student, to check in on a fellow instructor, to be sure I grab the Go Bag or my shell or my hiking boots, etc. I know that, even outside the treatment space, should the Angel speak, I need to take heed as it always goes better when I do.
We made our way back up the mountain to move Davista to another site at Jordanelle. As we were setting up camp and Flight was packing for his next trip, I noted that the formal contract to sell out house had hit my inbox via DocuSign. I pulled up the contract getting ready to start digitally signing when I heard from over my right shoulder, “You should Google the buyer’s name.” I thought, “Really?” followed closely by, “Do Angels Google?” Maybe, maybe not, but I knew I should listen to the guidance.
So, I Googled away. And I learned that our would-be buyer had 22 (give or take) bankruptcy cases on record, dating back to 2002 and the most recent of which was dismissed three weeks ago. ????!? While I do not run a financial institution, nor do I presume to understand the inner workings of the enigma known as the real estate lending market, I’m fairly certain such a record would make it pretty tricky to land a mortgage to purchase our house. Hmmm…
I pulled Flight away from his suitcase packing and over to look at my computer screen. “Um, look at what I found about our buyer…” He took a quick look and offered, “Hoo boy, let me do a little more digging on my way to Boston…”
It’s important to note all that was going on at the time this information was added to our processing mix. Flight was packing up to go away for a few days. After parking Davista we had maybe 20 minutes to do a “quick turn,” meaning we had a very short window of time to all clean up for dinner with Flight’s aunt, uncle, and another set of cousins and we were running a little tardy to the next Family Dinner party.
On our way back down the canyon, we brought this information to our realtor (it was now into the evening on Labor Day) and asked whether or not this might be a red flag for the proposed deal; this was uncharted territory for us after all. He thought it shouldn’t matter especially much as long as they were able to obtain financing. My thoughts, “Okay, but from whom?!” Quite the enigma, the housing lending world.
While Flight was commuting to work that evening, he did a few searches that readily peeled back the onion, resulting in a discovery of no fewer than 56 criminal cases against our prospective buyer that were listed in the Maryland court system alone. Most of them had been closed (I’m still not sure what that means exactly), one with jail time sentenced (but maybe not served?) and several were still open, with court and/or hearing dates in a few weeks hence. The majority of these were for forgery, but there was a smattering of other felonies as well. Multi-talented, our prospective buyer, but apparently not very good at any of them.
Considering my exposure to this way of life is limited to what I saw in “Catch Me If You Can,” I’m afraid I still don’t know where to file this information.
Flight took a screen shot of this freely accessible, open-to-the-public, information all readily available online and sent it to our realtor. We thought it might be of critical importance since the buyer’s agent was also in the same office and wondered if they knew about any of this history. This bit of information gave them considerable pause, and we let it sit for a day in order let them process it as well.
With just the news of the bankruptcies our intention had been to require a third party to verify the buyer’s loan eligibility. We didn’t want to rearrange our lives to pack out our house if there was no way this deal was going through. But now the situation had changed entirely. We spent the day (Flight in Boston, I in Utah) trying to figure out what the buyer’s game was since it almost certainly wasn’t just “to purchase a new house.”
Although we hadn’t signed anything yet, we weren’t sure if we were in danger of getting ensnared in anything that might require legal assistance for extraction. In our previous conversation with the realtor about the bankruptcies, we had been told something to the effect “Well, as long as they have the money to buy your house, really, we can’t judge or discriminate.” Having been raised by a lawyer, I started thinking, “Holy crap, is there any way we could be on the hook for anything here?” I didn’t realize it might be considered discrimination to not want to sell my house to a felon. Sorry, alleged felon.
This is totally surreal.
Fortunately, after we requested an additional qualification letter from a different lender, one our broker trusts, the potential buyer rescinded the offer stating we were “taking too long” in signing the paperwork. After tapping into our extensive legal and real estate network (neither professional is licensed in Maryland), we were assured that because we hadn’t signed anything, we weren’t on the hook for anything. Maybe it was only coincidence that the buyer’s agent had her identity stolen the following day. I’ll be sure to let you know if the Angel tells me differently.