Last time out, I hopefully didn’t bore anyone with the trials and tribulations of buying our first home. That was early enough in the process where it didn’t seem like anything was happening. Here we are, nearly 10 days later, and I can safely say that my emotions are starting to look more like this guy:
I wish I could report good news, is what I mean, but unfortunately I’m left with not the worst possible thing, but very nearly that. I’ll summarize in bullet points because that feels appropriate.
- Our realtor–who is insanely awesome–spent a few days trying to make contact with the realtor of the unit next to ours. His response after a day or two of that was that she was proving to be less than helpful.
- To sum up: she wouldn’t give us the name of the owner’s insurance company, so we can’t move forward. That was last Thursday, with a hurricane slowly moving in our direction.
- Schools are closed Thursday and Friday, and then Monday, eventually.
- On Saturday, we go by to show my parents what’s up and find a note from a local restoration company. They already came by and “as a courtesy” were letting us know what happened in the unit next door. Which means they were not told that while the water had originated next door, it had leaked into our house. This smells fishy to me, I report to our realtor and a contact for our insurance company.
- Finally on Tuesday, me back at work, I get the reason for the shadiness: the other owner’s realtor was told she was being dropped, and so decided the water damage “wasn’t her problem.” My understand is she’s being reported to the state board.
- Later that day, we FINALLY get the insurance company’s name and a contact there. Our insurance contact kindly explains the situation to him. On Wednesday, we’re informed they are denying the claim, but they’re reminded that liability is a thing. I’m told to set up an appointment for someone to go by and assess the damage in our house and get an estimate, just for safety.
- I do so. There’s someone there within two hours. I have an estimate in about 12 hours (goodness, it’s a lot of money). I’ve got another company coming in the morning to check it out and get a second opinion. These seem like the only two things that have happened, and I have a sneaking suspicion that money is going to exchange hands and that it might be mine.
- The insurance guy comes back and is still denying the claim, during which our insurance contact reminds him of a thing called vacancy negligence, since that unit has been empty for a long time now. As of this writing, still no response there.
And that, my friends, is where we stand. Nine days ago I was looking forward to a blog celebrating our new house, complete with a picture of E and I standing excitedly in the threshold of our new front door. I’ve been to our new house a few times in those nine days, and each time I feel more and more dejected, because increasingly it’s starting to look like either a) nothing is ever going to get done, ever or b) if something does get done, we’re going to have to get it done ourselves. I’m not sure legally what our options are, but I do know that legality aside, this entire ordeal has proved a reminder of how unethical people can be when it benefits them. It’s been suggested to me several times that since the unit next door has been empty for so long, the insurance policy may have lapsed or it needed to be changed and never was, meaning the main reason for the hardball is directly related to the fact that the owner of that house would have to pay, not his/her (maybe) non-existent insurance.
I’ll allow Mr. Neil Patrick Harris to express the emotion for me:
I’ve been disappointed in my life, many times, but this–and maybe it’s just recency bias–feels like the worst time of all. And that’s with all the other disappointing things that have already fallen upon me this year. This one is different, I suspect, because it’s not as if I can shrug it off and tell myself “there’s always next time;” this house is ours now, and this damage has to be undone no matter what. It just sucks that I might literally have to pay for something I didn’t do. All I’m asking for is a little human decency, for understanding; while I recognize that the owner of this other house didn’t do anything wrong on purpose to cause the leak, she/he is now exacerbating the issue and purposefully skirting responsibility. The stacking of a conscious decision on top of an accidental occurrence makes everything worse.
And yet we’re forced to press on. We’re out of our apartment at the end of the month, which still needs to be cleaned out and scrubbed down before then, meaning we have to clear out according to our pre-water damage plan. And so we’re taking our stuff over to the new house and putting what we can upstairs, hoping we’ll start to see a slither of light leading to resolution in the coming days. It likely means, barring a miracle and the fastest insurance claim/restoration work in recorded history, that we’ll be crashing somewhere else for a while until the house is move-in ready.
Still there’s a strange sense of calm amidst the storm. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a person at which to direct my rage, or maybe I’m actually learning to trust that everything is going to be okay even when it seems like it’s not; either way, I feel okay. The move on Saturday might be good, allow me to flex muscles and wear myself down physically to match the mental exhaustion that has been this nine-day stretch. We’re going to get where we intended to be, I have to keep reminding myself. Even if the path is proving to be a lot more complicated than expected.