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Monday, November 12, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

I'm too sick for excuses. The 'it's just a virus' diagnosis I got two weeks ago put me in bed for a week....then The Husband got it and it turned into bronchitis.

I know he's sick because (1) he missed the championship softball game (they lost); (2) he's eating soup; and (3) he's not watching television.

Now he's on the mend after almost two weeks of sickness--the first week was 'it's just a virus' but the second week our virus evolved into bronchitis for him. Antibiotics, sleep, soup and generally not doing anything for a second week finally helped him turn the corner.

I went to bed tired and congested last night, and then woke up this morning with the unmistakable symptoms of "it's just a virus" again.

I'm still trying to close on the house.

The builder told us 12 days ago that we could 'take the key' meaning the house is finished and we can take ownership. Since we've sold the house to the Buyers, we want them to take the key. Taking the key means going to the house with the builder's rep and signing off on the property.

The Buyers don't want to do this......Buyer Husband came and examined the house and found a dozen very minor things to beef about which are truly the builder's responsibility, but also the normal stuff you would find when you buy a house. One complaint was that "the floor is dirty." Uh, yeah....you've had your own workers in their modifying the kitchen to suit you....there's going to be dirt on the floor. Understand that the builder and the Buyers have a year in which the house in under warranty and the builder has to fix everything about which the Buyer complains (within reason).

So why not take the key?

Because then they would have to pay us the final (very large) payment owed to us on the house.

Why not make this payment?

Because they outsmarted themselves.....last summer when the dollar was shooting up, they pleaded with us to sell the house in shekels. After several go-rounds on this issue, I was fed up over the lawyers' wrangling over exchange rates, Treasury links, how high a ceiling, how low a floor on the exchange rate.

Enough! This is the price--in shekels. Take it or leave it. We have two back-up offers waiting in the wings (and we did, really).

They took it. They beefed about the price because they thought the shekel amount should be lower but I repeated, "Take it or leave it."

They sold a house to buy this house. I'm certain at this point that they gambled, and sold their house last summer in dollars, certain that their shekel purchase of our home coupled with their dollar sale of their old home, would make a profit.

Israelis can put their money in "dollar accounts" which carry a higher interest rate than normal checking accounts. They can "lock" that account for a period of months, and get a higher return. We're certain that's what they did---and since I read the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Daily and other financial pages, I was pretty sure the dollar was going to do its annual autumn dive, only this time belly-flop because of the sub-prime market. So I was happy to sell in shekels.

Good move for us, it turned out. But the Buyers are stalling because (1) their money is "locked" and they can't open it and (2) they're taking a beating in the exchange rate and actually losing money on this deal.

I could handle this very reasonably if they'd call me up, or their lawyer called my lawyer, and said, "Look, we're sort of in a bind here...." and we could work out a payment schedule that allows us to meet our current sub-contractor obligations and gives them a little more leeway in making the BIG payoff. We're not unreasonable.

But we're not getting a reasoned response. We're getting hysteria and lies. Hysteria over the fact that, for instance, the insulation in the shutter frame isn't perfectly straight. (Big deal! Have the contractor straighten it--takes 2 minutes). Hysteria over the crack on a garden wall trim stone. Took the contractor less than an hour to ungrout that stone, and grout in a new one.

Now we're getting lies. Last week we got, "Oh, the granite isn't in in the kitchen."

No S$#@, Sherlock--the granite isn't in because you wanted a different configuration of the sink and countertop, called the granite company, changed the specs and they're just putting it in now!

That's not my problem. The granite folks are subcontractors of the builder, so it's between you and the builder and the delay is due to YOUR changes.

"No, no!" my Buyer Guy insisted. "It's because the kitchen company didn't put the kitchen in until last week!"

Excuse me?! What was that I saw in the kitchen over six weeks ago? I had to drive down, examine all the cabinets, pull out all the drawers, and instruct the installer to call Buyers about how they wanted the handles attached to the drawers and cabinets. That kitchen I examined was a hallucination? If so, Yossi was hallucinating right along with me, because he saw it, too.

Yossi has no patience with this garbage. He launched into a spiel in Hebrew that was rapid and none too complimentary, edged with some Street sarcasm. The Buyer was embarassed and upset to have been caught in an outright lie.

Now he won't talk to me--or to Yossi. So now his lawyer is doing the lying for him. His lawyer met with my lawyer this afternoon and reported that the job-site manager told the Buyer that the "key" wouldn't be ready for another 9 days at the earliest.

I lost my temper.

I told my attorney very clearly that this was bullshit; that I had gone down and spoken in person to the job-site manager. The job-site manager told me that the Buyer was "a maniac" and had given him a laundry list of tiny complaints, all of which would be corrected by 3:00 PM THAT DAY. I could take "the key" if I wished any time after 3:00 PM, 12 days ago!

I told my lawyer I wasn't going to wait another 9 or 10 days--I've waited long enough and I want this deal to close THIS WEEK.

My mission is to get the name and phone number of the job-site manager so my attorney can call him directly herself, confirm that the house is completed and the "key" is ready, so she can have the satisfaction of calling up her opposite number and telling him that the Buyer is lying through his teeth, and insist on closing this week.

I wish I felt better. I don't mind a fight, but I fight better when my head doesn't feel like it's stuffed with glue.....


Blogger Emah S said...

hey....I'm glad you're onto these guys. Definitely sounds like a runaround!!! The dollar issue is a shitty one but they need to step up to the plate and take responsibility. I hate that in this country so many people would rather stall and let others suffer financially if it works better for them. grrr....


Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 6:59:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger Jill said...

I know what Mom would say if she were here: "Kick ass & take names!" I hope you get back to feeling 100% so you can do just that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 7:00:00 PM GMT+2  

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