One week until we move, and we're homeless

We had chosen a home in Durham, NC.  The contract was signed, we sold furniture that wouldn't fit in a place with fewer bedrooms, we sold our house and arranged movers.  But the movers will be putting our possessions into storage, not our new home.  We had to back out of the contract.

The house had the right location and enough space, and it was affordable.  It even had character:  reclaimed doors and wood countertops, and artist-made railings.  But the inspector told us that under the surface, it was a mess.  From the shingles to the foundation, there were major structural issues that would cause the house to leak, sag, shift, and crack unless it was repaired under the supervision of a structural engineer.

To move forward with buying the house, we would have had to delay the transaction by who knows how many months while the current owners fixed it.  If we trusted them to fix it.  That's a big if, because some of the issues were created during renovation.  That means the fixes would be made by the same team that left issues in the first place.  And our dealings with the seller's agent were far from smooth:  it would be a fight every step of the way.  So when the inspection report came back, there was no question.  We walked.

I confess I'm a little relieved.  The transaction was a moshpit of incompatible personalities from the beginning.  On the one side, we have my wife and I.  Normally she is assertive about standing up for what she deserves; I often let others get away with things in order to keep the peace.  The second party was our real estate agent, a conflict-avoidant personality like me.  On the third hand, we had the seller's agent who also acted as the general contractor.  This individual was a charismatic pitch-man (which is great for a salesman) and a bully (which is common in construction but less so in real estate agents).  Putting these personalities together resulted in the seller's agent lying through his teeth and browbeating our agent into submission.  Then our agent repeatedly tried to convince us we were wrong about what we had heard the seller's agent say he would do, didn't advocate for us, and complained that we were attacking her when we stood up for ourselves.  That was how it went.  Even before the inspection report, we had all but stopped speaking with our own agent.  So I'm glad I don't have to finish the transaction with those people.

Have you ever told someone that since they work for you, they should go along with your recollection of events - and then had them respond 'I never told you you were wrong'?  It's pretty surreal.

I exaggerate a bit when I say we're homeless.  There's an apartment we can stay in.  So many people travel to my company's worksite that they rented an apartment for visitors instead of putting traveler after traveler up in a hotel.  But it'll take a long time to identify another house, negotiate an offer, and close on it.  We'll be living out of suitcases for at least a month.  But we won't be homeless.  I'm thankful for the safety net.

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