Real Estate News - Home isn't always where this heart is

This is what can happen when you fall asleep with the TV on.

It's a true story about how a long, long, long, longtime renter wound up with a signed contract to purchase a townhouse faster than you can ask "Howinthegoshdarnworlddidthishappen?"

The tale actually began the night that Obama won the South Carolina primary. While watching the replay of his victory speech at about 1 a.m. on one of those 24-hour cable news channels, fatigue finally swept in and won the battle for the night.

Three hours later, when the eyes popped open, airing was some sort of business show in which a panel of housing "experts" was telling all of America that this was the time to buy a home.

Still, it wasn't until 13 hours later, while driving to this office building to work the next night, that the fates truly did intervene.

While totally into singing out loud to "American Pie," which was blasting from the car radio, the right turn to get to this building's parking lot was missed ... forcing an almost immediate left turn into a subdivision of townhomes that was to produce an opportunity to turn the rusted-out '89 Toyota to turn around.

Instead, it produced an opportunity to buy.

While turning around at the end of a dead-end street, there it was.

The "for sale" sign was stuck in the ground, an information sheet about the place was taped to it and there were cards from the seller's real estate office attached to the sign.

One phone call later, the wheels to buy were set in motion. Amazing how fast it all happened.

Less than three weeks later, Obama is now the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination for president, the Cubs finally look like "next year" has arrived and you're reading words written by someone who has a signed contract to buy a place.

Is there time to exhale?

In any case, you now know where everything stands in this home-buying process.

As for what's been racing through the empty space between these ears where a brain was supposed to reside, here's a rundown:

The entire home-buying process just has a sleazy sort of feel to it, kind of like how you feel after you've talked with a used car salesman for a half-hour.

This isn't to say real estate agents don't know what they're doing. It's just that while they say they're working for you, it seems like they're working to get the deal done fast because that's how they get paid.

As a result, it just feels like everything is rushed.

Mortgage money must be tight right now. In order to get anything, you pretty much have to prove you're worth more than Paris Hilton.

There are enough papers that have to be signed and/or initialed to keep a dozen people employed. It's ridiculous.

Everybody seems to have their hand in the middle, reaching for a piece of the financial pie. Who are all these people and why are they needed anyway?

Having two real estate people between the buyer and the seller during the negotiating of price is two people too many. In this case, the buyer's offer was $14,000 less than the seller's price. The buyer went up $7,000 and the seller went down $7,000, and -- presto! -- a deal was done.

Coulda done it in my sleep. With the TV on, of course.

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