Real Estate Ruse
By Susan Strange
May, 10th, 2018
The term real estate is the strongest oxymoron ever spoken. What is ‘real’ about the brick and mortar placed upon dirt and rock that lures one into a web that elicits elaborate dreaming offset by pitfalls of pleading, leading to promises made that will confine me to a regiment for decades to come? In purchasing a house, I feel like I have met characters from Shakespeare’s play, “A Midsummer Nights Dream” making the experience ephemeral in which I feel on the precipice of waking up then wishing I stay asleep to continue enjoying the magic.
The key characters in my dream pursuit are the real estate agent and the loan officer. The two are polar opposites being that one flies around waving a wand emitting possibilities whereas the other forbidding tyrant holds the keys locking the beautiful possibilities in a coveted mortgage. In order of appearance, I present to you Puck, the real estate agent and Thisbe, the loan officer.
The real estate agent is a beguiling spirit much like the Shakespearean sprite Robin “Puck” Goodfellow in “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” There is a solution for everything; no problem insurmountable. The fairy will use magical powers and move mountains if need be making you believe that this house is the heaven sent home for you!
“Suzanne will have a significantly longer commute to work,” Ty states with concern.
“And what beautiful views she will enjoy driving to work,” sparkled forth from Puck’s lips as her wings gently opened and closed on her back.
“The kitchen seventies decor leaves a lot to be desired; it will require a lot of work,” I remarked closing the mustard colored oven door; maybe it was labeled harvest gold in 1972, but I am confident you have seen it. “This oven is so old, I wonder if it even works.”
“It is a happy median between building your own home. You get to pick out new appliances, flooring, cabinets and lighting making it exactly the way you want it without the hassle of seeking building permits. How exciting is that!” Pixie dust rained from the ceiling as the wings on her back began fluttering faster.
Wanting to test Puck’s imaginary skills, I moved to truly, the elephant in the room, that being the common area where a fireplace existed surrounded by a sunken floor with a carpeted bench encasing it. It looked like a church pew in a semicircle where the former owners sat either fire gazing or making sacrifices; really don’t want to know the history of what took place here. “What do you suppose the purpose of this area is,” expecting this would be the question that would stop the deluge of possibilities and dreams forthcoming.
“This is your conversation piece. People will be curious and intrigued you have this in your house,” she said as she massaged her fingers into the carpet looking like she was stroking a plush, Persian cat. “I bet no one else you know has one,” she said like a cunning school teacher attempting to entice a student into advance placement classes. The wings on her back were in a fluttering frenzy and I expected her to take flight any second!
“Unless someone will be serving a concoction of love-in-idelness juice at the front door, no one will like this monstrosity,” I firmly stated. This situation was in need of a skeptic and I believed I should step up and be exactly that; question the flimflammery taking place around me.
“I love the stone around this fireplace; it reminds me of the house I grew up in southern California. Can you imagine how fun little kids would find this?” Ty said as he stepped down into the fire pit. “They would climb all over this thing and never grow tired of it.” Either to demonstrate his point or he had over indulged in the magic sparkles the fairy sprite had shared with us, he began crawling back and forth over the carpeted bench from the sunken pit to the main floor behaving like he had found the most exhilarating delight. Immediately I wanted to remind him we do not have any young children who could join him in his play and then thought better of it. I acquiescently nodded having understood the emotion with his behavior. He was recalling his childhood home and enjoying a cherished memory. At that point, I knew we were buying this house and will be in need of a ‘shrewd and knavish sprite.’
Enter loan officer, Thisbe, whom I view as the barrier to obtaining the almighty mortgage. Each question asked, regardless of neutral volume and polite inflection, I hear as the roar of a lion. Not believing for one second she wants to assist us in ‘reaching our dream,’ I perceive her as a foe who will search for minute details and reasons to not approve a mortgage.
“Have you been employed with your current employer two years or more,’ Thisbe asks? “Nine years,” I diminutively answer.
There was a pregnant pause implying this is insufficient. “And how long in your career?” “Eighteen years,” I replied wiping sweat from my brow.
“Can you provide your two most recent pay stubs,” stated more as command than a question.
“Of course, easy, I can access them on line this afternoon,” swallowing hard attempting to not hyperventilate and pass out therefore missing this humiliating event.
“And I will need your income tax returns for the past three years,” she demanded.
“I happen to have them right here and can send them right a way,” desperately striving to meet her every need and want.
“I prefer you gather all the information and send a collective portfolio of the requested items so that nothing gets misplaced!” The roar was deafening and my ears have not stopped ringing from the guttural resonation.
The Thisbe Lion guards the gate to our dream house and will not let us in until we weave our way through the financial cinquefoil. Rising to the cause, we become Shakespearean mechanicals acting out multiple roles in this play we chose to re-imagine. With each piece of information uploaded and sent, we took a step closer finding our way into the magical forest of home ownership. When Thisbe called back later that afternoon telling us the loan was approved and sent to underwriting, I was conflicted. Delighted that we met criteria and simply relieved the first part of the race was complete. Ahead of us lays the move across town and the home remodel.
Does anyone know of any gnomes or wood spirits who would like a challenge? We will need the labor in order to bring my fairytale ideas into the new home nestled in a forest of oaks atop a mountain. And then again, maybe it is perfectly fine just the way it is where breezes whisper mountain secrets and lush grasses wave welcoming guests to our new home we will call “A Midsummer Nights Dream.”
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