Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Buying a House is like having your underwear in Macy's window -- withe a BIG sign saying it is yours

Purchasing a house involves such a deep exchange of information between so many people -- the buyer and the seller, the mortgage broker or bank, the attorneys, the real estate agents, inspectors, credit bureaus, appraisers, insurance providers and on and on --

I am from New England, a land unto itself. A politically liberal but informationally conservative land. We do not share intimate financial details easily. We are not, by nature, public about our bank balances. We would imagine it to be rude to be asked by a stranger -- so how many bathrooms do you have? We cannot imagine allowing a stranger into our homes to find fault with things and to then report those flaws to all and sundry. The very thought of discussing an infestation of bees or, worse yet, termites, makes us cringe. The inner machinations of our lives -- if it is whether or not we ever forgot to pay a bill or whether or not that was a carpenter ant crawling up the shed -- well, it just goes against our grain to share that willy-nilly.

But selling and buying a house slits open that little pouch of privacy with shrubbery shears. Suddenly everyone sees or has a right to see ones most private information. Releases are signed that will allow anyone who is vaguely connected with the process to peer where one might not imagined them peering weeks ago.

It was in the midst of one of those conversations this afternoon that I had a great surprise. I was calling several insurance companies to obtain quotes for home and auto insurances. At the last minute I threw in one that had been used by my parents, even though they are in a different town from the one in which I am buying a house. In the course of conversation, the lady with whom I was speaking asked how I had heard of their firm. When I told her, she asked their name --

"Oh sure! I remember your mother!"

"You do?? She passed away about 12 years ago now."

"Honey, I have been here for 34 years, I remember lots of folks -- but no one could forget your mother -- she was an adventure, she was, and a delightful one. Her name was Frances, right? Loved gardening? "

"That's Mom all right!"

And for as moment, the stranger grilling me for information became a friend of the family -- someone I could relax with. It was a touching moment, one that came as a bolt out of the blue in a very stressful day. I got to thinking about Mom and her gardens, and me and mine. I knew she would love the house I am buying.

The day eased up after that -- that moment of grace snapped me out of the whirlwind and set me down softly on the earth. And very good earth it is, too.


Blogger Jayne said...

Oh so true Mata. All those documents to sign and reveal... it's really almost like being on display in that window. Nice that in the middle of it all you met someone who knew your mom.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Grace, Every Day said...

And did you go with that company, Mata?

I'm hoping so. It's a good story!

10:04 PM  

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