Things fell apart a little bit on Friday. In order to pay off our farm debts, we spent the winter splitting our land into two parcels. We now own one 8 acre building site and a 13 acre parcel that has our home and barns and all on it.
We had a buyer for the 8 acres,a solid contract, and it was all set to close on February 28th. We needed approval from the bank that holds our mortgage to release that parcel, which is essentially a forest full of paperwork: surveys, appraisals, title insurance commitments, etc.
We submitted the papers at the beginning of January, everything was in order, and we were all set for Feb. 28th.
And then, on Feb. 6, our bank notified us that they were selling our mortgage to another bank effective Feb. 16, which meant they would not have the authority to release that parcel, despite the paperwork we had done, for our closing on the 28th.
So I called until I got to a person (no easy feat). He reviewed the file and agreed that it was a good request and that they could expedite the process for us to close on Friday the 15th, before the loan was sold. The buyers were on board. The title company was on board.
They just needed approval from our private mortgage insurance company.
At first, the private mortgage insurance company said, sure, no problem ,we can get this done in a week.
And then we didn’t hear from anyone. And I started to panic.
So on Thursday, at the end of the day, I called the private mortgage insurance company and discovered that the person who said she could get it done had gone out of the office without getting it done. It had just been sitting on her desk all week.
All day, on Friday, I called the private mortgage insurance company and explained, and pleaded, and begged. Just have somebody look at this. Please. It’s all in order, and if you send the approval to the bank, we can still close today. We have to close today, or I have to start this two month process over with a new bank, and I don’t know if my buyers will wait, and this is a really big deal for me.
They did show it to their underwriter before lunch, and emailed me to say it looked good and that they could approve it on Tuesday.
And I called and called again and begged and pleaded and reminded them that Tuesday was too late. Please just ask him to look at it now. And they got really stubborn with me about how they weren’t legally obligated to do such a rushed request and blah, blah, blah.
And they weren’t legally obligated. That’s true.
But it’s also true that someone could have approved that for me on Friday. It was possible for them.
And they didn’t do it.
And we couldn’t close.
And I’m not sure what will happen with the buyers.
And my loan was sold to the new bank on Saturday.
Basically, someone’s decision to be an asshole (I’m sorry, but is there a better word?) instead of a human cost us the entire deal.
To be honest, it was a little devastating.
Luckily, I think one of the lasting legacies of this farming adventure is the belief that I am equal to the chaos caused by things I can’t control. I have watched hail destroy months of work (and income) in 15 awful minutes. I have waded through knee deep flood waters to rescue my poultry. I have watched entire crops of spinach bolt in unseasonably hot, dry spring weather.
These jerks at the bank can’t keep me down.
It was a setback, but we are still richly blessed with resources. We still own two valuable parcels of land and water rights that we can sell. Not planning a farm allowed me the freedom to hang out with my mom all day on Saturday while the girl skied with her fifth grade class and Matty and the boy went down a double black diamond (twice). Matt and I are going on dates, finding very little to argue about, and reconnecting after the past few stressful years.
All the important things are still true.
The fact that I can see that, very clearly, so soon after the big setback itself is one reason why I don’t regret, at all, having done this farming thing.
It made us better people in so many important ways.
We had a hailstorm in our finances on Friday. The world didn’t end. We will salvage what can be salvaged, and replant what can’t.
The farmer might leave the farm, but the farm doesn’t leave the farmer.