How to stop escrow madness in an instant

The most wonderful, beautiful and innocent thing stopped the frenzy,  processes and insanity of end of month escrow transactions in an instant.  That thing was the glow of a sharply dressed very elderly woman who happened to find her way to our office and came to our front reception counter and said,

“Hi, can you help me, I’m lost and I can’t find my way home.”

In the midst of all the domestic and world issues, real estate problems, war conflicts, economic woes, layoffs, stock market crashes, corruptness of Bank and Investment CEO’s, politicians and everything else that batters our minds;  for me, it all became meaningless and subordinate to this gracious lady and her memory ailment. At that point I didn’t care about anything but her and helping her find her way home, which I did.

Escrow.  You just never know what each day will bring.

A Few Kind Words for one Merit Financial employee

Rather than jump on the bandwagon of the negative press regarding the Merit Financial failure(s), I’d like to tell my one and only Merit Financial Story.

One of our agents had a client who was using Merit Financial as their lender. When someone we meet has a pre-established lender relationship, especially a personal relationship…friend/relative, we do our best to support that relationship. Unfortunately, as the newspaper articles have highlighted, the loan rep was a young fellow with no lending experience who had never handled a loan that was a purchase, rather than a refinance. Two weeks into the 30 day escrow, it was apparent that absolutely nothing had been started with regard to the financing. The agent didn’t know what to do and came to me for advice.

I told her to get into the car and I made my one and only ever visit to Merit Financial. We had no appointment. I call it “camping out”, meaning “we’re not leaving until we get someone here to start paying attention BEFORE it is too late.” A young man by the name of Kris Quigley took full responsibility from the time I left that building, until everything was resolved, and escrow was closed. He worked day and night. He was literally working so hard that he made himself sick and ended up with pneumonia. He called me well into the night past 9 p.m. and I’m sure our client was not the only file he was bailing out of a fire.

My guess is that for every 20 people hired, who were mostly all talk and no action, there was at least one Kris Quigley in the background busting their butt to pick up the slack.

Kris…wherever you are…I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. I feel badly for people like Kris when I read these articles. Clearly not everyone who worked at Merit Financial was a Know-nothing slacker, as these articles would lead people to believe. Kris, feel free to use me as a reference if you need one. Hopefully you moved on before the $ hit the Fan.

Green Lake = Cheap Date

[photopress:date.jpg,thumb,alignright]A young couple on a “cheap date” wandered into my Open House yesterday. I can certainly empathize with guys who need to find a way to entertain women on a date, without spending a lot of money. But when the cheap date escalates to cheap ways to look like a bigger man by trying to cut someone else down to size, I have to draw the line.

Any woman who has ever been on a “first date”, knows when a guy is sending back the wine just to look important. I liked the time the waiter said, “You are quite right sir, that is a bad wine. Maybe if you tried one that costs more than $5.99 a bottle, you would find one more to your liking.” Some guys aren’t satisfied with the cheap date scenario, unless they can find a way to go on a cheap date, and look like a big important guy, all at the same time. So what does sending back the wine, and an Open House “date”, have to do with one another?

It starts out innocently enough. The guy follows one of the suggestions for a cheap date noted in the links above, and ends up “walking around Green Lake”. It’s a great first date scenario. It’s free. You can test out if the girl has the stamina to make it around the 2.8 miles a few times, without huffing and puffing or whining that her feet hurt. But after three times around the lake, it gets a little boring. He’s out of ideas on what to talk about. He’s decided he likes this girl, and wants to impress her, but how do you impress a girl when you have no money to stop for dinner at Duke’s?

More than once, both he and she have small talked about how much they like Green Lake, to fill the dead spaces in conversation. So he gets this brilliant idea to pretend he can afford to buy a house nearby. What better way to “pretend” to spend a lot of money, without having to spend a dime? He passes that OPEN SUNDAY sandwich board on the third time around and says, “Do you mind checking out this house with me? I’ve been thinking about buying a house here. Oh, she’s impressed! Mr. couldn’t buy her a snack at World Wraps, is all of a sudden thinking about buying a house, within walking distance to Green Lake. She doesn’t believe a word of it, but she’s bored by this time too, and says sure, let’s go to ALL of the Open Houses.

The big sign out front says, “Open 1-4” and it is only 12:15. They see the door open, as I’m busily doing some last minute sprucing up. Opening the windows and doors to air out the vacant house, making sure there are no dead spiders on the carpet, etc… He pops his head in and says, “I know we are early, but do you mind if we take a peek around?” I can pretty much tell this is a cheap date scenario, and have no trouble playing along, until the guy starts his I’m smarter than you routine, to impress the girl.

I go through the house to turn all of the lights on, and check out the areas I haven’t been to yet. I’m listening to their conversation, and can tell they are not really people looking to buy a house, and in fact hardly know each other. But like I said, that’s fine with me, I have lots to do before one o’clock. They have no “real” questions about square footage of lot or house. No questions about how old the roof or hot water tank are. None of the obvious, we are checking out this house to maybe buy it questions. Everything’s going fine and I’m even playing along with him by answering a few of his questions. I tell him he’s right about a few things, to help him impress the girl. Until he starts hitting me with off the wall questions, one after the other in a non ending stream, to make sure he can impress his girlfriend without being “found out”.

Where does this wire go? I tried to head him off at the pass and show him the brand new electrical box showing that all of the wiring had been up dated, yada yada yada. But he was on a roll of obscure nonsensical questions. “Is this a hot water pipe or a cold water pipe?” Where does this vent go? Why does this pipe turn left instead of right? What year did they install this door? It looks newer. Since the house was built in 1905, and everything was changed at some time or another, I’m quickly figuring out this this could go on all day.

In between his onslaught of off the wall questions, he is turning to the girl and saying, “Now this pipe is a really good pipe, see you can tell by this blah, blah. She’s impressed. She’s so impressed her eyes are glazing over, and she wants to get out of that basement so badly, she’s almost ready to cough up the thirty bucks to go to Duke’s. When the questions just would not stop and I had to get back to the business at hand, I tried to gracefully break away, but no, he had to play the “send back the wine” game with me.

I almost feel badly about spinning him around three times, and making him look like the fool that he was, by the end of “the show”. But some guys just don’t know when to quit while they’re ahead 🙂