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What’s a Roof Worth?

Two hours before it was scheduled to begin, a mortgage closing attorney called to see if we could adjourn the closing from Friday to Tuesday of the following week.


I wondered if there was an issue with funding or my client’s eligibility, but he said that wasn’t it. “The roof in my office sprung a big leak, and water is cascading onto my conference table!”


I was sympathetic, but explained that my clients had sold their home the day before, and needed to buy. Not only were they required to deliver a vacant home to their buyers by Saturday, the sellers in our deal were buying a co-op in NYC on Monday.  Was there an alternative place for the closing?


We closed in the real estate agent’s quite cramped and fairly stinky office (you may enjoy the combined aromas of varnish and Mexican food more than I do). All went as well as could be expected until the buyers saw that the closing attorney was still charging $895 for a closing he wasn’t hosting.


The buyer-husband was upset, and while I told him (privately) that I understood his anger, he had no valid legal position. The fee was customary, it had been properly disclosed, and the documents were the same no matter where we closed. I suggested that the buyers and the attorney talk in another room (or in the cantina below), where each could explain his position.


They went out to chat, and I could hear a few phrases, including “damn roof,” “buckets of water” and “not giving a flying” something or other. When they returned, all were red-faced and the bill was $795.


As for me, I drove back to the office, singing all the way.




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March 2019


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