OPEN HOUSE -2
-Telugu Original by Dr K.Geeta
-English Translation by V.Vijaya Kumar
“How would it be if we buy a house?” Surya said, dashing home from the office.
I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought I heard something wrong.
“What?!” I exclaimed.
“My office colleagues are talking a lot about purchasing houses,” said Surya.
I fought with this man buzzing around his ears all these days with no response, but he lent his ears to colleagues!
“So,What?” I curtly replied.
“All they made out after a great discussion was that it’s time to go for a house. Everyone of them had the money now!” He said.
I was still dumbfounded.
“Don’t look empty. Didn’t I say a big company had bought us the day before?” He said.
“Such transfers in management hike employee share prices, and go selling…” His face was beaming with delight and he added, “We can pay 5 percent down payment not clearing your plot in India. As our New Company raising salaries for us we can meet the mortgage payments”
I too felt elated inside but not bringing it to surface I said, “So You mean it searching for a house”
“But one clause, don’t ask me to come to every house you see, until you reach the last step, then I come” He said.
I remember the torments Jessica suffered. I thought if I didn’t accept the clauses he may change his mind. So I nodded. I rushed inside and fetched pen and paper.
He scribbled, “We need a housing agent first”
“I searched online, and these housing agents offer buyer bonuses…This neighborhood had no proper schools…In that village they’re cheaper…”I began giving details.
He looked at me with appreciation and said, “Truly did a great research, But one thing, did they really offer any bonus to anyone else?” thinking about the first “agent”
“Things never go smart if you raise doubts at every step. I said everything after a thorough check up. You know it’s America. No such fraudulence arises here against what was announced online after the job finished” I said.
I booked a “House tour” through an online agency and proceeded next-day on a hunt.
‘House Tour’ means after listing 5 to 6 houses from their site we proceed with their agent to those houses. It takes 2 to 3 hours to show the houses. If any house we choose, the agent starts up the application process on behalf of us negotiating with the seller agent.
Surya accompanied me in the first week’s search. Out of 6 houses we visited I loved 2. As we need to apply for only one, I told the agent to proceed on one particular house, when he asked me just before getting down the car. A mail was already hit upon the desk, and to bid it, an application form was also attached to it. The price of the house is beyond our budget. Agent said that many buyers are on queue. As it’s our first bid we quoted 5 thousand extra.
“It’s impossible to get it at this cheaper price, Go for a bit ahead?”
The agent asked.
After three days the agent informed us that the house had gone to someone else who bid 45 thousand more and suggested we book another tour.
Every weekend we went on bidding, later when we were informed that someone won it, we proceeded again with a new search.
I began to search even in mid weeks too. These houses in midweek times were not open houses meant for everyone.
The agent fetches keys of the house and waits at the location to show us.
Six weeks passed.
Every week we figure out one, as if it’s ours, and once it slipped out from our hands, we felt exhausted and disappointed.
I was greatly known for my stubbornness.
So, I went on nonstop with my efforts.
On an auspicious weekend the agent informed us that our bid was successful.
She also informed us that some others were also bidding with the same price, and we need to raise the price to get into further steps.
We began to think about it. It’s not a matter of tens or hundreds but thousands. That too dollars.
I dared to raise another ‘five’ and I informed the agent.
He replied,”The other going up 25″
“We can’t go more than 10” We.
“Not less than 20” the other one.
We fed to our agent, they fed to their agent.
Though things are progressing, nobody knows what’s happening there except for those agents.
Surya said,”let’s drop this! It’s not a veg bargain to vie with others!”
“Not look smart, drop in the middle, the good one, after coming up to this length” I said.
Yet, going up and up to 25 is rather impossible.
But we raised it 5, and made it 10. The other one is stubborn, not getting down.
Adding 10 plus 10, at the end we compromised.
When the price came up to a fix, the documents “Disclosures Package” hit the mail. There are nearly 20 to 30 documents including approvals, Inspection reports.
Surya ordered,” Go through everything by evening and separate what we mostly need”
I comprehend pretty much from this housing experience that one should not poke nose into everything particularly into those enterprises we know nothing about.
Though I went through all those documents, some I could understand and some I couldn’t.
Particularly the termite inspection. The agent said that though the sellers did it already, we have to go for it again. The duty fell upon me.
I thought I should take care of things in a more sensible way. So I handed it over to the agent.
Agent said that while the process of inspection is going on I must be there along with them.
I resumed inspection duties the whole day, after sending Nidhi to school.
Though the agent suggested a bank for loan, Surya also did a great research and finally found that the bank stands best in all respects.
A third party got into a deal for money transfer and advance payment matters.
“What’s that? We never heard of it in India!” I said it with Surya.
“It’s a third party mediating procedure here in between the buyer and the seller. Escrow is an organization that arbitrates between the buyer and seller. It takes care of the advance payment we paid keeping with them until the deal comes to an end, and if we fail to get bank loan, the other party will have the chance of selling to others and such and such other issues too”
“We don’t believe ourselves, but a third party Escrow!”
“They’re just like Mini banks so we can trust them well” He said.
“To carry out all negotiations between the parties, these arbitrary organizations were entertained everywhere in this country. Perhaps we experience these things, as the part played by money in human relations has terribly become void these days…” Surya said thoughtfully.
We made the down payment to Escrow. We don’t know the gentleman who sold us the house. We confirmed it by name that the seller was not Indian.
Every required test for the house finished. Reports received.
As the house was wooden made they checked every nook and corner of the house and suggested the required pesticides where the wood infested. They issued ‘Home Inspection Report’ and Termite Test Report’
We spent one thousand altogether.
Our agent specified that we can go for a negotiation to downsize the price with the seller based on the negative points in the report.
Surya said,”No such hopes with that tough gentleman, already knowing about him” Surya’s right. That man was stubborn.
He informed us that he would attend certain small repairs but remaining will be looked after by the buyer. After ten days the agent phoned us that the loan was sanctioned on stipulated time and can hand over the keys the next day.
Finally, after a long troubled trip with plenty of odds in the house, we relaxed once the house was ready for occupation.
“Hopefully the gentleman would come to hand over the keys I suppose” I said.
“Don’t be so hopeful, he sent the garage code to email. I was informed that the man dropped the keys in the washing machine promptly!”
How crazy it is! The transaction finished not looking face to face one another.
Next day we proceeded to new house not bothering much about auspicious moments etc., with a small photo of God and a bottle of water as we have no bigger steel vessel there, pouring the bottled water, we stepped in with our right feet. We finished the house warming ritual simply after eating the sweet rice that burnt on the stove as if it was a delicious food.
“It’s Okay everything now, but do you know how much we pay the mortgage? As we didn’t make a 20 percent down payment, we will have to pay an extra insurance premium as penalty. It comes altogether…” Surya is busy with his calculations.
I felt, “Why this fuss about mortgage at an auspicious moment?”
“So what?” I said with Surya dabbing his sweat on his face.
A post graduate in English literature and language and in Economics. A few of my translations were published. I translated the poems of Dr. Andesri , Denchanala, Ayila Saida Chary and Urmila from Telugu to English. I write articles and reviews to magazines and news papers. To the field of poetry I am rather a new face.