We were supposed to be closing on this place on March 20th. Our attorney informed us ahead of time that there was a hiccup with title. It turned out that the seller had owned this house as well as the adjacent one, which he had sold a little over a year prior. By mistake, the deed and mortgage for the adjacent parcel had both been recorded with this house included in the legal description. Whoops! Our attorney said that it was doubtful that this title company error would be resolved by the target closing date.
It was around the beginning of March that things were really starting to get crazy in NYC. My office, as with most of the office tenants in midtown had started to transition to having people work remotely. It was great for a couple of weeks. Not having to schlep across the East River twice a day was a welcome change. Not to mention my home office dress code was much less formal than the one at the midtown office. But the novelty wore off fairly quickly. First of all, Britt, who is self-employed, was splitting her workdays between our apartment and a local co-working space. Her co-working space closed its doors after I had been working remotely for about a week. At this point, we (along with most of NYC) had not yet understood the magnitude by which this virus would change the city.
In the span of a few days, everything was shutting down. Leaving the apartment was deemed dangerous, potentially deadly. It was scary as hell (to me, at least). Meanwhile, Britt and I (plus the dog) were now jammed together in a space of 1000sf, trying to conduct business as usual. This is not a sob-story by any means. In fact, I fully acknowledge that it was a complete dream compared to the situations many people were faced with (i.e. having kids home, 9 roommates, being in the hospital on a ventilator, etc..). But it was certainly exacerbating my already intense level of anxiety caused by the sudden chaotic turn the world had just taken. I was desperate to get out of the city. I think that Britt was as well, if for no other reason than to give our apartment floor a break from my restless pacing. The week that we were supposed to be closing on the Catskills house, we hatched a plan to pack a suitcase and just hang out at the ‘new’ house for a week or so until the virus scare blew over.
The day before the scheduled closing, it became very apparent that the title issue was not going to be resolved in time to close the following day. Britt and I brainstormed for a solution. We knew that the house was vacant, so we came up with the idea of asking the seller if we could lease the place until it was possible to close. I called our attorney, who relayed the ask to the seller. As a response, the seller did us one better and agreed to let us take possession early as long as we insured the place and switched over the utilities. Done! We papered the agreement with a simple two-pager then got busy packing the car.
The next morning, we left NYC before 7 AM. The listing agent had been kind enough to leave the keys in a lockbox for us. So when we arrived at the house that morning we were able to gain entry to the place with zero drama. There was still a lot of snow on the ground, and the place was pretty beat up. But hey, it was nice to be out of the city. Anyway, it was only going to be for a week or so, right?