Monday, January 5, 2009

Review of the service providers who facilitated my move to Utah

I was trying to figure out a way to make this post as cliche as possible by incorporating a good, bad, and ugly theme, but I'm too lazy to look for pictures or youtube clips, and there are more than three things to review, which don't all fit neatly into one of those categories anyway. Some of the experiences I had were too good to not give props, plus they present a nice contrast to some of the "other" experiences I had.

My real estate agent: Adam from Highbury Real Estate Group made the home selection and buying process as smooth as I can imagine it could have been. We thought we had good agents in Boise, but Adam is easily the best. He does what he says he'll do when he says he'll do it and thinks of the things I either didn't know about or forgot to ask about. In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll also make it clear that he's my brother, but be it known that I would be more harsh on him for that reason had I any grounds to do so. I didn't get special treatment--he's this way with all his clients.

The selling agent: If this were high school English class, the teacher would now be at the point in the lecture where character foils are discussed. Because everything that Adam was, the selling agent was not. For instance, when we made the offer, which had a deadline of 5:00 p.m. the following day, the offer sat on her fax machine until 3:00 the day of the deadline at which point it was finally looked at because Vallee answered her phone for the first time in the five attempts my agent had made to reach her. There were a few other instances where she left us scratching our heads, but the one that takes the cake was the closing. We scheduled the closing for Dec. 30 several weeks in advance. We actually had until Jan. 9 but didn't want to wait that long. My agent called Vallee at least twice, once to schedule the close and another time to confirm. And yet when the time came last week, she had forgotten (?!) and had failed to tell her client (!?!), so the deed wasn't ready.

My mortgage broker: I don't know if you know this, but mortgage rates are pretty low right now. So mortgage processors and underwriters are buried at the moment even while many banks have laid off so much staff that they'd be shorthanded for normal volume. Matt managed to get everything pushed through by the deadlines we set (only to have the train come off the tracks when the deed was not available). I told him I was going to give him a special ringtone on my phone so I'd know it was him, because he called me regularly to keep me informed of what was going on. My only gripe about the mortgage process was that we locked when rates first started dropping and should have waited because they dropped even further. Also in the spirit of full disclosure, another of my brothers works at Key Bank with Matt (in case you're wondering, I only have one other brother, who works here and handled my homeowner's insurance. So yes, they were all involved with the transaction in some way).

My moving truck: Rachel and I have moved eight times in eleven years of marriage. Actually, we've moved more than that since we met, but anytime everything fits in a suitcase or the back seat of a car, it doesn't count. I had sworn that I would hire movers next time, but four months of unemployment and a lousy economy managed to change that. Anyway, we've used Penske truck rentals on a couple of occasions and never had a bad experience. This time the truck pickup process took about ten minutes and was done in a clean, new building that had won an award for environmentally friendly design. The truck was new and ran well (though my dad was the only one who ever drove it), and the staff was courteous. No complaints, which is about the best one can hope for.

Unfortunately, not everything fit in the truck, so I also had to rent a trailer. With all my moves, I'd never rented anything from Uhaul before. I'd purchased packing supplies there, but never rented equipment. I never will again. When I picked up the trailer, the office was an old RV that smelled like cat pee and looked like cousin Eddy's tenement on wheels from Christmas Vacation. The agent was inept, and even though I had never used his software before, I still could have got myself through the process at least four times faster. He had to call for help several times only to be told to do the thing I had already suggested. I had to constrain myself from yelling at him and was ready to strangle him by the time I was done.

But that's not all: when I returned the trailer, the person I called to get the return location told me to go to American Fork because the Draper location was full and wouldn't accept trailers. When I got to AF, the agent there (who was working in the office of a dark, grimy shop that would have been scary had I not already spent an hour in the cat pee trailer) didn't want to let me return it to American Fork because "Utah County is on a different fee schedule than Salt Lake County." Not that it makes any difference on a one-way rental. Eventually after more phone calls she agreed to let me leave it there and acted like she was being all magnanimous for waiving the fee I apparently should have been charged for dropping it in the wrong county even though that's where I was told to take it. You can bet I was happy to fill out the online customer survey Uhaul sent me.

I'm hoping this will be the last move, if not forever, at least for a very long time during which I can reach a level of financial security that ensures I never have to set foot in a Uhaul location again.


  1. I hope you never have to move again. I know that we're already saying "never again", and considering this home to be our last home purchase for a long, long time. If my next home is my retirement home, then that would be great!

  2. I better not get you started on the bumbling rabble that showed up to actually move your precious belongings. Nice day for a move. ;-)