Here’s a few things you probably need to know about me: one of my Bachelors degrees (I received 2 simultaneously) is in criminal justice. I spent approximately 5 years working in the juvenile justice system. I then spent 3 years as an investigator for Medicaid. The takeaway? I have a very clear sense of right and wrong, and I believe that certain rules exist for a reason and need to be followed.
Also, I hate lying.
So when yesterday happened, and the purchase of our new home went south because not only did the sellers make an addition to their house illegally (and as an added bonus, they’re refusing to pay to fix it. Meaning that if my husband and I were to buy the house, we’d inherit this rather expensive problem), they lied about it on the sellers’ disclosure, I maybe went a little apeshit . Okay, fine. A lot apeshit. But it wasn’t without good reason. You see, my family was counting on the purchase of that house so WE COULD HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE. Because our house sold. And we settle in a month, meaning that now instead of moving into a new house, we have no place to live. Except maybe in the boxes we have sitting in our garage that we were supposed to use for moving.
So that’s awesome.
But what bothers me the most, besides the whole impending homelessness and money we’ve wasted and the lawsuit we’ll probably have to bring against the current owners in order to get said money back, is that this whole problem would have been solved if they had just paid the $40 permit fee when they made the addition. $40. That’s all it would have cost. And when you consider the thousands they were already shelling out, an additional $40 would have been a drop in the bucket. It would have ensured that they followed the rules, did things correctly, and this problem wouldn’t exist.
But I guess it’s more fun to do things illegally and hope you never get caught than to follow the rules. Which maybe it is. Except it’s not. Not when it comes to safety and following the law as it pertains to amending your home. Because those laws and protocols are there for a reason. And I don’t care who you are, you are not exempt from them. Despite what you might think.
As for the lying, this is why you don’t lie. You will get caught. And the repercussions will be way worse than if you had just told the truth upfront. My father always told me that I’d get in more trouble for lying than I would for anything I did (disclosure: I’m
was am huge nerd and I never did anything that I could have gotten in trouble for. Except that one time in high school I came home really, really drunk. And then maybe a couple of other things that maybe I shouldn’t talk about). So I never lied. Because I was more afraid of the consequences for that than anything else.
It’s too bad the sellers didn’t feel the same way. They’re clearly not afraid of the consequences which makes me sad. They clearly believe that their claim of ignorance of the law will be enough to absolve them of their actions. And they clearly think that their mistake is someone else’s to clean up.
To quote the great Dwight Schrute–False. All of those assumptions are false. That goes for anyone who puts themselves in that particular situation. If you create a problem by breaking the rules and then lying about it, it will not be someone else’s job to fix. It is yours. You need to take ownership of what you did. It’s part of personal responsibility and it’s part of being an adult. And for all the kids and teenagers out there who want to feel more grown up, this is a fabulous way to start. The beer and makeup can happen later.
As for my situation, we’re working on buying another house and looking at rentals simultaneously. We’re not actually going to be homeless. Just…inconvenienced if we can’t buy a new home right away. The inconvenience factor is a post in and of itself. Because despite what people may say, it’s not that easy when you have a school-aged child and 2 dogs. And that’s a post unto itself (which it will be. So check back on Monday for that).
So, please. Just do shit legally and according to code the first time you do. And if you don’t, be honest about it. Because when you don’t and you lie, you wind up hurting a lot of people in the process.