can i please have a house for christmas?

December 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about the house, mostly because it would just be, hey guys, I don’t have a house yet.

We went to look at the house again a few weeks ago with my friend slash potential tenant of The Big Room and my bff.  The first time I went to look at the house, I was in a sun dress and fit flips.  This last time, I waddled over in my winter fit flop boots and my giant gray sleeping-bag jacket.

Yes, it’s been that long.  No, I’m not bitter about it.

The shiny blue For Sale sign is still up on the house.  Hmm, strange.  The seller’s agent is running a little late so we do our best to admire the pretty brick front with white trim and the unfortunate amount of large ceramic animals lining the stoop and to ignore the fact that the For Sale sign is still up on the house, wtf?

I anxiously leave the seller’s agent another message as one of my friends points down the block and says, Is that her?

I wave.  The figure in the beige cape-like coat waves back.  Yes, that’s her.

My phone isn’t working, she semi-yells towards us as we’re not yet within speaking distance from each other.

She has a big smile pasted to her face and grabs my shoulder to give me a hug.  I introduce her to my friends and she gestures us towards the door.

Is the owner coming?

Oh no, not the owner, her son is here.

Oh, okay.

And Ms. Pringle is sick, but we can just go up for a second.

Oh, no no no, we only need to see the bottom so my friend can see the room.

Are you sure?

Yes, definitely.  We don’t need to go up there, especially if she’s sick.

Okay, well let’s start at the top then with Ms. Pringle.

Um, okay.

We passed the family on our way in and said our hellos.

Ms. Isaac, we’re coming up! she yelled up the stairway.  Yes, even after I said we didn’t need to go up there.

The care-giver answered the door and I shook my head and put up my hands.  I looked down at my friends who were trailing behind me.  No, we really don’t need to go in there.

Are you sure? the agent asked again.

Yes, we DO NOT need to go in there right now.

She shrugged.  Okay.  Let’s go down to the second floor.

Exchanging looks as we came down, we made our way into the first bedroom.

Take your time showing them around, I’ll be downstairs with the family, the agent said, already halfway down the stairs.

We wander through the two rooms at the top, noting the dried paint splattered on the parquet floors, open the two closets very carefully, and generally tiptoe around the house that is very clearly still occupied.  The toddler’s bed is still laid out in the room that would be mine.

Slowly down the stairs we go, first to the room behind the kitchen, the room that would be my bff’s.  At the very least, it’s been long enough now for us to know that the house is warm in the winter.  Silver lining?

We sweep through the kitchen, turn on the stove a few times, crack open the oven, and comment on needing to get a new fridge.

The two chandeliers are still just as charming as we remember, the dining room smaller than we remember, but everything still generally in tact.

We say some quick goodbyes to the family and trudge back outside, scarves and gloves back on.  I ask the agent why that For Sale sign is still up, she says she still hasn’t gotten a copy of the contract.  Grrrreeaaaat.

Little Skips is a five minute walk away and a good sit at a local coffee shop sounds like just what we need.  I snag the last table available that busy Sunday afternoon and pull out my laptop with the full intention of working but I can’t focus.

My friends come back, caffeine in hand.

Some small chit chat until I just said it.

I’m nervous about the house.

Pause.  What are you nervous about?

Did it smell funky in there or was it just me?

No, it smelled funky.  And it didn’t smell like that during the summer.

I’ve got to get an inspector in there.

I just, wow, it’s a lot more work than I remember it needing.

But, it’s totally move in ready.


Contemplative silence.  Or maybe just regular silence.

I get the signed contract in the mail a few days later.  Scan and send to my mom.

Then December 14th, The Big Day, comes.  And goes.

I email both the agents and they have no news for me.  Vague next steps like the judge needs to review the information from the hearing.  One agent emails me back with no real info, I email the other agent and ask what the story is.  Then I call her.

Hey, how are you?

Good, how are you?

Good, yeah, I’m sorry I didn’t get back to your email.  I’ve been taking a break from everything for a while.

Oh. (Why would you not tell a client this?)  Okay, well, I was just wondering if you knew more about the case.

Let me get back to you after I call the owner and I’ll let you know.

Okay.  I’ll talk to you soon then.

Okay, take care, talk to you soon.

And then nothing.

So this is where I am.  Not really sure where to go from here.  Started halfheartedly looking at other properties and making a few phone calls.

Monday I’m calling my attorney if I don’t hear from the agent.

Bah humbug.

happy thanksgiving, i signed a contract

November 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

I mean, the wait isn’t over yet or anything.  Really, I signed this contract and forked over the entire down payment amount on pre-Thanksgiving Monday (I guess all the Mondays before Thanksgiving are pre-Thanksgiving, so what I mean to say is immediately pre-Thanksgiving Monday) (and then of course if I were to carry the logic, is the Monday after this Thanksgiving post-Thanksgiving Monday or pre-Thanksgiving Monday for 2011?  Are all Mondays just a series of pre- and post-Thanksgiving Mondays simultaneously??), ANYWAY, I went to sign the contract this last Monday and gave a big old check to basically hold the house.

Once the owner signs this contract, this means she can’t try to sell it to anyone else except me.

I got some of what I wanted – I don’t have to start the loan process until after the hearing (12/14 is the big day!), or order an inspection, or do a title search, all things that would cost me money if I did them and suddenly found out there was no house to be had.  They also have until January 5th to have letters in testamentary issued (rhymes with rudimentary, I still have to stay “rudimentary/testamentary” in my head every time I try to say the t-word) or I can walk.

(I really don’t want to walk.)

This puts us at closing around the beginning/middle of February, according to my attorney.  We took a few hours to go through the entire contract, reviewing every instance she put in where I could bail out if needed.

If I don’t qualify for a loan, I could bail out.

If something on the inspection report is a glaring problem, I could bail out.

If the letters don’t come by January 5, I could bail out.

If the hearing doesn’t go in their favor, I could bail out.

If an outstanding mortgage or lien appears in the title report, I could bail out.

And I get my money back if any of these scenarios happen.

Which is good.

But holy crap, am I crossing my fingers that no one objects at the 12/14 hearing and the (rudimentary)testamentary letters are issued by January 5.  And that the title report comes out clean.  And that I still qualify for that loan two weeks from now.

How in the world does anyone ever buy a house??

So now it’s just more waiting until 12/14.  That’s also my brother’s birthday.  Maybe we’ll be REALLY happy he’s turning 24 that day.

Next thing I’m working on is getting a homeowners insurance quote.  I know it won’t actually take that long to get a quote as the property&casualty agent I work with is pretty lightning fast, but at the very least, it will cure my house-antsy-ness and I’ll have a solid idea of how much it will actually cost to insure a brownstone in Bushwick.  It will give me a solid idea of something.


I just want what I want when I want it.  I feel like that isn’t too much to ask, right?


moving closer to the dotted line

November 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s-been-a-long-week is an understatement.  On the upside, one of our good friends and future roommates sent us a cake for letting her stay at our house while she was visiting.  A whole cake.  Pumpkin spice with cream cheese frosting in case you were wondering.

So the week began with an uneventful weekend, that is, no steps closer to a house.  I spoke to my attorney that Friday and said I wanted to add five things to the contract that would allow me to dissolve if they weren’t met:

  1. I wanted to only put $1,000 down.
  2. I didn’t want to have to start the loan process until after the results of the 12/14 hearing (which means I didn’t have to lock in a rate until then which means I won’t get screwed if this whole hearing goes to hell)
  3. I wanted to have the inspection done after 12/14 as well.  Shelling out $750 for an inspection is something I don’t want to have to do twice.
  4. I wanted to extend the closing date to 1/31/11 to accommodate all the above changes.
  5. I wanted to cap the interest rate I would be locking at at 4.25%.

I immediately emailed both of the agents to make sure no one wasn’t in the loop (yeah, unravel that double negative, whoo) and received a generically nice email back from one of them saying they would speak to the seller.  I was set to call someone on Monday and hear back from them, so I called my attorney and the seller’s agent in a personal race to see who would call me back first.  And the winner waaaaaaassssssaaaaassss… neither of them.

Using my past experience as a guide though, I knew the seller’s agent was much easier to get a hold of, so, continuing my neurotic streak, I called her and she picked up!  We exchanged our usual pleasantries and then:

She says, So listen, the seller is ready to sign the contract and understands how you’re going to wait until 12/14 to start the loan process and she’s okay with it.

Oh, okay.  Wow.  Um, what about the other things in my email?

What other things?

Good thing she couldn’t see my face fall through the phone.  I ran through the list of things I told her.

Good thing I couldn’t see her bat her hand away in the air as if the list of things was an insect buzzing too close to her ear.  Oh, we’ll let the seller’s attorney handle all of that and talk to her about that, she says.  I don’t want to confuse the owner by having her be told too many things by different people.  Also, you shouldn’t put a rate cap in the contract.  It looks like you’re not serious.

Right.  I understand.  Okay, well let me call my attorney and I will call you back.

Okay, sounds good, have a good one.

You too.

Go back to my desk and email my attorney – the seller is ready to sign! is really what I got out of that conversation.  Don’t hear from her all day so I call her office the next morning to try to schedule a time to speak with her.  Placed on hold.

She will call you back today.

Well, can I just schedule a time with her today or tomorrow?  I know she’s really busy so I want to make sure we have time to talk.

On hold again.

She promises she will call you today.  She says she promises.

Good thing she couldn’t see my face fall through the phone.  Okay, well thank you.

It’s 6:30.  Then it’s 6:55.  No call.  Now I am yelling on the phone with my boyfriend about how I can’t believe she hasn’t called yet, I’m so tired of this, it’s impossible to get a hold of her, hold on, I think this is her, can I call you back?

It’s 7:25.

As usual, she dives right in – the seller’s attorney is okay with 2, 3, and 4 above.  But he doesn’t think I should only be allowed to put $1,000 down and doesn’t think the rate lock is reasonable.  But you already told me you don’t think you need to do the rate cap at 4.25% (in the email right after I spoke to the seller’s agent).  His argument is the money is just sitting in escrow and if I only have $1,000 in the game, I could back out and really only lose $1,000.  They already took the house off the market and they are working really hard to get these letters in testamentary as soon as they can.  The down payment is really just a deposit, it’s not like it’s gone.

(They already took the house off the market??)

Okay, that makes sense.  Okay, I think I can put the whole down payment in.

Then I ask her if it’s possible that I could schedule times to speak with her because I know she’s really busy and I would like to make sure we can talk.  Yeah I went there.

She explained that we could do that but it would be a waste of time to speak if she didn’t actually have any updates for me.  She only just got a hold of the seller’s attorney.  She’s calling back attorneys during the day to catch them while she knows they’re working and she calls clients at night.

Then I kept going there.  I understand.  I’m just pretty anxious about this whole deal and I have a lot of questions, if it was possible for you just to respond to my emails with an “okay, I got it” or “I’m looking into it” it would really put me at ease.

Pause.  First time I’ve heard her pause ever.  She usually doesn’t often stop to breathe.  Okay, we can do that.

Great, thanks!

The next day, I email my mom, tell her the down payment scenario, and after a few back and forth emails, mis-texted bank account numbers (sorry Mom!) and a final phone call of luckily-I-had-the-account-number-from-the-last-time-you-gave-it-to-me, she asked me to check the balance in my account —

And there it was.

I have an appointment to sign the contract on Monday.  I asked the attorney to add a clause about a drop dead date – if they don’t have these infamous letters in testamentary by early January, I can walk away.

I hope I’ve thought of everything.  Eek.


November 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

No, not the fun kind of limbo where you try to walk under the pole to some music that you end up forgetting is there because you’re too busy wishing you did your yoga that week and wishing you didn’t wear jeans when the pole height moves from 42 inches above the ground to 38. (Is this the fun kind of limbo?)

No, I mean the even less fun kind of limbo that refers to that in between place between here and Hell.  You know, like making it under the pole at 38 inches and having it lowered to 34 and being too far in this that you can’t quit and the music rushes into your ears and Genie in a Bottle warbles into your consciousness and your jeans feel like they’ve stitched themselves to your skin and maybe limbo and limbo are exactly the same thing.

Yeah, that’s what this feels like.

Had an especially grating phone email phone email exchange today.  Working with two real estate agents–who I’m going to remind you and me are both lovely people to work with–working with two real estate agents during a time of limbo and uncertainty, well it blows.  You have one agent who is making promises on Saturday and another agent who has to live up to those promises on Monday without really knowing exactly what they were.

On Saturday, I called Agent #1 to continue to freak out about the whole legal situation.  I had called my attorney at the end of the week and she called the seller’s estate attorney for some details.  The crazy cousin, apparently, is just supposed to not appear on December 14th (the seller’s next court date AND my brother’s birthday, hooray!) and they can just chalk it up to attempted-to-get-a-response-and-she-didn’t-bite and get that absolved.  But, another cousin was served with papers and responded that she was going to appear with an attorney and the seller’s attorney didn’t think this was going to be resolved until the end of January.  Um what?

You can imagine what Agent #1 got an earful of on the phone.  I went on about my inability to lock an interest rate most of the time and how I was concerned with the rates going up.

Well, if the rate is about to expire, you can just extend it, she said.

No, it actually costs about $4,000 to extend the rate every five days.


Yeah, that’s not really an option.

Well, you can negotiate with the seller to have her pay any fees to extend the rate.

By the time I know that I need to extend it, I’ll already be so far in, I’ll be ass out! (that’s what she said (sorry, I couldn’t help it).)

No no no, you negotiate it now, into your contract.



Yeah, we can work it into your contract.  Talk to your lawyer and we can talk to the seller on Monday when you come see the house again. (3rd time we’ve rescheduled in the last week, ugh.)

Okay, that sounds great.  I would definitely feel more comfortable if I knew I could lock the rate and that she was willing to take the risk with me.  Especially if she thinks this is going to end sooner rather that later.

(I didn’t say it would mean she would putting her money where her mouth is, but it took a lot of willpower not to.)

Agent #1 tells me she just needs to double-verify with the owner on the time, but we’re pretty much set.  I text Agent #1 on Sunday to confirm and call her on Monday to confirm and don’t hear a word from her.

Enter Agent #2.

She emails me out of the blue and says she knows I talked to Agent #1 on Saturday and asks if I still want to see the house today.  And if I’m still having the inspector come.

Yes, yes I do! (And what inspector?  I canceled that last week when I heard about all the ridiculous complications.)

Okay, Agent #1 can’t be there and the owner can’t be there so it will be Agent #2 and the owner’s son.

Fine, did you talk to Agent #1 about her suggestion?

What suggestion?

(What do you mean what suggestion?)  (I tell her the whole rate lock extension seller-pays-fees suggestion.)

I’ll call Agent #1 right now and find out.

(email 10 minutes later.)  The owner’s son’s girlfriend’s son (really) had to go to the emergency room and he can’t show the house today.

And, because I’m a single-minded, selfish bitch, I call her immediately and say, is there any way someone else can show the house or let us in?  My friend is visiting from out of town and this is the 4th time we’ve rescheduled in one week.

She says she’ll call the owner and call me right back.  Emails instead.  The son is 4 and has a gash in his head and they are in the emergency room now.  No one else can let us in.  They are going to call if they get out of the emergency room early enough.

Enter single-minded, selfish bitch again.  Long elaborate email about how my friend is leaving town in two days and she’s already scheduled her day around viewing this house and how I need her to sign a lease agreement before she leaves in case the loan officer asks for it and I want her to see the house before she does it.

Agent #2’s response?  You keep saying you’ve rescheduled 4 times, but I only recall rescheduling twice. (Really, this is what you want to spend time on right now?).  She then goes on to say she’ll go to Brooklyn after work and wait to see if the son is finished and can let us in.

My response?

1. with the inspector from saturday to wednesday (my friend was going to come)
2. canceled the inspection on wednesday because of the legal issues and no one could show me the house after work
3. Agent #1 told me she could show me the house over the weekend, only to find out that the owner couldn’t show the house.
4. this time.
She definitely picked the wrong person to play a counting game with.
I then asked her if the owner could get a key to her (but in a more grit-my-teeth-through-email-try-to-be-polite-but-really-just-want-my-way sort of way).
She writes back, I already told you the owner is not at home today (oh yeah, possibly glossed over that), and then she wrote JUST IN CASE in all caps a lot while she laid out how she was going to go from her job in Queens to Brooklyn JUST IN CASE and how she was going to wait JUST IN CASE and how she was going to make the trip despite the rain and despite the fact that she lives in New Jersey JUST IN CASE.  No joke.
So I call her.  She is obviously just as frustrated as me.
I say, look, I know they are not going to get out of that emergency room at 6:30.  That’s not the way emergency rooms work.  You should just go home.  I’ve just been really frustrated with the whole thing.
And then she says, well, you shouldn’t be frustrated because when you get frustrated, you make mistakes.
No joke.
So I take a deep breath and refrain from saying what is on the tip top of my tongue.  Look, I don’t think is going to happen today.  You shouldn’t come all the way out to Brooklyn.  Just go home.
She offers to show the house to my friend early tomorrow morning (which my friend can’t do anyway) and we say our goodbyes.
Silent scream.
Go home and eat grits and the last of the brownie pan.
Yep.  Limbo.

thrown for a loop – crazy cousins who won’t sign papers

November 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve spent the last week or so running around doing non-house type things (okay, really, I mean I’ve spent the last week being too lazy to write about non-house type things, I never really stop doing house type things) and bam!  Eight days from the last time I wrote anything about the house – that Michael Stein guy is a distant memory – and now there are crazy cousins involved who won’t sign papers.

Yes, the title of this entry is 100% accurate.

So, after I sent a long list of questions to my attorney and asked her to call me as soon as she possibly could (one of my temporary bouts of holy-crap-I’m-buying-a-house-and-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing), she called me around 6 pm yesterday evening and honestly, I don’t even remember the answers she gave to my questions because then she dropped the crazy cousin bomb on me – apparently there is an issue with the Will where the woman who died had no children and left the seller as the executor (this means she’s the one who administers the wishes in the Will).  She then needed to get all the other cousins to sign some paper saying they’re not going to contest the Will and she has all the other cousin’s signatures.  If you haven’t stop reading by now, this is where crazy cousin come in – yep, you guessed, she’s refusing to sign anything.  Not only that, she is refusing to even speak to anyone or open her door.  Can’t be bothered to the nth degree.

What does this mean for me?  I don’t really know yet.  No one really has any of the details yet or can fully articulate what is going to happen next, but I did get a damage control phone call tonight from one of the seller’s agents  – she didn’t actually know any more than I did, but definitely wanted to get a gauge of where my head was in everything.

So I told her.  I said, like I said in the email that prompted this phone call at 9:38 pm on a Tuesday, that if there is nothing definite one way or another by early next week, I want to start looking at other houses.

You have to be optimistic about these things, she said at some point.

I can’t be optimistic about this!

We left the conversation with her one her way to writing an email to the seller’s estate attorney and me setting up a time to see the house again with my friend slash potential tenant.

And at the very least to remind myself why I still want to buy this house.

Finally got a hold of this guy’s manager

October 23, 2010 § 1 Comment

This was an adventure in its own right.  I emailed my loan officer this morning to see if he could get this other loan officer’s manager, but I was too anxious to wait for an answer.  So I searched for some kind of general number on the internet and after much nail biting and hemming and hawing, I finally… asked my coworker to call for me so they wouldn’t suspect anything!

No one picked up.

Why don’t you just go up there? he asked.

It was only four floors up.  Yeah, I could go up there…

Do you want me to come with you?


(Five minutes later)

Could you come up with me?

He laughs and puts on his suit jacket and we jump on the elevator.  We turn the corner, ready to put on our smiles for the receptionist and we see that… there is no receptionist.  Just a set of locked glass doors and a list of extensions by the door.

SVP, NY Sales Manager, got it, my coworker says as he simultaneously repeats the number aloud and types it into his Blackberry.  He also memorizes a managing director’s extension as a back up.

We jump back on the elevator and I make the call.  Voicemail.  Leave a message.  Call the other number.

Hi, Wells Fargo.

Hi, can I please speak to the manager for Michael Stein?  This is regarding a pending mortgage.

Well this is Equipment Purchasing, (oh, haha), but, hmm, let me just connect you to the NYC Sales Manager.

Another voicemail.  He also leaves his cell phone in the message and I quickly jot it down.

Call his cell phone.  Another voicemail.  This time, not only do I mention I have a pending loan in the message, I also specify that I have an issue with one of his loan officers.  Get a call back that night while I’m on the subway and I’m already thinking about my downward dog pose by the time I receive the message.  Tomorrow it is.

Call close to lunchtime the next day.  I explain my whole situation, as tactfully as I could.  He listened very quietly and carefully and I tell him about how I ended up on the phone with him.

I hear him take a deep breath and explain, that technically, Michael was right, it is the “rules of the road” that there won’t be any internal competition among loan officers so the fact that I started the application with Michael and decided to switch to another Wells Fargo loan officer set off that flag.  Also, when the application was generated, it set of triggers to prepare the other paperwork, so apparently he had no control over the fact that it was going to be sent to me.  It wasn’t meant to be malicious.

I told the manager that what he said made complete sense and Michael did essentially say the same thing, he just didn’t say it as, well, he said it in a way that made me feel like I had no way out.  I said he must understand how this series of events ended up looking to me, from the phone calls late in the evening all the way down to the paperwork that arrived at my door after I told him to stop with the paperwork.

Pause.  I hear what you’re saying.  While Michael did technically say all the correct things, he just wasn’t tactful about any of it.


Pause.  Okay, this is what I’m going to do.  First, I just want to say, this is an unusual complaint, Michael is actually great at his job.  I of course want to make, you, the customer, happy, and it sounds like you would prefer to work with this other loan officer instead.  I’m going to reach out to him or his supervisor and see if we can work something out, because while I do want to satisfy you as the customer, I do also need to make sure we keep the “rules of the road” in tact – I can’t have my guys here thinking that someone internally can take their cases and have that be okay.

My turn to pause.  I completely understand, that is totally reasonable.  Yes, I would prefer to work with the other loan officer from now on.  Please let me know if you need any more information (hey, I’m in client service too, that sentence is like a tick).  Thanks.

The end.  I guess?  I email my current loan officer to fill him in and don’t get a reply back.  Oh well.  I guess it really isn’t my problem now.

In other news, Ms. Pringle is actually Ms. Isaac!  We’ve been calling her the wrong name all this time!  Mr. Pringle – Mrs. Pringle = Ms. Isaac.  Aha.  And I found that fun fact out because she agreed to sign a lease!  For the amount I proposed!  Everything’s coming up Milhouse.

Now if I could just get a hold of my attorney to finalize the contract, work out a time for the inspector to come through, lock in the interest rate for the loan, and try to find other roommates for my current apartment, and cure cancer, then I’d feel REALLY good about everything.

This guy just doesn’t quit, plus a few other fires to put out

October 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

It must be quarter busters or something at Wells Fargo and this guy just needs to meet his quota for the month.

Today, I get a UPS overnight package in the mail from Wells Fargo.  Weird.  I haven’t even sent my new loan officer any paperwork or supporting documents to approve any sort of loan.

I tear open the package and it’s a stack of closing documents  and at the very bottom of the cover letter is the other loan officer.  The very morning I told him I wasn’t working with him anymore (I feel like the email couldn’t be any more clear), he overnighted a package of forms to me, in true Michael Stein fashion (yeah, I said it, that’s his real name), with absolutely no explanation of what any of it meant or where it even came from.

So there you have it.  That just seals the douchebag deal.  The best part is that he got the address of the property I’m purchasing incorrectly.  So not only am I supposed to sign these papers for this loan I didn’t ask to take out with him, apparently I’m also going to take the mortgage out for the house down the block.

Of course I immediately email my loan officer and we have a call set tomorrow to discuss this and many other things.  I’m ready to go to his manager and tell him why their branch didn’t get my business.  I can’t help but feel harassed at this point.  Even if he sent it to me accidentally, he could have sent (of course he didn’t send) a warning email to ignore the package.  Now all I can think about is how he knows my social security number.  Awesome.

All of this follows a short, but excruciating call with my attorney about the contract earlier that evening.  First she tells me that it says I’m putting 20% down on the house.  It also doesn’t mention that this is an FHA loan.  It further does not mention any sort of seller’s concession.  It goes on to say that the house will be delivered vacant. What would Mrs. Pringle have to say about that?

Then I find out they need to know the exact amount of the loan because it’s stated in the contract.  First, I’m told I need to wait until I have a contract to run numbers for the loan, then I’m told I need to have the numbers run for the loan to put into the contract.  Why is it that no one will just tell me all the parts that I need to have in the order I need to have them in?

I’m too full of questions, not enough answers tonight.  I’m also too full of phlegm, not enough tea.

I feel like I’ve said this before, but I have to say it again – this is waaaay more complicated than I would have ever anticipated.  The amount of moving parts involved baffles me and it amazes me that any mortgages are ever issued.  How?  Who has the time for this?  The only silver lining I can think of is maybe we won’t have to move until the end of winter.  Otherwise, this mostly just blows.

I still get to have a house by the end of it, right?

Another patronizing douchebag who thinks I’m an idiot… great

October 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

So I ended up calling this other loan officer (that’s what they’re called when you’re working directly with a bank, yay learning) in the early afternoon, first thing in the morning was a little to much of a request.  Tables tuuuurning… now.

He picks up immediately, surprise.  I almost never get him on the phone on the first try.  I say,

Hi, how are you?

I’m so disappointed in you. (huh? He’s what now?)  I’m surprised you emailed me instead of called me so I could see if my managers could give you a better deal.

Oh, yeah, I just wanted to let you know as soon as possible because I didn’t want you to keep working on my case.  I got this referral from a friend and she had a really good experience with him so I thought I’d give him a shot.  Also, I misspoke, I’m not actually going with another mortgage broker, I meant I was going with another lender.

Oh, with another major bank?

No, still Wells Fargo actually, just someone else.

(Pause. Pause pause pause.)   If you’re still going with Wells Fargo, you have to work with me.  I put your loan into the system first.  All our systems are integrated and they won’t let someone else put another loan in under the same name.

(Wrong.)  Well, then how did they run a pre-approval for me a few weeks ago?

(Pause.)  Well, I put it in first.

I mean, he also gave me a better deal.

What was it?

I’d rather not say.

(So he looks it up because, of course, their systems are integrated.)  $1500 more than I offered you.

Yeeeaaahh. (Pause.)

(Pause.)  Listen, I was the one who put your name in the system first, so if you’re going to work with Wells Fargo, you’re going to have to work with me.

(Ummmm,) I have another call coming on the line that I’m going to have to take, can I call you back?


(Hang up.)

I immediately email the other loan officer and finally get a hold of him at the end of the day.  This guy can’t be right, right?

I am relieved when he picks up the phone and tell him the entire scenario, everything this other loan officer said to me, and asked him what the real story was.

(Pause.)  Wow, I can’t believe he said that to you.

That’s not true, right?

(Slight, incredulous chuckle.)  No, you don’t have to work with anyone you don’t want to.  The worst that’s going to happen is that he wants a bit of my commission on this case.  Has he started gathering documents for you?  Has he started the underwriting process?

Well is there any way you don’t give him any commission?  Yes, I did send him documents and no, he hasn’t really started anything.

Listen, of course you don’t have to work with this guy if you don’t want to.  We’ll work it out here, the commission is not something you should have to worry about.

Good, because if I had to work with this guy, I was just not going to work with Wells Fargo.

Wow, I cannot believe he said that to you.  Do me a favor, don’t think about this anymore.  This is not your problem, you need to be focused on getting the loan.  If anything comes back to me, it’s something my managers and I will deal with on our end.  Did you give him my name?

No, I didn’t give him any of your information.  What do I say if he comes back to me?

Just say you went with another lender.

What if he decides to look it up in the system to see if I’m lying? (yes, I could not believe I had to ask that question myself.)

(Pause.)  I doubt he’ll go that far once he knows he’s lost the case.  And if he does, again that is not something you should worry about.  That’s my job.  I will take care of this if anything happens.

Thank you.

(Another chuckle, this time amused.)  That’s so funny, I thought you were calling because you were going to tell me you went back to this guy and he offered you a better deal.  I was preparing my concession speech.

Oh no, I am definitely working with you.  Thank you.

Of course.  Have a great night.

You too!

And I did.

Epilogue: The other mortgage guy emailed me to ask if I talked to the other loan officer.  I immediately emailed it to my guy and asked him what the best way to respond was.  He told me what to say, verbatim.  I literally copied and pasted:

I did. From my understanding, the file you started never went to underwriting therefore I can switch loan officers if I’d like. In all honesty, I think I am going to pursue a different course. I do not need additional stress at this time as I’m hoping for a smooth transaction. I do not want to be in the middle of an “office politics” battle. Thank you for your time and assistance. If a file has been submitted, please cancel it immediately.

Bam.  Roasted.

So it turns out you can negotiate with mortgage lenders too…

October 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

I had been thinking about it all day.  But would it be going too far?  I mean, it’s one this to negotiate a lower price at the used furniture store to get the couch for 80 bucks instead of 100, or even to, well, negotiate down the price of a home (hello, analogy staring me right in front of my face), but was it possible to negotiate the closing cost credit?

Let me back up.  It turns out I didn’t qualify for SONYMA – while my credit was flawless (if I do say so myself) and I was the perfect candidate in every other way, my debt-to-income ratio was too high.  That means that by their calculations, more than 40% of my income would be going towards paying this mortgage.  Yeesh.

Thank goodness for FHA and their less stringent guidelines.  Of course, less stringent translates to this-will-cost-me-more-money.  For instance, the interest rates right now with SONYMA are 3.5%, with FHA, they are 4.25%.  That is a difference of about $170 a month in my mortgage payment.  For another instance, SONYMA does require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) to be paid every month, since I am putting less than 20% down.  FHA does too, but it also requires that I pay upfront PMI at the time of closing.  That’s an extra $4000.  They do let you finance it (that means add it to your mortgage amount), but it’s just a random amount of money that you’ll be paying interest on for 30 years.

Currently though, Wells Fargo, who I’m doing my mortgage with, is offering a closing cost credit.  The only catch is this credit is based on a percentage of the mortgage amount that is based on how they feel the market is doing.  For example, say my mortgage was $100,000 (I wish!).  Wells, today, is offering a 0.625% credit on the closing costs, a tidy $625 in this case.  Tomorrow though, that credit could be 0.8% or 0.2%, no one knows, and the amount can literally change that much that fast.

I spoke to my mortgage lender this morning and he told me the credit was going to be one number if I locked in now.  I hesitated and said I wanted to talk to the seller’s agent to find out how far along the contract was and I would call him right back.  He didn’t call me back for two hours, only to tell me that the credit was $500 less than it was when we spoke last.

He said he would call me to let me know if the rate went up or down.  I stewed about that $500 for the rest of the day.

There was a little voice in the back of my head that kept saying, just call the other guy.  You liked him better anyway.  The only reason you gave this guy a shot was because his office is on the 15th floor of your building.  A minor convenience in the grand scheme of things, right?

By the end of the day, I was looking up the other mortgage lender’s number and closing my gmail window obsessively, going back and forth in my head on whether or not it was actually worth it to go through the trouble.

I called my boyfriend.  He said, yeah you should do it.  You love doing that kind of stuff.

So I called the other mortgage lender.  Also with Wells Fargo, so I wasn’t straying too far.  He picked up.  I was surprised.  It was 6 pm and he answered after the first ring.

Hi, I’m not sure if you remember me.

Jog my memory.

I was working with your associate, I wanted to try for the SONYMA loan and —

Yes, I remember you!  Didn’t work out?

No, I didn’t qualify, so I’m currently working with this other guy on the FHA loan and the only reason I decided to go with him first is because he works in my building, but eh, he’s all right, and I really liked the exchange we had (and on and on I went)… so I was wondering if you could give me a better deal. (Now take a breath).

I won’t even ask you what he offered you.  Let me quote you what I can do for you right now.

He gave me the quote.  Same offer as the other guy.  Pause.  Deep breath.  Is there anything more you can do for me?

Well, this is the amount without an exception.  With an exception, I can give you $1500 more.

Done.  Wait, what’s an exception?

It’s basically me going back to my managers to make sure I can do this for you.

Oh.  Cool.  Let’s lock it in.

When do you expect to close?  Do you have the contract ready?

I don’t know yet, should be less than 60 days, right?  The contract should be ready by the end of the week.

Hold on for a minute.  Now, this rate’s only locked in for 60 days.  If you let it expire, you can’t apply for a mortgage for another 60 days.  If you need to extend it, it could cost you as much as 0.8% of the mortgage amount to extend it every five days.

(Oh.  No one had ever explained that to me.)

Will you still me able to offer me the deal you just gave?

Well, that’s the deal I can give you today.  Now you can shop around and see if other brokers will give you a better deal, save you another couple hundred dollars just to make sure this is the best you can get.

(And I can’t believe I said this, but I meant it:) Honestly, you’ve been great and if it costs me an extra couple hundred dollars to work with you, then I think it’s worth it.

We can also go through closing costs and I’ll explain what everything is.

And then he did.

And then he said what every anxious, neurotic, OCD, type-A, first-time home-buyer wants to hear: I work a little differently – I have a policy of keeping everyone in the loop at all times, so if I send an email to one person, I send an email to everyone involved, that way everyone is held accountable.

That. Sounds. Awesome.

Great, well, I will have my associate give me your file, I’ll take this case on myself.  Because I don’t usually take these kinds of cases, he might be contacting you for some day to day things–

Not a problem, he was great.

–but I am always available to answer any questions you have at any time.  Email is the best way to reach me and if I feel like the question is too complicated to reply by email, I will call you back.

My little OCD bulbs were lighting up like it was the 8th day of Hanukkah.  I really just wanted someone to give me permission to do what I would be doing anyway – sending tons of emails with reckless abandon and expecting that you answer every single one as thoroughly as it took me to formulate the question.

Then, at 8:30 pm today, the other mortgage broker calls me (I sent him an email not one hour before).  I let it go to voicemail and he insists that he at least allow he and his managers the chance to match or beat the offer of the other lender.  Also, it turns out I’d been using the term broker too loosely (by that, I mean incorrectly) because he went on this tangent about how brokers can’t guarantee closing dates and turn around times, etc. the same way Wells can.

He said to call him first thing tomorrow morning.  I think I will.  This could get interesting.

also, why I have the best landlords in the world

October 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

My landlords have always been lovely people.  They live below us so they are also our neighbors and they have been exceptional neighbors.  To celebrate the end of summer and the recent completion of their amazing backyard (forreal – stone, white fence, angel fountain in the corner, it is classy with a capital C), they insisted we come join them for a barbeque about a month ago and insisted I invite my boyfriend.  For the next four hours, we danced to their amazing sound system and ate their plentiful and beyond delicious food.  At one point, I had five different kinds of meat on my plate.  When we had to leave to make it to a friend’s show, they literally barred the door back into the house.

So you can imagine during this whole process of trying to find a house, there was always a nagging reality in the back of my head that when I found out, I would have to tell them we’d be moving out.  For the last three months, I’ve debated with myself and with my bff slash roommate about the timing, the content of the conversation, who should do the talking/not talking, how to react to their reactions, all of it.

And finally, on a rare night this last week when everyone was home before 10 pm, we plunked down the stairs, looked at each other nervously, and knocked at a medium sound level on their door.

Hey girls!  And guy! our landlady greets us.  She is still getting used to the fact that our new roommate is not a small Asian woman and we are no longer her “Charlie’s Angels,” as she dubbed us in her Christmas card last year.

Hi… We were wondering if we could talk to you guys about the lease… I mean if this is a bad time we can find another time, I mean, we just didn’t sign a lease since the last one ended.


She calls over her husband and tells him that we didn’t sign a lease.


We fumble through a few words about how we never did sign one and then new roommate moved in and made a bunch of excuses for all parties involved, until I can’t take it anymore and say,

Also, I have some news.

Pause.  They look expectantly at me.

I’m going to buy a house.

Wow!!  Congratulations!  When?  Where?

I find myself giving them the low down on the last three months I spent searching and how this new house is near the JMZ, brick (wow, that’s good!), has an existing tenant, and the other three months worth of goods.

Come back around to the matter at hand – and we’re going to be really sad to go and this would be the only reason we would leave – if I could, I would live here until I was married probably, one of us chimes in – and we always tell everyone how awesome you guys are and we know we told you 6 months, so we want to keep that commitment, butwewerehopingwecouldstarttheleasethreemonthsback.

They look at each other and he says, why don’t we just keep it month to month?

We look at each other and simultaneously blurt out, are you sure?

Yeah, whatever is easier for you guys.

Again, Are you sure?

And then we begin to come up with all the reasons why they shouldn’t let us do month to month – we told you 6 months, we don’t want to go back on what we said, we want to make sure you feel secure that we’ll be around for a certain period of time – it’s like we had the speech prepared for so long, we just had to say it anyway.

They look at each other again and he waves his hand away and says, that’s just a technicality, we’re not going to hold you to that.

Ohmygoshthankyou!  We will totally do our best to make sure the space is filled and that we leave you with good people and one of us might be staying anyway, it won’t be hard, everyone who comes to our apartment loves our apartment, and wow, thank you!

She smiles and says, Yeah, we trust you guys.  Don’t worry about it.

And then we spend the next 45 minutes bonding about the difficulties of the real estate market.  Our landlord has been looking to buy another investment property since we moved in and, well, he’s still looking.  He was one of those bad asses who, because he kept getting rejected for a home loan, got his real estate license just so he could find out what it took to get a home loan.

We end the conversation with another confirmation that everyone is okay keeping it month to month (!) and say good night and thanks again.

Soooo, if anyone is looking to move in January or February, or knows anyone who is, let me know!  I hate to leave this place and I want to make sure we leave it better than we found it.  Campsite rule!

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