Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Current State of Affairs

The waiting game has officially begun. 

We are in a holding pattern.  

Everything goes so smooth and for us at least, very quickly, until you reach the point we’re at now.

Over the last 5 weeks Jason and I have been communicating with SunTrust as well as First Citizens (the bank handling the lot loan) in an attempt to get everything settled.  We haven’t had to sign any more papers, but fully expect to in the next few days.

First Citizens is slow.  I don’t know if this is single bank thing or if all banks suffer from that disease.  They waited a week or so to finally decide they wanted to appraise Jason’s land.  When they made that decision, they waited another week to actually put someone on the task.  

The problem?  They  hired someone in Andrews, NC.  For whatever reason, when Jason’s parent’s moved, the address of the land owner moved too.  We still can’t explain it, but we are having to deal with it.  So when the appraiser said he wasn’t able to locate the land on the map in Andrews, we just rolled our eyes and told him it was because it was four hours too far west.  Go figure.  
Image of NC provided by geology.com

So now we’re waiting on a local appraiser to finish his job and cut the d*&m check so we can finally sign the bagillions of dotted lines that we know are going to be coming for our actual loan.

In the meantime, SunTrust has had us gathering paperwork upon paperwork to prove where our money is coming from.  Funny thing is, sometimes we provide with an explanation and they don’t understand it.  For example, when one withdraws $700 from an account and then turns around and deposits $700 a mere 4 weeks later, where do you think the money for the deposit came from?  Me too!  SunTrust, not so much.  You literally have to spell it out for them.  In our case, not once, but twice.  

Also, did you know that there were a lot of people involved in your loan?  Yea, me either.  First, we have the mortgage counselor.  The guy we’ve been dealing with mostly.  And then he has an assistant who will begin communication with you after you’ve been pre-approved for the loan.  And then she turns all the paperwork over to an underwriter.  By the way…WTF is an underwriter?  Sounds like an under-wearer to me, and hello! We all wear underwear, so you’re not so special, mmkkay?  (Monica and SunTrust had both warned us that underwriters have an ego issue)  

Image provided by google images 

 Be careful when you google underwear and hit images.  Just word to the wise on that one!

And while I’ll be the first to admit, I have absolutely no idea what an underwriter does, I have to wonder how new each case can possibly be and what the hold up is.  I would think that the forms would be pretty straightforward these days.  The language doesn’t change, just the numbers on the lines, so just fill in the blanks, hand me my money and let me move forward with this process.   KAPEESH!?

So while we wait, we have been slowly but surely packing the house.  The non-essentials are almost boxed up and our guest room has become quite the hazard zone, hard hat may be required.  I’ll have to check with OSHA on that one and get back to you.

I will do my best to keep the blog more updated about our house buying process and the move and decorating in real time from now on.  But then again, those things may take precedence and who knows when the computer at the new house will be ready to go.

Love you all and thanks for being on this journey with us as we continue to move forward in our journey!

Love as always,

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not what we were planning

Wednesday morning we went straight to SunTrust and met with the banker to discuss our options.  Jason and I were fully anticipating the green light on an FHA loan and were ready to sign on the dotted line.

But when we got to laying out the specifics with SunTrust, there were some major differences in the FHA loan versus the USDA loan.  

The FHA loan required 3.5% down, which we were fully aware.  We had the money ready to go.  But after checking really really closely, SunTrust wasn’t 100% sure that the land amount was right for an FHA loan.   It could still be too much land and not enough house for the government backed loan.  

We liked this house too much to let it go.  Besides, the foreclosure had already been snatched out from underneath us, we really didn’t want this one to be snatched out either.

Because there was even a slight possibility that the FHA loan would fall through, we started discussing our other options for obtaining this house with SunTrust.  

We talked about a conventional loan.  We didn’t have 20% to put down for a down payment, but we weren’t completely doomed just yet.  If we only the 3.5%, we could still get a conventional loan, we would just have to pay extra for a little while in what is known as PMI.  It stands for Personal Mortgage Insurance.  Now… I don’t know the specifics of how it works; but it’s something like paying the bank your extra principal for a little bit to insure you won’t fault on your loan.  Or something like that.  Basically, we have to pay extra on our monthly mortgage until that extra amount totals 20% of the full loan amount, getting the bank their 20% down payment.

Okay…so we finally had a viable option that didn’t hide cracks in the offer documents.

Oh…but wait.  That 3.5% you have to put as a down payment, yea, it can’t be a gift (as was the case with us.  We were using wedding money, gifted by my parents as a down payment).  If you were using gift money for a down payment, then it had to be 20%.  Go figure…..this was just another heart rate increase inducing moment!  For Pete’s Sake!!  We would have been able to use the 3.5% had it been in my account for longer.  But since I had my parents hang on to it for a while, then it caused issues.  I mean, goodness…they don’t make this easy on you, do they?

But, SunTrust was very understanding and was still willing to help us figure out a way to get our house.  Yes, I am referring to it as our house at this point.  We started to look at what assets Jason and I did have, out right, in our names.  Maybe we would be able to take out loans against those things to secure our down payment.  Does it seem a little backhanded and if you’re not careful, could it get you into a very bad bind financially?  Yes to both.  But as I’ve previously shared, Jason and I were okay as far as paying our debts was concerned and the extra burden wasn’t going to be an issue.   Especially since I did have the 3.5% in the bank that we could immediately turn around and use towards that loan. 

So what were our options?  The jeep that we arrived in?  No. Still in my parent’s name.  Jason’s truck?  Possibly, but it really wasn’t worth enough.  Can you believe it?  The truck that my fiancĂ© drives like a mad man on crack and that won’t stay running without a new issue every other week wouldn’t help us out of this one.  That’s when one of us (I really don’t know who) mentioned that Jason was the sole owner of about 5 acres in Davidson County that was worth quite a bit more than the 3.5% that we needed.    And guess what?  SunTrust agreed to it!!  

So we decided to get a lot loan and use the money from that loan as our down payment for the home loan.  Make sense?  I hope so, ‘cause I’m not explaining it again.  Basically, Jason’s land would be collateral against the loan and if for whatever reason, we faulted on it, the bank would end up owning a portion of the land.  We weren’t using all of the land, because we didn’t need it.  We just need enough to get the 3.5%. 
So Monica, who had been patiently sitting in the parking lot of the bank, rushed in, we signed our initials all over the paperwork again and we submitted our offer, again.  

By 4:30 pm, we heard back from the sellers about our offer.

Okay…I’m just going to keep you in limbo for a minute.

Sucks doesn’t it?  Imagine how we felt.  

We had to make sure we kept ourselves very busy at work so we wouldn’t go crazy with the stress of not knowing.


In 3……………………




 How we felt about that news!!!!!!

Stay tuned!
Love as always


We waited with baited breath Friday afternoon and never heard anything back from Monica.  Friday turned into Saturday and Saturday turned into Sunday.  Still, we had no answer from the sellers.  Sure, we understood that it was over the weekend and they needed time to consider our offer, but in today’s modern age of email and cell phones, and even home phones, you would think that a negotiation would be able to move along pretty quickly.  Monica would text and email both Jason and I to keep us updated on the fact that there were no updates.  

Finally Monday morning arrived and we fully expected to hear back with from the sellers that they accepted our offer.  Or, at least I did.  Jason had discovered that the offer was an extreme low ball.  Turns out, the tax value put on the MLS listing was for the lot that the house sat on only.  It didn’t incorporate the tax values for the 2 extra lots they were selling with the house.  Jason found out that the real tax value for the entire property was somewhere in the range of $118,000.  So our $94,000 offer was substantially off.  But I kept telling Jason, and myself, that we were still okay and that you never know; they may accept our offer.  Or they could come back with a counter around $100K, somewhere in between the two prices.

At about 12 pm on Monday Jason and I were each copied on an email from Monica.  THEY FLAT OUT REJECTED OUR OFFER!!  To say that there were numerous explicatives running through my head at the time is a massive understatement!  I was so mad!  I mean, I know we low balled them, but they didn’t even counter.  It felt very rude to me.

This is very much how I felt and had I been her age...it very well may have sent me into a full tantrum!Image credit: Daniel Hughes via Flickr, Creative Commons.

But we wanted the house and were willing to work.  They requested full price again but at the very least agreed to pay up to $5000 in closing costs, but were not putting the home warranty in either.

I quickly called Jason and we discussed our options.  I still was not really willing to put in full price.  It seemed a little unreasonable to me that a seller would not want to accept an offer on a house that has been on the market for almost a year that was less than the asking price.  Why would you put something on the market if you weren’t really ready to let it go?

Jason and I contacted Monica and asked her to check with the seller’s agent about accepting $104,900 with seller paying closing, since they weren’t willing to put in the home warranty.  We asked Monica to check without putting in a formal offer on paper as it seemed to be a lot of leg work for everyone involved if they were going to flat reject it again.

By Tuesday around 11 am, we had our answer.  They were still unwilling to come off the purchase price and said they would only accept $107,900.  I mean, $100 off of your asking price?  Stingy much?  In today’s market….let’s just say they were lucky they had this particular house and not much else was out there.  They would still do $5000 in closing and finally decided that the home warranty was an acceptable factor in the negotiations.  Oh…one more thing…they said there was another offer on the table, so in order for us to secure the house, we had to have this offer formally wrote up by 10 am Wednesday morning.

Sheesh!  We were really starting to get peeved by these people.  Did we believe them that there was another offer on the table? Maybe; maybe not.  The house had been on the market for a year and as far as we were aware, no offers had been submitted.  And then, within two days of us submitting an offer, someone else decides they want the house too?  Very convenient, don’t ya think?  In reality, we think they may have been trying to fool us into putting in the offer they really wanted and by telling us there was someone else interested, tricked us into doing just that.  Did it work? Yes.  Was it conniving and probably a fabrication to get more money out of us? Yes.  

So we were back at the house with Monica, again, meeting in the kitchen, ready to submit our formal offer that we knew the sellers would accept, if we submitted it by 10 am.  

And here’s where things get really tricky.  Because of the flat out rejection on the first offer, Monica decided to take a very close look at what we were doing.  It’s not that she had neglected to do this before, but with the stakes at the level they were currently at, we really didn’t want anything else getting in the way of our offer being rejected again.  

Monica noticed that the house was being sold as three separate lots.  USDA has a gargantuan amount of restrictions.  Put two and two together and you get a sticky situation.  Because Monica was aware of who we were working with (C-S lady), she had been doing some leg work between noon and our 5 pm meeting.  Turns out, USDA would not loan us the amount needed to purchase all three lots together.  Upon further digging, C-S lady advised that FHA wouldn’t either.  That last bit of info wasn’t available to us until we were actually standing in the kitchen with Monica.  Finding that to be unlike past transactions she had handled, Monica phoned two different banks and asked if the FHA loan would approve us for the 3 lots.  Both of those bankers advised that FHA should in fact qualify that house for a loan.  

So the three of us, Monica, Jason and myself, decided that our best bet was to meet with SunTrust in person to make sure that the loan type that was wrote into our offer would be the viable financing for the house and there would be no little detail that could ultimately disqualify us from getting the blue and yellow house.

So I called my boss and asked if I could have the morning off and then we were set to get everything going and get our offer accepted!

Stay tuned
Love as always

Putting in our Offer

Friday morning we met with Monica at the blue and yellow house again, this time, ready, REALLY READY to put in an offer.  I made sure to wear make-up and put on something a little more appropriate than jeans and a t-shirt.  I felt like this was a grown-up kind of day so I needed to dress a little bit more like a grown up.  Am I right?

We went through all the paperwork together and asked questions when we needed to.  I wish I could remember what all the paperwork was and all of that, but honestly, I can’t.  This is what happens when you wait too long to write things down.  Sorry.

I do remember there was a document concerning our relationship with Monica and her role in this.  When we were discussing that document, I do recall asking what I felt was a very personal question, but if I didn’t ask her, I don’t know that I would have ever got an answer.  I honestly had no idea who was supposed to pay her!  I knew that she was doing a wonderful job and had been very helpful throughout this process and as such, I wanted insurance that she was going to get paid.  So I asked.  And you know what?!  The sellers pay her!  That was a bit of a surprise for both me and Jason.  So yay!  That was less money that we were going to have to come up with.

The other documents that required a large quantity of initials pertained to the offer itself.  We wanted the sellers to pay for closing costs, include a home warranty, leave the washer/dryer and dishwasher and stove and accept $94,000 and all of it was contingent on a home inspection and termite inspection.

We felt our offer was solid, as I discussed in this POST and Monica agreed.  We signed our life away and got the butterflies in our stomach that were to be expected.

Oh….and, I took pictures!!  Enjoy!

The living room is in the foreground and the dining room is where the gas logs are.  View from the front door

The living room again, view from the front door

Living room again, the other corner.  View from the hallway

the other side of the dining room and the kitchen, view from the hallway.  Also, the door to the garage

The kitchen from the dining room.  We'll need a fridge.

The washer and dryer at the end of the kitchen.  I do kind of hate that there isn't a way to close these off

Another view

The kitchen from the washer and dryer end

Another look.  It's actually pretty large

The hallway.  The carpet throughout the house is new.  Odd color, but I can deal for a while

This is the hallway bathroom.  It's the first door on the right.  Needs updating, but its functional for the time being

Another view

Again, the other side.  Old looking towel hanger.  Kinda tacky too. 

This is the middle bedroom that I'm making my craft room.  I have Jason's permission

The other side of the craft room

The guest bedroom.  Thats our relator in the mirror

The other side of the guest room.  Pretty big closet.

One last view of the guest room.  The curtains remind me of the ones that were in my grandparents house. 

The master bedroom

The closet.  I say closet, as in singular, because the thing stretches all the way across.  Not that you can reach the middle or anything, but I guess that was besides the point when it was constructed

The other side of the master.  That's the doorway to the bathroom

This is the bathroom.  I won't call it the master bathroom as its not any bigger than the hallway bathroom

The vanity.   I keep asking people how I'm supposed to use that last cabinet right beside the toilet since the door won't open all the way.  I typically get the look that says any normal person could use it, so if you can't, then somethings not working right upstairs

The Lou!

The bathtub!  I like that it has a washcloth bar.  It's something I've missed in our current place

The garage.  I've never had one of these before

I really hope that generator stays!

One more

Well okay...here's the garage ceiling...we have an attic too!

The back porch

Another view of the back porch

The back yard....our property will go all the way over to that line of leland cypress trees and over to that house on the right.  All three storage buildings will be ours too

This is a panoramic of the back yard

The back side of the house

The front yard...our property goes to the fence way over there in the background

We do have to look out to a box site. But we are certain that a thick line of trees and bushes will hide it within a year or two.  Besides, it's only open on Mondays and they only accept recycling, so no stinky trash, we hope

The front of the house.  Jason plans to cut down that tree the day we move in.  He says it's dead.  I say he needs a reason to power up his chainsaw at his own home.

 Love as always!