On the list of “most fun things to do”, getting a new mortgage has to rate right up there between having root canal work done and a home enema kit. If only it were as simple as those two activities!
Two weeks ago, I let you in on the wonderful drama that was my attempt at re-financing my house. Like most Monty Python skits, it’s funny to view from the outside, but not so much from the inside. I’m sure I’ll look back in the future and be glad that I shaved some years off the time of my loan (and many thousands of dollars in interest), but I am more convinced than ever that the process is designed by the banks to keep you from going through with it.
My journalistic integrity (i.e. desire to crank out a column) compels me to give you an update on how my enema—ahem—re-fi worked itself out. You may remember, that I had completed a five month process of mailing “my mortgage bank” (that’s in quotes because I don’t, currently, want to claim them) each month’s bank statement as well as all my pay stubs for the period and last year’s income tax forms.
Well, finally, last Monday I got a call that “everything is go!” All they needed was another bank statement showing that I had enough money in it to cover the closing costs of the new loan. I didn’t. What I had was cash that I had been setting aside for just this moment in time. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t get the loan. And it was going to be illegal for me to take said cash to the bank and deposit it so that my bank account was healthy enough to cover the amount.
Nor could I take a picture of myself holding the cash and submit it as proof that I had the money. (BTW, I thought it would have been a nice touch—if they had let me submit a picture of the money—to be standing behind the money in a white, tank-top T-shirt and headband while holding a gun in each hand.)
What I could do is get a loan from someone else to cover the amount, so long as I made photo-copies of the check they wrote, as well as a copy of the deposit slip from my account and—you guessed it—a new copy of my bank statement. So I asked “my loan officer” if it would be OK if I handed my mother the cash and she wrote me a check.
He said that would be OK. I asked him if he realized that was stupid.
Mortgage tip: mortgage bankers do not like hearing their process called stupid. It doesn’t matter that you’re calling the process stupid and not them, for some reason this rubs them the wrong way.
But then, we realized my mom couldn’t write me a check because my name is on her account. So we went to her bank where she deposited the cash I had handed her, then got a Cashier’s Check for the amount made out to me, which I then took to my bank for deposit.
That taken care of—two days of legal wrangling and bank runs—my wife and I showed up at the abstract office to sign the papers on our new loan. It was the first time in my life I can remember bring frustrated by saving money. For, you see, it turned out that the closing costs were about half of what was estimated, which meant that involving my mother and her account was completely unnecessary.
And finally, why do they always have to do a “title search”? Why can’t they just keep the titles in some place where they’ll remember them? Every house has a “junk drawer” which contains everything from half a pair of scissors to one of the kids’ birth certificates. I guess counties have a “junk drawer” in which they toss titles. It seems like a better system could be found.