Monday, February 2, 2009

Escrow at the speed of light

Irony seems to be the trend here. So, the bank took, let's see 4+ months to approve this short sale. And then, of course, they requested a 2 week escrow. hahahahahahahahaha

Well, with spotless credit, even an FHA seems to be feasible in a pretty short time span. So, we are planning to close in about 3 weeks total. Here's the funny part...my partner & I scheduled our first vacation in over a year (finally, I am out of school and have a social life again), for exactly the weekend when our house will be closing. Of course, this was scheduled long before the bank ever approved the sale. Everyone involved is now scrambling to have all papers ready for me to sign prior to me catching my evening flight on Feb. 12.

This weekend we tried to choose carpeting. Who knew that could be so difficult!? I felt like I went into complete shutdown. Polyester? Nylon? Eco-friendly corn fiber? Loops? Shag? Cut pile? All I want is something different from the 15 years worth of cheap,beige apartment carpet (plus the other 4 years of industrial grade on-campus living carpet).

To allay some of my stress though, my friends are paying-it-forward by giving me their old washer & dryer. Not pretty or even a matched set, but at least that is one less thing that I have to figure out before moving in. And, believe me, moving in without a washer & dryer is not an option. I have waited 19 years to have the option of doing laundry in my underwear.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Finally...the fun part

I have no idea why getting papers that say I am agreeing to enter into 30 years of HUGE debt is so damn exciting...but, it really is!

I met with my mortgage broker on Sunday and he basically said that my loan is a slam dunk. Here's to having zero credit card debt (clink). Three week escrow should be doable, which means I am signing paperwork the day that I fly out for Seattle. So much for a celebratory picnic dinner when I get the keys. I will probably be sitting on the 405 instead trying to make a 6pm flight. Oh well, at this point, nothing can get me down.

My mom is over the moon with excitement and my biggest stressors now are agreeing on colors, carpet & a sofa with my partner. I am in awe that we finally made it to this point.

On Sunday, after meeting with the mortgage broker, we drove down to look at "our place" again. It was one of those beautiful SoCal days on the verge of being rainy...clear as a bell underneath the grey storm clouds and blue skies. The place is perfect for us...I want to savor every moment from now until we are settled. I pulled a weed in the front yard. If we can preserve my end-of-school poinsettia for a few more weeks, we will plant it in the yard and it will remind me of this year of finishing my MBA and starting life as a homeowner...hopefully, I won't remember the sheer madness of the 4 months short sale approval process.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Are we there yet?

I was reminded today that it is darkest before the dawn.

So my grumpy post yesterday was the predecessor to the elated post today. Today, I have the approval of the short sale in my hot little hands. Bring on ESCROW!!

(I have been dreaming of the day that I would be able to write this post and now that it's here...it seems like I should be able to come up with something more profound...but I literally think I am going into shock instead)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes! I would like a little cheese with my whine!

This is how I picture the short sale process for homes in Orange County. Someone sitting at a desk in a building resembling a bureaucratic nightmare. In the background, phones are ringing off the hooks...Realtors & drowning homeowners are calling to follow up on their paperwork. A fax machine is whirring away without ever stopping to take a breath as new drowning homeowners submit their own piles of paperwork to start the process for themselves. Another fax machine just has an error light blinking because it has emptied its paper tray for the third time today. And, amidst the chaos, a lowly worker surfs the Monster.com website.

My offer on the short sale condo that I am trying to buy is now 19 weeks old. My only solace is that interest rates have plummeted in that time. But, all I can think is, what incentive does some overworked minion at the bank have to process my paperwork when they do not even know if they will have a job tomorrow? I am completely powerless over the fact that someone (or a group of someones) out there in bankland holds all the cards.

If you cannot already tell that I am feeling sorry for myself today, here is just the cherry on top. The best advice that anyone offers is to bail out of this deal & keep looking. Unfortunately, I have done this throughout the 19 weeks and nothing I have seen has measured up to the current place...which renders me even more powerless because right now, this is the only place that I want...well, I did want one other one but my mortgage broker told me that I could not afford it. Doh!!! Reality bites again!

However, I am reticent to issue a broad warning against entering into any short sale transaction. My coworker moved into his place a month ago...and he put his offer in about 2 months after me. Seems that my deal is just the "Worst Case Scenario" posterchild. At least I have plenty of material for my blog.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Good News, Bad News

The good news is...mortgage rates are plummeting.

The bad news is...it does me no good if the bank won't send over the approval papers so that we can get into escrow.

The good news is...I am saving a ton of money on rent right now.

The bad news is...I put my entire life in storage in the summer time & my available wardrobe has very few warm clothes.

The good news is...I have a job today.

The bad news is...my company gets a vast majority of its income from GM.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Patience is overrated

All I have heard is how much Short Sales suck. I am a believer. I have no idea what is going on but being the uber-inquisitive person that I am, I am dying to be a fly on the wall at WAMU. Or is it the seller's realtor that is effing with me? Every week I get a completely different story.

5 weeks ago - "The bank wants to talk to the sellers again"
3 weeks ago - "The papers are signed & on their way"
2 weeks ago - "The bank wants a 2nd appraisal because it's been so long"
1 weeks ago - "I have a meeting with the bank on Monday & you should be in escrow this week"
This week - No news

So the question is, do I prefer having no news or hearing another excuse that leads me to believe that we are almost there?

Also, since I started this process prior to the entire economy melting down, is my offer now too high? And if so, I assume that renegotiating means starting the entire process over with the bank. Mind you, I put in my offer on Sept. 8...we are in week 11 of this process.

Just as a side note, since I am second guessing everything and trying not to panic. Did I mention that a vast majority of my company's income is from General Motors. So, despite the fact that I believe in free markets and letting crappy companies fail, personally, I will very likely be unemployed if GM does not receive a bailout. Is now the time to be signing a mortgage?

I keep going back to Warren Buffett's principle of acting when others are frozen by fear:


We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful. Warren Buffett

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Believe It Until I See It

So, I am going to take a moment to skip to the present. I will finish catching you up with the back-story as I get a chance. But right now, I am obsessed with the current situation and that is what I am compelled to write about.

Today, interest rates are up again. I check bankrate.com daily and have a good day or bad day based on the results. The shifts in rates have been fairly extreme and random which just keeps me in a constant state of panic. I need the bank to make a decision and approve the short sale so that I can get a rate locked in.

Unfortuantely, the bank I am waiting on is WaMu & believe me, I am not saying "WooHoo!" About a week or 2 after I put in my offer on this short sale is when WaMu collapsed. Needless to say, it does not feel like my transaction has been a priority to them. I just picture some worker, with my paperwork on their desk, surfing Monster.com.

My realtor tried to warn me about short sales...they are brutal. But, I was lured into believing that this one would be different. It had previously been approved by the banks (the sellers have both a 1st & 2nd). The previous approval had come quickly from the banks, but it fell out of escrow. So, the selling realtor gave us the impression that this would be a slam dunk. Six weeks later, I am not feeling like Shaq charging to the rim. I actually feel more like a deflated ball. The excitement has worn off.

Maybe I should not be so pessimistic. I did hear on Monday that the bank was sending the approval paperwork to us that day. It is now Thursday and I have heard nothing further. No one knows how they actually sent the docs. Apparently not via fax or overnight delivery...that would be too easy & technologically adept. Still, it seems even snail mail would have made it by now.

Meanwhile, my left eyebrow just continues to sprout new gray hairs.