I’m writing one of those long, involved, navel-gazing posts about why Tim and I even want to move out into the ass end of nowhere, and it occurred to me I haven’t really updated recently where we are in the game — I mean, the circus — I mean, in trying to get a house loan. Mostly because even though every time we talk to someone they say “soon” but I think their clocks are set to plate tectonics, not to Greenwich mean time.
To recap, and catch up.
January 2014: As part of a work exercise I’m doing, I decide to visualize my perfect work environment. Nobody is surprised that it looks nothing like my house, right? In order to grow my business and make it more financially sustainable, I need to move from working in four different rooms of the house and having to move six things to get to the thing I need, to working in one large studio where everything has one place instead of six things in one place. As I don’t play well with others, I decide not to look for shared studio space, but to admit that I’ve never liked this house, and we start to plan to look for another.
February-April 2014: Tim and I talk a lot about what we would like/not like in a new house.
April 2014: Friends tell us that they are moving out of state, and want to know do we know anyone who wants to buy five acres with an adorable house and an unfinished garage/workshop. BOY DO WE.
October 2014: Our friends tell us the price of the house, and after going back and forth with our bank over the course of three weeks we get to the appraisal point and the bank does not want to loan us that much money. Dipping into our reserve to make up the cash difference would mean we wouldn’t have money to finish the unfinished workshop (insulate, drywall, add AC/heat, and add on a bathroom), part of the whole point of moving. As our friends had multiple other people lined up behind us to buy their lovely place, we decided to bow out and look for something else. The second place we wanted to look at, a for-sale-by-owner, turned out to not actually be for sale any more. The third place we looked at had a mobile home (boo) but it’s a third larger than the house we live in now (yay) and had a completely finished workshop (with AC/heat, and a full bathroom) that’s crazily a bit larger than the house (OMFG) on fifteen acres of a virtually untouched Sandhill Ecosystem (so much like the property I grew up on it will amaze you when I show comparison photos – you’ll think it’s the same piece of land).
November 2014: We look at the place, decide that in spite of (or because of?) a few faults, the property is perfect for us. It’s within our price range, or at least the price range we guessed at given by what the bank wouldn’t loan us previously. We put down an offer; it’s accepted; we begin the paperwork with a new lender (after finding one that will actually lend for mobile homes). We get the place inspected, and find nothing so out of the ordinary that we’re taken aback… even though we have a few days of heart failure when it appears that the workshop was built without a permit, and if it doesn’t pass inspection (it did) at the very worst it would need to be taken down (best case scenario is if we sell the place we have to disclose it was built without a permit). The only issue with the inspection (hahahaha, foreshadowing!) was that the water wasn’t turned on in the house. The seller had put in a new hot water heater in the house, but it wasn’t hooked up – so the inspector couldn’t turn the water on. He noted that, and we talked about how the seller would get that done and then we’d either call an inspector just for the water, later (as we wanted to get the well checked out, anyway, to see if we might need a new one soon) or how it might be fine for just the four-point inspection at closing.
December 2014: Lots of back and forth with the lender, paperwork, proving this, that, and the other, more paperwork, lots of waiting. They begin saying really vague things that aren’t a flat-out “no” but don’t sound like “yes” either. We have a closing date of December 31st. That date comes and goes. Still no word from the bank.
January 2015: In a weird shift of roles, as I give up hope, Tim gets more hopeful. I had not committed as much to my business in 2014 as I should have; turning down work, not doing things I’d planned… at the end of April, our friends had told us “four to six weeks” but due to circumstances beyond their control, that got pulled out to six months; but we didn’t know it was going to be six months, so I was afraid to take on too many new things for work in case we had to pack and move with not too much lead time — I didn’t want to have shelves of greenware that would have to be rush-fired, uncleaned, just to make them safe to pack and move. I was determined not to do that this year — last year’s sales really suffered, and I could use some paychecks this year. So whereas in 2014 I put most of my energy into thinking about moving, starting in January I put my energy into work, and hardly thought about moving at all.
Mid-January, the Realtor calls me and says this is ridiculous, and would we be OK if she approached the seller (who is, and I don’t know that I’ve gotten to into this story, a flipper who bought the land at auction) and asked if they’d be willing to do owner financing. We’d have to put 30% down instead of 20% (which we could do, thanks to my family) and with a balloon payment in two years (meaning we’d have two years to find actual bank financing). Yes, that was fine with us. Unfortunately the seller was also trying to buy another property at the same time, and couldn’t hold so many notes… so after a week, that was off the table.
Then the Realtor found us a lender (you know, for being the Seller’s agent, this woman is really kicking a lot of ass for us)… and it was at this perfect time wherein… well, see, to backpedal just a sec… all the lenders we’d tried to go with wanted two months of bank statements (among about six thousand other things). Up until now, the month of October had been one of those bank statements, and there was a pretty substantial deposit in October. In the type of loan we’re getting, none of your down payment can be a loan from another source. It needs to either be money you already had, or a gift. This money was, honestly/essentially, a bridge loan, to be paid back when we sold our current house, based on the equity we have in this house. None of the lenders believed that this amount of money was a gift. That’s why we kept getting shuffled around. But now the statements needed by this new lender were for November and December — so as far as they were concerned, the money had been in our account forever. As long as the deposit didn’t show up in the two months they had, they didn’t care where it came from.
February 2015: Back and forth with the new lender. There have been three big things. One thing that we went back and forth with about six times (to the point where Tim and I were like, “are we not answering them in English?”) was whether or not Tim had access to his retirement account pre-retirement. Why did they keep asking this? Fucked if we knew, but they did, even after Tim had someone in HR draw up a paper that said, “Retirement money. Not available until Retirement. Key word: RETIRE. He is not at this moment retired. No access to money. HULK WORK. HULK NO GET SECRET MONEY WHILE WORK. SECRET MONEY NOT REAL TILL HULK NO WORK. WHY THIS HARD TO GROK?”.
The other thing was that we’d have to find insurance…. which was almost as challenging as finding the loan in the first place. Sweet Zombie Jesus, you’d think mobile homes have leprosy. Nobody in Florida wants to insure them, especially if they’re over ten years old. Tim emailed close to every insurance agent in the state, and finally found one (side note, his last name is Smithers, which has given us endless fun of steepling our fingers and saying “eeeeeeeexcelllllent” to each other, because we are dorks).
The third thing actually kind of ties in with the second, which is, the insurance doesn’t want to sign off completely until the water is inspected. So (I don’t know, middle of February?) the inspector went back out there to turn on the water… and couldn’t, because the hot water heater still wasn’t completely set up. Meanwhile, there was some sort of materiel insufficiency with the appraisal, so the appraiser had to be sent out there again, as well (the lender may have sent out a different appraiser, I’m not sure – but they took care of all that so it’s off us). As of now that’s all worked out. My eyes were glazing over when it was happening, and I was working, so I wasn’t really the one paying attention — Tim took care of all this.
March 2015: Remember how I said they kept asking about the retirement money? So, late last week — no, wait, I think it was early this week, it might have been Monday (what the fuck IS today, even?) the lender said that we need to get an appraisal done on this house, to prove that we have at least 30% equity in it, for some reason that I’m sure Tim told me but am equally sure that my eyes glazed over as he was saying it, so I can’t tell you why. I think it has something to do with proving we’re responsible, or have the ability to make a lump payment if we had to, or some shit like that. I don’t even care any more. So while yes, we know that the appraisal is not the inspection, and all the appraiser wants to know is about square footage and how many bathrooms, we still want to make this place not look like an uncared for dump. So I’ve been doing yard work all week (not yesterday, because I’ve also needed to make swag for March yarn club, and I had a doctor’s appointment), and Tim has been doing yardwork in the evening (including raking the roof, so Mr. Appraiser doesn’t slide off the roof due to pine needles). Tim is also taking today off for housework. The appraiser comes tomorrow… and allegedly, ALLEGEDLY, this is the last stage before we get money and a new closing date. Of course, we also thought getting the water inspected was the last stage, but then they needed to do another appraisal on that place, so… whatevs.
So. That’s where we are. Whew. Is it too early in the day for a drink? This story makes me want to drink.