If I haven’t just done the impossible, I’ve at least accomplished the improbable feat of selling my Mesa home, locating, buying and closing on a less expensive Riviera home in the record time of six weeks- which included the Thanksgiving holidays!
As soon as the dust settles from some much needed basic repairs, I’ll dispose of my packing boxes and vow that the only container to pass through these doors will be the one with my ashes (and maybe an accompanying container of all my surgical replacement parts!)
As fortunate as I was to have succeeded in this whirlwind transfer of ownerships, it was far from my original plan of action. I had been foolish enough to believe that the Bank of Abuse (BofA) might be interested in refinancing my home from the exorbitant rates of 2006 to the more reasonable ones being touted in every advertisement. Well, nooooooo.
It seems that because I was not underwater, the property was not deferred, and my credit rating was good, they saw no need to assist me. Why help someone who had drunk the Kool-Aid of housing bubbles and interest rate inflation, just because it was propagated by the very bank now denying me mercy?
When I suggested to one of the ‘lending’ officers that I would be seeking another bank for refinancing, causing Bank of Abuse to lose its entire interest amount on this loan, his reply was, “I don’t know what you expect me to do.”
Well, of course you don’t, moron, because you now work for the institution that bought Countrywide Mortgage. Once headed by the only man with a perma-tan darker than either John Boehner or George Hamilton, Countrywide’s CEO Anthony Mozilo (who listed Santa Barbara among his numerous estate properties) had the distinction of ranking as #2 on Conde Nast’s list of Worst American CEOs.
Although Mozilo was fined $67.5 million and banned from ever serving as director of any publicly traded company, he somehow finagled his company into paying $20 million of the fine. Given that he earned $470 million in compensation from 2001-2006, I’m not crying in my soup for this midget mogul, especially since his monthly compensation was larger than my entire overinflated mortgage.
I made good on my threat to apply through another bank, but that effort halted when the house didn’t appraise for the required 80% of loan to value. Mine would be a home that was- like most- vastly overinflated in price due to the banks’ mortgage orgy and derivative debacle playing out in the hidden world of financial game playing.
After almost a year, I decided there was no other way to get out from under a burdensome mortgage than to put my home on the market. Given the sluggish economy and sinking real estate activity, I thought I’d have plenty of time to check out the availability of either rental or purchase around Santa Barbara.
Three days later, before the “For Sale” sign went up, I had competing offers and signed a contract…a happy surprise, but one that now rocketed my timeline forward. Both ironic and perplexing, the buyer’s appraisal would have been high enough for my refinance less than a year before. Ah, the arbitrariness of it all!
I won’t belabor the details of my search for a place to live…only to say that the perfect location became available- and the purchase was underway.
I’ve never seen so much paperwork! Even in the age of digital processing, trees must shudder when a loan officer or title company employee passes by. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to slog through the application process, but surely some environmental groups could ban together to demand printing on both sides of a page! The good news is, I now have sufficient reams of closing papers, documents and disclosures to insulate my attic.
For those of you currently in the quagmire of mortgage meltdown, I read an article this weekend out of Washington that began:
“Got a beef with your mortgage lender? Is your bank unresponsive when you complain that your escrow account is fouled up and making your monthly payments needlessly high? Did your loan officer switch you into a more costly home loan that you were promised? Or worse yet, did your home loan servicer ignore you when you told him you’ve had an unexpected drop in income and needed a modification to avoid missing payments?”
Thanks to the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, there is now a complaint hotline at : www.consumerfinance.gov or you can call toll-free, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST: (855) 411-2372. The Dodd-Frank bill is demonized regularly by the Republicans in Washington as an example of unnecessary legislation and intrusion into private financial institutions. C’mon guys, you’re killing me here…with home values falling over $5 trillion since 2007, and corporations sitting on $2.1 trillion in cash as of September, could you possibly work a teensy bit for us, rather than yourselves?
I have no idea if the hotline mentioned above will be of any real assistance…knowing Washington bureaucracy, probably not. But it may improve your mood just to share with those staffing the phones, some of your mortgage financing stories and theories as to why the housing market isn’t roaring back to life.
It’s at least more satisfying than repeating the Bank of America line, “I don’t know what you expect me to do.”