Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cue the last-minute scramble

I just knew the house-buying was going too smoothly! Even though I checked at least twice to be sure everything was set, I've had to jump through three hoops so far this week. Thank goodness life is online - I'm visiting the east coast and simply couldn't provide this information if my physical files were required! The hoops:

1) Rental history
Yesterday my mortgage officer told me there's some new requirement and they need to have all of my rental history - presumably to contact the landlords and see if I've been a problem. Well, my friends, I've been renting for 19 years, the vast majority of my units from private people whose names/contact information I can't remotely recall. I gave them the information for my last six years (all in the same apartment) and my current landlord (my friend) and am hoping that is sufficient. I didn't ask if they wanted the other 13 years' information and hope they don't come back for it. If they do I can give them addresses, but they're on their own for finding out the owners at that time.

2) Personal loan
Today they FINALLY noticed & asked about the loan from my parents. It hit my bank in October, and they did get that statement ages ago (word to the wise, get a loan like that in your bank at least 3 months before you make an offer if you don't want it coming to light), but only now, ONE WEEK before closing, are they asking about it. So I told them it's a loan and forwarded the paperwork. The repayment is $100.80/month so hopefully they won't freak out. But, so far I've had to send them:
 - a scanned copy of the loan agreement

And then, because I transferred it from my checking account into a money market account at Vanguard, which doesn't generate monthly statements, I also sent:
 - a date-specific statement from that account showing the balance as of October 20 (before the transfer hit)
 - a date-specific statement from that account showing the balance as of October 25 (after the transfer hit)

3) Closing costs questions
Most interestingly (/panic-inducingly) the processor says I'm almost $7,000 short for the closing costs and wants to know how I'm going to get it. This is news to me, as I've got more than $10k MORE than what I think I will need for my down payment and closing costs. I replied mostly-politely saying that I had a lot of money in the bank and if the closing was going to be even more than that, something was seriously amiss. They still haven't deigned tell me what the closing costs are, but are now looking more closely at the Vanguard account (see point 2 above).

Sheesh. So much for my relaxing vacation!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Things I still don't know

Well, I'm closing on the house in 2 weeks and one day. It seems safe to assume it's really happening! It's weird to me that I can be this close to the deadline and not know some super basic things like:
  • I close on the 4th, but when do I sign the papers?
  • How much will my total closing costs be? 
One person told me that "closing" on the 4th means everything gets signed 24 or more hours before that, but I haven't gotten that confirmed. The title company will come to me and I'm around that week, so I guess I'll just be ready when they tell me to jump.

My mortgage lender says that the escrow people are the ones who come up with the final closing costs so I have to wait to hear it from them.

The majority of my down payment & closing costs is at Vanguard, not at my bank. I guess I'll transfer it all over to my bank sometime next week, so it's ready and waiting to wire whenever I find out where to send it.

I've also started looking at refrigerators, washers, dryers, curtain rods, shower curtains... it's weird to me that I haven't spent enough time in the house to know what color metal (if any) is in the decorative elements of the bathroom, so I don't know what color shower curtain rod to buy. Ditto on any curtains, actually. I guess I just have to spend time there before I can make those decisions - but some will be done sooner than others as I DO want to shower there sooner rather than later!

Aside from two mattresses and a desk chair (and a lot of terrific restaurant meals), I haven't been buying stuff for myself for months. It's going to be really weird to open the floodgates starting in January, though I do intend to do it all mindfully. I don't need that much stuff to get started. What I WANT may be another matter altogether! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Still sitting tight

So, where are we on home buying? It's still looking good.

The inspection was good, and the seller addressed all the minor things we found and asked to have repaired. I say "minor" but I'm glad he opted to do them all, as they are outside my skill set. They were things like: remove the moss from the roof, caulk the nails on the roof, make the garage door open/close more smoothly, caulk the area where the gas line enters the house, make the pocket doors move smoothly... basic for a handyperson but beyond my skills at the moment.

The appraisal came back fine, they agree the house is worth what it's listed for, which is a relief.

I do think it's down to my lender. I've given them everything they asked for, I think, and am SO grateful we live in the day of online banking and pdf files. The only physical things I had to send them were my W-2s from last year and this year, two very recent pay stubs, and a copy of a letter from my employer verifying that I'm allowed to work remotely (they issued it this fall, so I guess it's a standard thing to give remote workers, probably for this very situation).

I close the first week in January and the title company has agreed to come to me for the signing, and they will accept a wire transfer. I was worried about that because I don't have a local branch for my bank, and didn't know how I'd get the closing funds in a certified check. I'm sure it would be possible, but this way I don't have to go down that path.

The final thing to do is plan the move-in, and I've just booked a truck and sent an email to a bunch of locals. Here's hoping I get a good turnout!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Calendar:November and December

Hey friends, you get a two-fer this month. I completely neglected to write about my November calendar image (though only a few of my readers actually RECEIVE said calendar).

Yosemite is a magical place, and I went with some friends to celebrate my 40th birthday. Because I'm an August person and because I prefer my time in Yosemite to be un-crowded, I made our reservation for the upper part of the park - at the White Wolf Lodge, to be precise, and which is a wild misnomer as the guests sleep in platform tent cabins. Thanks to one of my intrepid traveling companions we got up well before dawn and drove to the eastern side of the park, in order to catch sunrise at Mono Lake. I blew my battery out before the actual sunrise, but fortunately my friend got a great shot.

Last shot of the year - a statue in Greece. Is she looking to the past, or dreaming about the future?