Friday, January 17, 2014

Buying a House Part IV: Signing vs. Closing

So you know how in House Hunters they show families signing all the closing documents and being handed their keys right away? Yeah, apparently that’s not how it works-in the state of Washington anyway.

Miracle of all miracles, we received notification that we’re able to close on our house TOMORROW! Woohoo! So I am sitting at work all excited, about to submit requests for time off and the hubs texts me that our agent advised we likely won’t be receiving our keys until Tuesday…what?

Apparently, tomorrow we will be signing our closing documents.  Once the documents have been signed, the escrow officer (who knew so many people were involved in this process?) sends them back to the lender for review (Because Chase hasn’t reviewed this loan enough…). Once the lender signs off, escrow hands off (possession literally) the documents to the county for recording. This process normally takes 24-48 hours. Grrrr! Please note that this process is apparently unique to the state of Washington. Once recorded, funds are transferred to the seller and the house is actually considered “closed” and we can FINALLY take      of the house.

Due to the amount of headaches we have had throughout this process, we’re trying to do everything we can to get keys in hand tomorrow evening. We’ve both already taken two days off (out of three) when we were originally supposed to close a couple of weeks ago and it was pushed out at the last minute. If we could take possession tomorrow and spend the weekend moving in, that would make lives SO much easier rather than taking 1 day off in the middle of the week and having to get everything done that day.

Stay tuned…

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Buying a House Part III: Headaches

You’ll notice it’s been exactly one month since my last post in this series. It’s not that I’ve been procrastinating-this really is the next step-WAITING.

Due to some construction delays (we’re building a house in Washington in the middle of winter), our close date was pushed back from December 27th to January 6th. While it stinks that my parents weren’t able to stay in the house when they were here for Christmas, it was completely understandable and the hubs and I were fully prepared to experience some construction delays.

What we were not prepared for however, was for our lender to jerk us around. We are doing a VA loan with Chase. Living within miles from a military base, you would think they were fully equipped to handle VA loans. That was not the case.

The morning my parents were flying out to head home, the hubs gets a call from the loan officer. Knowing my personality, he waits to tell me about this phone call until after we drop my parents off at the airport. (Smart man). He then tells me Chase is pushing our closing back until January 21st. For you math-haters our there (that includes me), that is over TWO WEEKS from our original closing date. 

Why did they push it back you ask? No, not because we were not getting back information to them that they requested-we fulfilled all requests within 24 hours. No, the delay is due to the fact that the VA supposedly has X number of days to review documents then X number of days to respond. Ok, that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why Chase did not relay this information to us before. Instead they gave us the best-case scenario (the VA reviewing documents and responding immediately) and presented it as the ONLY scenario.

Needless to say, I was livid. We received this phone call FOUR days before we were set to close. We had submitted requests to take time off work. We had ordered a washer and dryer set to be delivered that weekend. We had hired movers.

Our agent was awesome throughout this process-he went to bat for us. Finally our loan officer called to say Chase was “expediting” the loan so we could close on the 15th. Still not the 6th, but whatever. I was kind of over it at that point. The hubs and I were both thiiiis close to just walking away-the only reason we didn’t is that we’d lose the $2k in earnest money we put down.

Fast forward two weeks to January 13th-two days before we were now expecting to close. The loan has been sent to underwriting, where it has been for a couple of weeks, and the underwriter had advised she will contact on this date to give a status report. As of 5:00 we had not heard anything so I shot the underwriter a quick email to check in. She replies shortly after advising our closing date will likely be January 24th. Um, say WHAT?

This is when I go on a rampage. When Chase originally pushed back our closing date, I had that hot anger-you know when you’re seeing red and you just feel like yelling at everybody? Well now this had iced over. And that is way more dangerous.

I send off a series of emails to the underwriter, her boss, our agent expressing my…displeasure. Don’t worry, these emails were heavily edited and quite civil-I don’t want to jeopardize anything. I put Chase on twitter blast, hoping something would reach their Customer Service. This is when I actually consider and would agree to walk away from the house should the hubs suggest it.

Our agent calls me right away-probably expecting to have to calm me down and surprised at how calm I am. I relay everything to him. At this point, while we would lose our money-I do not trust Chase to handle the hundreds of thousands of dollars (including interest) they will be receiving from us over the next 30 years. He tells me he will follow up with everyone and to hang tight for a day.

The next day I hear back from the underwriter telling us she will do everything in her power to get our loan out of underwriting ASAP. It is then I discover while our loan officer is the one giving us all the information about our closing date-it is really not in her power to promise such things. Our underwriter tells us to call her and verify any information we receive in the future about closing. And I am incredibly grateful to her- as someone who works in Claims, I have to clean up other people’s messes everyday. And it sounds like that is what she is having to do here.

Within two days of this conversation, she has our loan done with underwriting. Here is what remains of the process:

1.     Underwriting forwards the loan information to the Audit/Qualify Assurance Department to check everything over and make sure it is in top shape to be sent to the VA. This normally takes 24 hours.

2.     The VA checks the loan over. Once they’re satisfied, they send it back to the lender to complete.

3.     The closing team at Chase rechecks the loan and finalizes all the numbers.  They then send it to the funding department. Steps 2 & 3 should take about 48 hours.

4.     Chase sends the loan to Escrow and we can FINALLY sign and receive keys. After much trial and tribulation, the house will be ours.

The only step I am hesitant about is the VA-I don’t want this to turn into what previously happened and have them hang onto everything for two weeks. So you better believe I have researched the process and found the contact information for the department handling our region.
So now we’re still waiting…but the end is in sight.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Kit Lit: 10 Favorite Picture Books

As many of you know, I worked in the Children's Department of my local library throughout high school and college. I loved it so much my goal was to get my Master's in Library Science. Unfortunately, Master's Degrees are pretty expensive...

So in honor of the fact it seems like everyone I know is having babies (not us yet-I'll let you know if/when!), I decided to put together a list of my favorite children's picture books. Turns out, the ones I thought of off the top of my head amount to 10!

So in no particular order...

Munsch, Robert- Love You Forever

This is the book I always think of when looking back on the books I read as a kid. My parents read it to me all the time and the phrase "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be" still gives me the fuzzies. This will probably be the first book I buy when we start having kids. Plus have you SEEN all the cute stuff on etsy based on this book??

Mochizuki, Ken- Heroes

I stumbled upon this book one day at work while I was doing my shelf reading assignment (most boring thing ever-making sure all the books in my section were in author/title order). It is about a young  boy post-WWII who was picked on due to his Japanese descent. Both his father and uncle fought on the U.S.'s side in WWII. 

O'Connor, Jane- Fancy Nancy (series)

When the first of my friends had a baby girl, I bought her this book as part of her gift. It is basically about ME as a child- a little girl who wants to be as fancy as possible! It has a side benefit of including a little bit of French vocabulary!

Muñoz Ryan, Pam- Mice and Beans

This book has great flow and is super entertaining! I love the bits of Spanglish thrown in while chronicling an abuelita preparing for her granddaughter's birthday party. I also love the bright illustrations- don't lie, we all judge a book by it's cover!

Willems, Mo- The Pigeon (series)

It's by Mo Willems. That's all I need to say.

Adams, Jennifer- Baby Lit (series)

I'm not normally one for board books. I understand the concept of wanting to make sure your kid can't destroy the pages...but my opinion is that in doing so, you cut down on the actual story. But this series is the exception-board books that introduce kids to actual literature!

Silverstein, Shel- The Giving Tree

Twenty years after I first read this book, I'm still debating whether it's a feel-good book or a tearjerker. But it is truly a great story and does a good job of teaching kids a lesson.

Sendak, Maurice- Where the Wild Things Are

Doesn't every kid dream of running away? This illustrates that even for that kid, there's no place like home.

Dr. Seuss- Oh the Places You'll Go

I've heard some people give this as a present for high school graduations-which is great-but I want our kids to hear these words way before then!

Kann, Victoria- Pinkalicious

This book I should group with Fancy Nancy. I just love it.