Friday, January 13, 2017

Ten Years (Or Less!) To Go

Recently, we refinanced our mortgage for this little place here.  What was supposedly a 'quick and easy, can do it all online' process; being that we were going with the same lender that has always held our mortgage (the original, the refi in 2011 when we rolled our original mortgage and home equity loan--taken out pre economy crash--into one loan with a lower rate and shorter term, and now the new refi).  DH called on the morning of election day, being that the rates were super low in the craziness of that time, asked a ton of questions about the possibility of refinancing for a 10 yr fixed rate of less than 3% interest, and got the ball rolling.

We locked in the rate that day (good thing, because it took about an immediate jump once the election results were in), and *just* had to fill out the paperwork that was being sent to us online.  Turned out what was sent was a link to some online 'signing room' with the mortgage co. that had all our documents needed for the refinance.  All we had to do was click the link, one for DH and one for me, create a user id and password for each of us, read, sign, and initial the documents, send payment for the appraiser--who would then call us to set up the appraisal--and await a closing date.  The closing supposedly also done online.  Our rate was good until just before Christmas.

Well, apparently two married people don't normally share a computer anymore, or something.  Because DH had no problem with his link. But when I tried to use mine, from our one computer that we own, it didn't work.  All I got was messages that there was all ready an account set up and my link was invalid, so I was blocked.  Took three days to get that resolved (email the loan officer, explain the situation, request new working link.  Get response from loan officer, email loan officer back saying 'no, I am not doing this with my smart phone, I do not do anything financial over my phone only my home computer and I want a working link gosh darn it', await response from loan officer with new link and directive to 'clear cookies' before attempting to access our online signing room after DH does on the same computer).  Then there were other issues, questions, etc and the link ended up expiring before we both had signed the documents (being formerly employed in banking and having loan processing experience, I flagged every thing that didn't quite jive and asked for clarification/correction before I would put my signature on it).

Which meant emailing again, requesting new link. Meanwhile, loan officer is telling us we need to get the appraisal fee paid ASAP so that the appraiser can be contacted for an appointment, and that we can call her and pay it over the phone.  To which I adamantly refused.  Not paying anything without a written invoice that documents what I am paying for.  Guess I'm getting to be a grumpy old lady who trusts no one with her money.

To shorten a long story, we finally got the new link, got the 'paperwork' signed, and were assured that if we paid that appraisal fee right away, the appraisal could be done in time for us to close on the loan before our rate expired.  So I paid it right then. (online, secure site, and printed out a copy of the invoice and confirmation number).  We heard from the appraiser the next day, made an appointment for a few days later, and all looked good; especially as we had been assured that 1) underwriting had all ready looked at our loan (doesn't qualify for Fannie Mae because of the acreage) and approved it, 2) the appraiser 'most times has the appraisal back to the mortgage company the same day, or within 36 hours of being at your house', 3) the closing date would be scheduled as soon as the appraisal was back, 4) we should be able to close before our rate expired.

What really happened:

  • The appraiser came out, was a very nice friendly person who actually asked questions and took notes about special features of our home/property (like the fact we technically have two heat systems since we use the wood boiler but also with the flip of a switch can use a propane boiler)
  • It took a WEEK (according to the loan officer) for the appraisal to get back to the mortgage company.
  • Then, the whole thing had to go to underwriting (even though we'd been told underwriting had all ready reviewed everything and only needed a dollar amount from the appraisal).
  • We went days at a time without hearing anything, and only heard updates when DH called the loan officer
  • The day before our rate was to expire, (the last business day before Christmas) DH was told that everything looked good but we wouldn't be able to close before the deadline--because we now had new documents with actual updated dollar figures to sign and there would be a mandatory three day wait between our signing and the closing.  BUT, for a small daily fee, we could extend our rate up to fifteen days. Which, with the holidays and all that Friday and Monday "Observed" holiday business we probably would need most of those fifteen.

DH paid to extend the rate (I hated to do it, but we still saved a ton in the long term by refinancing), we finally got the new documents (with some wrong line items that I caught and insisted be corrected), we got newer corrected documents, we signed them online, and we waited to hear when our closing was.  Turned out we couldn't close online, we had to go in person (yes, by now there literally was steam coming out my ears and DH and I were barely talking to each other).  So that took a few more days because by now it was the end of December.

We closed, in person, on January 3rd.  And then had to wait 3 business days before the papers were filed and the old mortgage actually paid off.

I swear, this is the last @*$&#@! mortgage I am ever going to have.  The plan from the start has been to continue to pay the same amount each month as we were paying on the previous mortgage, and have this one paid off about year sooner than we would have if we hadn't refinanced.  The difference in interest rates is exactly 1%, but with our current balance, that one percent savings each month adds up over the life of the loan to just about a year's worth of payments.

Once the mortgage is paid off, we can put the monthly mortgage payment into a savings account.  And, possibly, DH can retire at that point. Because we originally purchased the land at this little place here as an investment into our retirement fund; planning to pay off the mortgage about the time he'd like to retire (by age 60, preferably a little closer to 55) and then sell our property and move to a smaller place--okay, smaller house, much larger acreage-- paying cash for the new home.

So, we've got ten years to go. Maybe even less.  

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly how you feel. I had a similar experience awhile back. It really came down to poor customer service. And, if you are a customer who likes to cross your t's and dot your i's, these companies are horrible. Wrong info and yet they want you to sign incorrect documents! I'm happy that it came out OK for you. Have a wonderful weekend, Pat xx