Buying a House

One word: don’t. Not until you can pay cash.

Disclaimer: this may not be sound advice, as I’m far, far from being financially savvy. It will, however, save you lots of time and trouble and, quite probably, help preserve your sanity!

Here are a few nuggets from our recent experience – we’re closing Wednesday, so I feel pretty safe in saying that’s all over but the shouting….

First, if your credit score is below, oh, 1,000,000 or so, don’t even make the attempt. Ours was pretty bad, but better than most – however, as we set about making changes and raising that score, the powers-that-be kept raising the numbers for the “best deal.” We’d be SO close, then hear: I’m sorry, it might take a bit longer; you’re not quite “there”. Which is pretty subjective, after all.

Next, there are copies. Everyone involved wants a copy of everything: your realtor, the seller’s agent, the mortgage broker, the closers, the title company, all the admin assistants involved with everyone, the insurance guys, the half-brother’s cousin’s sister’s husband…oh wait, maybe that last one was a mistake. Oops. Who was that guy anyway??

Invest in a very good scanner, lots of ink, a PC able to handle multi-tasking without melting into a puddle, and reams of paper, including the legal size. You’ll need it all, because at some point you’re going to run out of something that

Phone calls. Upgrade your cell plan immediately. You will get texts and calls at all hours, even if you “don’t text;” sometimes you’ll get calls to confirm that you received an email that was sent approximately 5.7 seconds prior to the call. And don’t think you can shut that baby off at 5pm – nope, better leave it on and attached to your body by your method of choice until at least 9pm. At least.

And I’m sure you’ve heard that the money folks will be looking up your behind with a magnifying glass. It’s true. Be prepared. Any deposit over $100 that shows on your bank statement will be questioned. And you better have proof of its origins. And copies of the check deposited; and the deposit slip; and the source. On one memorable occasion last week, we had to provide a copy of a 401k statement; then a copy of the statement showing the withdrawal, a copy of the transaction itself, a copy of the statement AFTER the withdrawal, a copy of the check, and a copy of the deposit slip. Kid you not.

It was brutal.

We’ve been living in this house for 8 months. Not common, but certainly not unheard of – a few days ago, I received correspondence from the title company. Sent on July 6. To my old address. From last FALL. This is the same title company who is supposed to be checking on liens, judgments, title transfers, etc. for the house that we’re buying – and in which we live. I’m supposed to trust their research? My address is, literally, on every.single.piece.of.paper we have thus far signed, provided, faxed, emailed, copies, etc., etc. And they DON’T KNOW IT?

Oy. Thank goodness it’s almost over. I can’t imagine doing this again. Ever. Unless I somehow acquire oodles of cash. Which, of course, I will have to document like crazy!