Kenny was leaving for work yesterday afternoon, and as he left I was giving him a laundry list of things to do: Don’t forget to bring home some business cards, so we can stuff those sale envelopes and get them mailed before we leave… Bring home the insurance paperwork so we can get it filled out before we leave… Stop by the Credit Union and cash in the coins you rolled… If you have a minute, can you call Brent with Countrywide and ask him about the status of refinance?
Besides the fact that it’s a really horrible way to be sent off (I really am not one of THOSE wives. I was just having a little pre-trip STRESS.), he only had about 20 minutes to accomplish said tasks before he got to the dealership. He stopped by the Credit Union on his way there, and the first thing he did once he got to work was grab the insurance information out of his desk and put it in his car. Then he called Brent from Countrywide and left a message.
Imagine my shock when he walked through the door two hours later.
“Kemi,” he told me, “I talked to Brent [from Countrywide].”
“Great!” I yelled. “Kids, grab your shoes. We’re going to sign some papers.”
“No,” he said. “We got turned down.”
“You’re kidding, right? This is a joke?” (He teases me like this A LOT.) “Ha ha. Kids, shoes. Let’s go!”
“No, really,” he said. “I have been trying to decide how to tell you this for the past hour. I’m not really sure what we’re going to do. The dealership said they’d give me my old car back, but we’ll have to get new plates and pay them for the repairs they’ve already started.”
“Ugh,” I moaned. “I think I’m going to throw up.”
So after some frantic phone calls to Brent [from Countrywide] (that Brent from Countrywide was slooooooow to return) , to Sam (the hero) from Brent’s Countrywide office, and to Nathan, another mortgage guy who had perfect timing, we found out that we had been turned down because Kenny switched jobs in April, and didn’t have a sufficient job history there.
I can appreciate their hesitancy. I really can. But he went from one sales job (that he had for nearly three years) to another sales job. The reason he left in the first place was because they were stealing his commissions by penalizing him with phony chargebacks, and now, three months later, the company is bankrupt and has pulled completely out of Utah. So, it was inevitable that he would have switched jobs anyway. He just beat the collapse by a couple of months.
I guess what the bank did (and this is a little unclear, because Brent from Countrywide says he’s new to the mortgage business, which is why he hasn’t been able to give us a straight answer from the very beginning) is take his last three months’ pay and divide it over the 2008 calendar year, effectively cutting it in half. Then they ignored the W-2s for the last two tax years, because they were from the previous sales job, and they asked to see our W-2 from 1999, when Kenny worked for the dealership the first time.
First of all, they are DARN lucky I still had a W-2 from nine years ago, and that I remembered where it might possibly be. Second of all, the cost of living has increased, but they didn’t take that into account. And finally, the pay structure is different now. Before, he was paid a (low) salary. Now they have gone to a commission + bonuses structure. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
So even taking all of that into account, with only half our gross income being counted and comparing it to a decade-old W-2, we were at 47% debt-to-income (yay, us!), and they wanted to see 41%. Six measly points. Had they given us credit for Kenny’s actual income, we would have been well under their required percentage.
According to Sam (the hero) from Countrywide, there is a good chance that if we had a co-signer, our approval would sail through. While this IS good news, and my mom so graciously offered to lend us her name (“After all,” she told me, “it’s just a signature!” Silly mom. I love her so much!), I still think it’s ridiculous that we are having trouble qualifying for a payment that is LESS THAN OUR CURRENT ONE. That we have never missed, nor been late paying. Ever.
And, in case you’ve forgotten, we are supposed to be leaving for a week-long vacation. In six hours from now. And we are all still unpacked. AND, for some unbeknownst reason, I keep forgetting to close the lid on the washer, so when I go down to throw the freshly-laundered clothes into the dryer, I find that they have been soaking for hours in stagnant water, completely and hopelessly unwashed. Not to mention smelly.
Apparently, stress turns me into a complete flake. (No affirmations from you, thank you very much.)
In case the mood strikes you to refinance your home, and you choose to use Brent from Countrywide, let me give you a quick heads-up so you’ll know what to expect.
- When he tells you he needs a credit card number to secure your appraisal, but assures you it won’t be charged unless you back out of the refinance after the appraisal’s been done (which seemed very fair to me), EXPECT YOUR CARD TO BE CHARGED $475 WITHIN THREE DAYS. Then, expect him to tell you since he’s new, he didn’t realize Countrywide’s policy is to charge up front, but he didn’t think you’d mind, nor did he think it was necessary to give you a heads-up, because it’s only $500.
- Also expect an appraisal fee to show up in the loan documents, so you’re paying for it twice. Be assured Brent will tell you you’ll get a refund on your credit card, but don’t hold your breath because it’s been two months and we still haven’t seen it.
- Expect to have to call him six or seven times to get him to respond.
- Expect those return calls to be at 4:59 PM, so he can tell you he’s on his way out for the day, but he’ll take care of it tomorrow. Then, when “tomorrow” never comes, he will tell you he forgot.
- Know that you’ll be assured from the very first phone call that because your current mortgage-holder is Countrywide, and your account is in good standing, the paperwork is all a formality, because the company has already pre-approved you for the refinance. You will be reminded of this several times, as in, “Quit stressing. Your loan has already been approved.”
- If your loan is turned down, expect to wait a full day to hear about it, even though you made no secret of the fact that you are going out of town for a week, and speed is important.
- If your loan is turned down, expect Brent to laugh at you when you ask about the appraisal refund. Expect a competent mortgage consultant to ask, “Why did he order it so early? The appraisal is only ordered after paperwork has been submitted and approved.”
- Expect to hear, “Well, too bad. My hands are tied. Here’s a number you can call to dispute it.” from Brent, but be given a list of creative alternatives from Sam (the hero), who is more than willing to stay late and try to find a solution that will benefit you.
- And finally, expect Brent to expect you to pardon him for all his mistakes because he’s “new” to the business. Expect him to never ask a more-experienced colleague for help or advice. And after two months of frustration and headaches, expect him to ASK YOU TO REFER HIM TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
Now that Sam’s on the job (our HERO!), I am going to go pack. Ack! We are supposed to leave in five hours.
At least I remembered to close the washer lid this time.
(And if you’re scratching your head at the title of this post, use this post for reference.)