Thursday, June 25, 2009


We just closed the deal on our refinancing, a process we started back in January.

We stayed with our same bank, Wells Fargo, since we had always had positive experiences in the past.

I can't say that was the case this time, though I can't say how much that has to do with the times. From what I'm told (by everyone from Wells Fargo) the banks are overwhelmed with refinance applications.

I owe it all to Aviva who drove the entire process, which required considerable effort. It seemed that our Mortgage Loan Specialist, Christina, required constant supervision. We had to constantly follow up with her at every step of the way to keep the process moving forward. We found ourselves having to resubmit paperwork because the original paperwork had expired since the process took so long. To Christina's credit she was always very friendly and credited us the charges for fees applied due to having to resubmit paperwork.

The bank lawyer, Peter from Sisca and Sisca, was a real piece of work. When we were scheduling the closing, we had voiced on numerous occasions that we wanted at least a day’s lead time to review the HUD. This guy contacts us the evening before the closing and tells us that he won't have the paperwork ready for us until the day of the closing. Of course we would rather reschedule the closing, but he informs us that if we do we'll be charged all kinds of fees and may lose our rate. But we shouldn't worry, he tells us, because "if we're not happy, we have three days after closing to rescind". RESCIND?!?! Are you f--ing kidding me!?! You expect us to put ourselves in a situation where our only recourse is to start all over again with whatever the current rate happens to be?

When we asked him if he could email or fax the numbers he had at the time, he said that he could, but he wouldn’t get to it until that night, but he could tell us the numbers over the phone. So we spent 20 minutes on the phone getting the numbers from him. (No wonder he didn’t have his stuff together on time…)

Sure enough when he did send us the HUD there were numerous things that had to be clarified as well as the above mentioned credits to be adjusted. His response to our questions about the contents of the HUD was that we should hire a lawyer.

When I pushed the issue I discovered that the fee for rescheduling was minimal after all and that we had almost three week before our rate expired. Fortunately, that was not required as Christina was able to address all or concerns over the phone in about 20 minutes.

The whole process just goes to show how much you have to be on your guard. In an environment where so many people seem to be in a bad financial predicament, it’s a shame that you have people and situations like this, just making matters worse.

Because property values have gone down so much we had to make a significant investment in our principle to meet our equity requirements. Between the lower principle and the new interest rate, which is 1.25% lower than our previous rate, we should be much better positioned than we were.

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