Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Take a deep breath...

That's how I feel, like I need to take a deep breath. And then a few more. And maybe another.

You see, while we are here visiting Mexico, we are refinancing our mortgage on our house in Colorado Springs, our primary residence, the only property we own. We've wanted to refinance from a 30-year fixed to a 15-year fixed ever since we bought the house, but when we heard that Scott's sister and brother-in-law were refinancing and the incredible rate they got, we decided it was time to go full steam ahead even though we're here, not there. Our current mortgage is with Wells Fargo and we tried several times in the past year to get them to refinance our loan, but they were less than helpful, which is unfortunate since we do almost all of our banking with them.

Finally, in mid-February, I got fed up with their shenanigans and I applied online for a refinance through a mortgage broker in Denver. I can say without reservation that our broker is fantastic. He has done an incredible job jumping through some crazy hoops with both class and humor -- I am ecstatic to have found him. To be honest, I thought his job would be much easier.

Scott and I seem like the ideal clients. We have great credit -- we've got two credit cards that we rarely use (we pretty much only use our Costco Amex and only when we're at Costco) and we have no debt other than our mortgage. Our mortgage is paid automatically every month, so we've never missed a payment or been late on a payment and we put an extra few hundred bucks toward the principle every month. We don't enjoy spending money and we live below our means. I thought that this refinance would be a breeze. In theory, it was. Until the lender found out that we're in Mexico until summer. Then the questions started.

About every other day for a month we would get another condition for the loan. Tell us how much time you spend in Mexico every year and how much time you spend at the property in Colorado. Tell us how long you'll be in Mexico this year. Give us proof that Scott is allowed to work from there. Tell us what all the deposits into your checking account are. Show us where the deposit into your savings account came from. Give us more proof that Scott is allowed to work from there, and this time make it on company letter head. Tell us what your expenses are in Mexico. We'd like an itemized receipt from the resort where you're staying. (Seriously? If I could afford to stay in a resort for eleven months, I wouldn't care about getting a fifteen year mortgage!)

It all seemed ridiculous to me, but it became clear that it was really getting out of control when our broker, who has been in the industry for nine years, got fed up with all of the conditions and stood up to the lender.

And now, finally, we have a closing date set for next week. The cashier's checks from Wells Fargo may or may not make it to closing on time, which is a potential disaster. And when you order a cashier's check from Wells Fargo online, you can only order a check for up to $2000, and we need about $3500 to close (our closing costs include a year of insurance), so I had to order two checks to cover it. And, apparently, if the notary at the consulate in Vallarta has an "emergency" on the day we have to close, she won't be there so we'll have to reschedule for a later date which could be difficult since our rate lock is about to run out and the consulate will be closed for the rest of the week for Easter. So...we're not even close to being out of the woods yet. But, I can see a tiny ray of light. Scott, on the other hand...not so much. He will lose sleep over this mortgage until it closes and probably until this time next year, worrying that we screwed something up.

But, assuming it all goes as planned, here's the best part: once we get through all of this, our monthly house payment will be the same as what we've been paying for the past five years, but we'll finish paying at least ten years sooner. And we will save around $172,000 in interest. So, yeah, take a deep breath. Once it all works out, it will be worth it!

In other news...Mama Milly has kennel cough and passed it onto her puppies, so we're crossing our fingers and hoping they survive. She just winked at me, though, so I'm thinking things will be just fine.


Fulton said...

I really hope it all turns out OK! I can't imagine having to juggle all that from another country!

Last week or the week before, I started to write a post about our refinance to a 15 year, but was told I was putting too much personal info into the post, so I nixed it. I might try again soon, your post definitely motivates me to!

Hillary Dickman said...

Yeah, it's tough to balance between too much personal info and sharing enough info to make it relevant to other people's lives. I am happy to share more specifics with anyone who wants to email me, though.