"How did you manage to get ahold of a loan officer at 9:30 at night on a Thursday?"
The question came in over text, so I couldn't tell the degree of incredulousness in Loverboy's tone.
"I dunno. I know people, and for some reason, they seem to like me."
That was late August of 2018. And that's all it took to refinance my house. Well, ok. Obviously there was more than that. But the hassle of shopping around for the right company, the reasonable rates, the type of loan that fits my needs, reflected my well earned 823 FICO score, and the right team to work with was quite simple, actually.
What did I have to do? Well, in the grand scheme, not much. I had some repairs to the property that I had to complete. We'd had a rain storm that caused a leak in my roof, which led to the collapse of the ceiling in my upstairs bathroom. We tore out the entire ceiling, removed the pipe to nowhere that was leaking into the attic, hung new drywall, and gave me a modern, textured ceiling. While I was at it, I took that opportunity to start over with a new light fixture complete with a fan to vent the poo gas, a whole new color scheme, and brand new matching fixtures for the bath towels, hand towel, and toilet paper holder. I swapped out the art on the walls, the window treatments, and linens. Thanks to Mother Nature, I ended up with a whole new bathroom! Once those were done, we scheduled an appraisal, so we'd know how much equity I could work with. If there wasn't enough, then the loan process couldn't progress. Well, I'm happy to say that I ended up with about $13,000 in equity in this little house of mine! So, we started off strong.
After verifying my credit and income (which I sailed through, if I can brag on myself for a moment) my Angel of a loan officer was able to lock in my rate at a very reasonable 4.75% on a 30 year conventional loan. Sure, it's more than what I had before, but for the loan amount, I think that worked out to maybe a dollar a payment. So, I didn't sweat it much at all. I was also able to switch from the FHA, and save my about $20 a month on my payment. All of this is good news so far, right? Well, lucky me, it gets better.
While we're working on getting the paperwork finalized and the numbers crunched, my Angel discovered there was a significant amount of money in my escrow account. Upon further investigation, in order to cash this out, the old mortgage company only required one of the original buyer's signatures on the new check. So, I'm able to squirrel that away to use however I need to. On top of that, there was a small miscommunication as to how much the final loan amount should be. So, the paperwork was drawn up with about $1000 over the actual needed amount financed. I chose to leave that alone so as to not delay the process any further, and I can use that money on something extravagant that I might not have splurged on otherwise. It's cheaper money than a credit card, and if I want to, I can always put it directly towards the principle and cut down the amount of time I have on the note. My options are various. And all said and done, I'm saving about $35 a month on my payment, and that's WITH the extra cash out at closing. Plus, if I wanted to keep sending in the old amount to the new loan, that's just that much faster I can pay off this note. Again, that's the smart thing to do. I have no other debt, really. The lessons I learned from my Chapter 13 bankruptcy stuck. I only have the mortgage, the lease on my car, and a credit card that I pay off every month. (I got smart and found a card with rewards, so I have that change rattling around away from my hot little hands if I find myself needing an emergency couple bucks.) I'm very lucky to be in a position where this is possible.
Maybe the best part though is that, due to the timing, I won't be making a payment until December. I get to skip two months' worth. I'm considering keeping the money I would send in and paying three of them at once, specifying all the extra go to the principle. That's the smart thing to do. But it's nice to know that if I want to have a helluva Christmas or want to really live large on my annual vacation to Mexico (this time with Loverboy!), I can.
I'm forever grateful to my loan officer and her team. So much so, that while I was being fleeced for my entire paycheck in the Target Halloween section again this year, I bought her a small superhero cape. Not all superheroes wear them, but it's nice to have one for formal occasions.
And that, my friends, is the 45 day saga of how I am now sole owner of my home, and walked away with money in my pocket, and a smaller payment each month. How did I ever get so lucky?