Monday, July 30, 2012

The Drive to the Escrow Office

Ashley from Harmony Escrow called me on Friday (7/27/12) to have me come into the office to sign the loan documents! She wanted me to come in asap in order to close at month end. Honestly, when she called I wasn't too excited. Maybe because I was in Culver City and she was in Irvine! It was an hour away, but
with traffic it was 2 hours, not to mention another 2 hours back! They are not open on the weekends so I had to go Friday, so I did. I asked my kind boss if I can take off at 2:00 PM and he was completely fine with it. At this point in the process, I should have known all the details of my loan, such as total closing cost, monthly payment, etc. Unfortunately, I didn't. I had been asking my loan officer for this info for days but his response was always, "I'll get that for you right away." Well that "right away" never came.

At 1:00 PM I called the escrow office back to let them know that I'll be passing by to sign the loan documents and asked her what would I need to bring with me. She said that I will need to take my ID and a cashier's check for the escrow balance... I've been wanting to know how much more I had to come out of my pocket for closing cost and the 3.5% of my down payment. I had already sent a cashier's check in the amount of $4,100 as my earnest deposit at the very beginning of this process so I was very anxious to know what was left. She finally responded and said to give her 30 minutes to finalize the numbers and that she'll e-mail me a copy for my review.

At 1:20 PM I received her e-mail and I couldn't have opened the attachment any faster! The attachment finally opened and I quickly look at the bottom of the report and there it was, "total due to escrow: $5,215.25" I felt so relief to know it wasn't anything outrageous like I saw in the Good Faith Estimate presented by banks when I was shopping around for a lender. This probably has a lot to do with the sellers credit of $6,117 (3% of selling price). This was literally, $6,117 that I didn't have to take out of my savings account! FYI - Freddie Mac provides up to 3% of sales price as a credit and a 2 year home warranty (only applies to single family residence) for owner occupant buyers. My property didn't qualify for the home warranty, because it's a duplex. I am happy with the credit though!

Okay, back to Friday... At 2:00 PM, I went to the bank to get a cashier's check and anxiously drove to the escrow office. It felt like I was never going to get there. It was so surreal. This drive felt the same way the day I drove to church to get baptized and the day I picked up my iPhone 4! It's a feeling that you're so proud of, but you feel something big is going to happen because you cannot believe it's really happening. I seriously thought I was going to be involved in a car accident on my way to the escrow office. Not because I was driving recklessly, but because my presence in this world didn't feel real. It felt like things like this do not happen in real life...

Made it safe to the office (thank God, because I was speeding...haha..kidding of course, traffic was jam). Ashley met with me in a private room and we went through the loan documents and she had me sign where a signature was required and after an hour and a numb hand, I was given a copy of what I had just signed and I drove back home. At this point, it didn't feel like a big deal that I just signed loan documents to buy a house, I was probably just tired.

Wells Fargo should be paying the seller tomorrow (Monday) and keys to the property should be provided to me on Tuesday of which I will then officially be a homeowner!

Day 1---July 19, 2012 : File was submitted for final review (lender process)

Day 2---July 20, 2012: Waiting

Day 3---July 21, 2012: Waiting

Day 4---July 22, 2012: Waiting

Day 5---July 23, 2012: Waiting

Day 6---July 24, 2012: Waiting

Day 7---July 25, 2012: Waiting

Day 8---July 26, 2012: Loan specialist received my file from underwriter to close for final approval. File was put into the closing department for them to draw the loan documents

Day 9---July 28, 2012: Call from escrow office that loan documents were ready to sign. I signed documents that same day and file was faxed back to Wells Fargo by escrow office who will overnight originals as well.

Day 10---July 30,2012: Wells Fargo will review loan documents to ensure everything was completed correctly and if everything looks okay Wells Fargo will fund escrow account. Escrow office will submit borrower info to title and pay seller

Day 11---July 31, 2012: Title acknowledgment is confirmed and escrow is closed. Realtor will pick up keys from listing agents office and proudly give you the keys to your new home!

I then have to call my contractor to begin to remodel the property and once completed, I can finally move in! But before calling my contractor, my boyfriend and I are going to go to our favorite Thai restaurant in Santa Monica and celebrate our victory!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Okay.... well close! My file has been sent to the closing department and loan documents should generate in a few hours!!! Contractor was validated just fine and loan docs will be sent to escrow who will get title and all that good stuff ready to sign! I cannot believe this is actually happening. I am 24 years old and seriously have always dreamed of this moment my entire life. You know when something is too good, you can't believe it... well this is one of those moments. God is so good and I am humbled by His grace.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Happens A Few Weeks Before Close of Escrow

A lot of excitement and a little bit of stress as time is of the essence and everyone is running around to get everything finalized and ready for funding!

Okay, if getting a house isn't stressful enough, imagine your loan officer telling you that they found a tax lien and a judgment against your contractor just a few weeks away from close of escrow!!

Last week, the bank called me to request letters from my contractor to justify the tax lien and judgment he had against him!! When my loan processor told me this, I freaked out! This was coming in a few weeks before close of escrow and of course I thought the worse. If my contractor isn't validated, I would need to go searching for another contractor that can match my budget and have him fill out all the paperwork, all in a few weeks.

It is so important to get a responsible and reliable contractor for a 203k loan. Luckily, my contractor was responsible to write a letter of explanation for the tax lien and judgment that was requested by the bank in a timely manner. We had to wait two days to hear back from the bank with a "your contractor should be validated just fine."...........Finally, I can breath!

Now that oxygen is running to my brain, I can process that I'm soon going to be a homeowner and a landlord!!! I'm so excited!!!! I feel like I was finally able to reach such a big dream of mine...

This is it a few weeks before close of escrow .... contractor is going to be validated just fine, I satisfied all contingencies, property has been approved, and now, we have to wait for the final decision! At this point, I just want everything to be over already, it's been more than months and I'm hoping my next blog will be titled "I AM A HOMEOWNER!!"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Loan Process & Electronic Signature

When shopping for a mortgage lender, some loan officers will lock the interest rate they quoted you for a maximum of 60 days. That's what happen in my case. I locked an interest rate and it is set to expire on its 60 day mark which happens to be exactly two weeks from today.

My loan officer from Wells Fargo is confident they will close on time and are trying to close ASAP. According to him, we are in our final stages and I believe him. One thing that slowed down the process was that my student loan service provider was transferred from Direct Loans to EdFinancial. The bank thought I refinanced by student loan, but clarified that the service provider was transferred. The bank had to send a validation form to the service provider in order to get clarification on the status of the loan since my credit report is showing "closed" instead of "transferred."

On the other hand, I've been going back and forth with the loan processor regarding a deposit of $1,000 that I cannot supply supporting documents for. This is why I tell you that's it is very important to keep track of your deposit slips and a copy of the check. When I deposit checks, I deposit them as cash in order to get immediate credit rather than waiting days, sometimes weeks, for the check to clear.

When applying for a mortgage loan, the bank will let your borrow the money to purchase your home, but they will have conditions you will have to meet in order for them to finance the money to you. These "conditions" are items requested by the underwriter for additional information in order to make a decision. When your mortgage banker asks for conditions, don't delay, get it to them ASAP in order to get your loan processed sooner. Examples of conditions are, verification of employment, last two paychecks, updated bank statements, and so forth.

I am anxious to know when I will be closing. My official closing date should occur on or by August 6, 2012 if not, I will be charged a $100 per diem for everyday after August 6, 2012 imposed by the seller. I have complete confidence on Wells Fargo that they will be able to close on time.

A great tip that I share with all my family and friends, is getting forms filled out and even signed electronically!! This great FREE website I found is called and it's great! I've been able to sign real estate forms requested by seller, type directly into a PDF, and so much more! They have this new thing where you can get your forms notarized, but I haven't tried that service yet.

I will continue to wait and see what else the bank needs from me, and hopefully we will be closing in the next few days.....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Property Appraised Above Loan Amount!

Great news, the duplex property I am purchasing appraised $30,000 above my loan amount! This means that I have equity and that I'm getting a killer deal! I am really excited everything is moving smoothly and that I might be closing a week before the scheduled date.

The appraisal didn't act like an inspector like so many people said they act. My appraiser did call out repairs that need to be done in order for the property to meet FHA/HUD standards. I'm glad I have a 203k loan because I will be able to do these repairs AFTER I close escrow and not BEFORE. These repairs are nothing insane compared to what other blogs have said inspectors look for.

The following repairs were called out by the appraiser.

1) Replace all broken windows
2) Any peeling paint needs to be scraped and removed from the site entirely. Area will need to be treated and repainted
3) Light fixtures missing (electricity wire exposure)
4) Termite damage eaves
5) Repair missing or torn crawl space screens
6) Holes in walls (drywall repair)
7) Missing door knobs
8) Repair missing or chipped wood siding

I read a lot of places online that the appraiser will want updated electricity, plumbing, functional heaters, and so much more! This was NOT my experience!

The following were NOT called out by my appraiser:
1) Broken security bars
2) Stove (read that stove is a "must" for property to be habitable)
3) Kitchen cabinet doors that are missing
4) Floor heater
5) Broken tile around the house
6) Laundry room floor sinking

Reading into something so much can really make you go crazy and stress you out for no reason! I was so afraid the appraiser was going to request a lead inspector, have roof repaired (not in good condition), and replace floor heaters. Don't let this process stress you out, just look into the future and believe everything is going to turn out great, and if it doesn't, there will be a solution for you!

I thank God for my experience thus far!