Thursday, January 6, 2011

Refinancing Semi-Debacle

If I'd known how exciting it would be to refinance my mortgage, I would have blogged about it on a blow-by-blow basis. Before I tell you about today's nonsense, here are some lowlights.

I started the process in October, with advertised rates around 4.25%. I checked with my lender at the time to see if they have an adjustment program, as many lenders do, since their choice is to write down the loan or lose it entirely. They didn't reply to my inquiry but they took a third option. Two weeks after I contacted them, I got a letter telling me that my loan had been sold, effective December 1.

Fine, I've already chosen to refinance with the place where I have my checking account. The letter from the old lender says to make my December payment to the new servicer and provides an account number and mailing address. My credit union says they can't close by December 1, so I mail a payment.

Two weeks after I mail the payment, I get a letter from the new servicer telling me that due to the sale, I don't have to make a payment in December and no interest will accrue for the month. I find that both impossible to believe (what bank is going to foreswear interest) and aggravating, because the next day I receive a letter saying that my payment - the one I don't owe - was short by a penny. Where the old lender must have rounded down at some point in the amortization calculation, the new servicer rounded up. Fine. I am officially past due by $0.01.

Meanwhile, the credit union is trying to get a payoff statement from the new servicer, but they can't because the people who didn't want me to make a December payment but decided it was too small when I did claim that I'm not in their system. The credit union finally got the payoff the Monday after Christmas. We were scheduled to close tomorrow.

Somewhere in all this, the Federal Reserve decides that US interest rates are too low and begin some quantitative easing. I don't know what quantitative easing is, it could be qualitative wheezing for all I know, but it certainly raised interest rates in a hurry. I locked in north of 4.5%, about half a point higher than I would have had a month earlier. That's about $40 a month or $15,000 over the life of the mortgage. Curse you, Ben Bernanke!

Which brings us to today's adventure. A few hours after I confirm the appointment for tomorrow, my loan officer e-mails me that we have to delay closing for a week. They reviewed documentation, as they are wont to do, and discovered that the homeowners association fees have gone up since I filed the application. True enough, prices rise and are commonly adjusted in January. Here's where it gets insane: they have to wait seven days after notifying me of a change to association fees which I've known about since before Thanksgiving! The change in association fees doesn't affect my mortgage balance, interest rate or anything, and aren't even escrowed, but we still have to wait seven days.

And some more insanity. We have to wait an official sounding seven days but they were allowed to notify me by e-mail. No forms to fill out, nothing to sign, no way for anyone to prove that it was actually me replying to the e-mail, yet we still have to wait seven days.

Like I said, if I'd known that the refinance process would have been this painful/entertaining, I would have blogged about it sooner. I hope the next post about it is an end-of-process celebration. If not, enjoy my misery. Please - I'm paying a lot for it, both in time, money and frustration. Someone better enjoy it.

Note1: During the writing of this post, I was interrupted by a telemarketer call from the new servicer.

Note 2: The names of the moneygrubbing corporations ("old lender" and "new servicer") are being withheld until I'm sure they can no longer do me any fiscal harm. The name of my neighborhood credit union is being withheld for basic privacy and identity theft reasons.

1 comment:

  1. What a pain! Your brother got a nasty letter from his dentist. It warned him to pay up or he might not be welcome in their establishment any more. At the end of the letter it tells him his balance due: $0.00