noun – a contract, deed, bond, or other written agreement deposited with a third person, by whom it is to be delivered to the grantee or promisee on the fulfillment of some condition.
Sara and I just bought a house. Well, maybe I’m being premature – we’re trying to buy a house. We found a nice little joint in Lake Balboa, put in an offer, and it was accepted. That was more than 30 days ago…
The Wild West heyday of California Real Estate in the early 2000′s is over, my friends. At it’s height, lenders were giving no-money-down loans on million-dollar properties to barely functioning crack-addicts. Nowadays, you’d better have a credit score with 4 digits and one hell of a down payment. Escrow is a nightmare. I know a few of you Roadie’s are homeowners, so I’m sure you’re familiar with the process. Escrow is a daily nightmare of intrusion, delay, and disappointment. Sara and I are First Time Home Buyers, which means several things: a) We’re ignorant, and we make decisions based primarily on emotional response, and b) we’re ripe to be taken advantage of. Fortunately, we have a halfway decent agent, who’s got our best interests protected. For those of you who are about to buy your first house, here are some things I’ve learned:
The amount of paperwork to submit is astounding. I’m no tree-huggin’ hippie, but damn – even I was starting to feel a bit guilty about the amount of rainforest we decimated just completing the pre-approval process. Is there a digital alternative? Nope.
As I mentioned, Escrow is a nightmare. No financial transaction is immune to military-esque scrutiny. Cash two paychecks at once? Prove it. Your folks give you a few thousand bucks for a honeymoon? Better have mom fill out seven pages in triplicate explaining the nature of the gift. Don’t even think about buying a $200 piece of gear for your studio. You’ll eat Taco Bell for every meal, and like it.
Fees. Fees. Fees. Title Fees. Appraisal Fees. Loan Origination Fees. Loan Discount Fees (Yes, that’s VERY real. In order to lock-in a particular interest rate, you’ll pay for it) Credit Report Fees. Tax Service Fees. Lender Fees. Flood Certificate Fees. Good…..Sweet….Jesus…….. Honestly, there are more fees, but you get the point.
Delays. Want to get into that house quick, so you’re not paying rent and a mortgage at the same time? Tough shit. Expect EVERYTHING to be delayed.
The upside? Home is everything, and home is worth fighting for…