Tag Archives: Escrow

ProTip: Paying for your House

Addison Road proudly presents today’s Real Estate ProTip:

The day you put an offer on a house, gather up every dollar you have, in every account, including any money you can possibly borrow from family and friends, and withdraw it all as cash. Then, for the duration of your escrow, simply carry around a large bag full of cash, and when people ask you for money, reach into the bag and hand them a fistful of sweaty bills. Don’t even bother asking them what the money is for, just give it to them.

This way, you avoid nasty snags like your local bank (where you have had your accounts for over 10 years) (oh, and which holds many tens of thousands of dollars of your own money) placing a hold on all incoming funds, thus delaying your ability to wire money directly into the escrow account, and moving your close date back by another week.

Wells Fargo, you are dead to me. From now on, all of my financial transaction will be handled by a brown bag full of sweaty bills. At least the bag doesn’t charge me a transaction fee every time I open it.

Escrowlicious

So, Zack was right; escrow is soul-destroying. The sheer number of things that have to get done, and in order, is overwhelming.

Income verification. Tax records. Account statements. Home inspection. A second home inspection by someone who just does chimneys. Termite report. Injunction to invalidate the termite report and force a new one because the first one didn’t note wood rot that the home inspector found. Request for repairs. Resubmitting the income verification, tax records, and account statements because our broker found a better rate with a new lender. Hazard insurance. Title records. Title insurance. Whiskey. And that’s just week one.

When we signed our offer, we asked for a 30-day escrow. We felt ready to move quickly, and wanted to make the offer as attractive as possible. Now, 30 days feels like an impossible deadline. Neither of us is sleeping at night. Our kids have keyed in on our frustration, and they are running on full overdrive all the time. We’re both taking on a ton of extra work right now to earn as much as possible before it comes time to pay for closing costs.

All that to say, buying a house sucks. I hope owning a house is worth it.

whiskey blues

Home Sweet Home

Escrow
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…

 

Home Sweet Home - before the renovations!

Home Sweet Home - before the renovations!