It's not about the house.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Tramp's Story, Part III: A Rose is a Rose is a What Now?

con't from previous post

Just when I was deciding whether this Henry person might be my new best friend, he said “Are you sure you don’t want to discuss this with your husband or anything?"

There was a time I would have bristled at that question. When I would have heard it as “Sweetheart, you are obviously not qualified to make this decision because you are a girl.”  But I'm much older now. I've learned from more than my share of life's mistakes. I've realized that if I squeal and let the Big Strong Man kill the Little Hairy Spider (or vice versa), that doesn't mean he won't still hear me roar. I also know the sorry truth is that I am not qualified to make this decision – which isn't due to my X chromosomes, as far as I know, but to some other wonky aspect of my DNA.

I am an idiot. Financially, at least. I go through life like a tourist: holding out fistfuls of pretty-colored currency and trusting random strangers to take their pick. That's how I wound up with my first schmortgage, more or less, and just look at the bollix that turned out to be. This time, though, I was determined to do it right. So I slapped a muzzle on my inner Steinem and assured her Henry just meant that was this was not something to be taken lightly. He just meant that, since there did happen to be another member of my household, the two of us might want to take some time and hash it out.


Well, Johnny would likely have opinions. That could only serve to complicate things, after all.

“All right, then, we’ll get you started. 4.375%, fixed for 30, no appraisal, no income verification, no penalty for early payment – in case you win the lottery, which I sincerely hope you do. Plus you’ll get to skip a payment when it’s finalized, so you and your husband can take a nice vacation." We could. Or we could heat our house! "And it looks right now as if you'll be getting $1600 back from the balance on your escrow account.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hang on a second...

“Why doesn’t this email I just got from you say ‘Henry’ on it?”

“Oh, does it still say ‘Aroutyun’?”



You bet your ‘Hm,’ there, Henry! Or, should I say, Aroutyun? Now I’m confused. The fast-talking Countrywide I dealt with last time at least let me call him “Kevin McGoff” the whole time he was shoving my first schmortgage up my ass. Your accent is lovely, Henroutyun, and while I certainly understand an immigrant taking a name that’s easier on the natives, don't you think you should pick one and stick with it? This is two-names stuff comes across a little shady.

Then again, my own grandfather abandoned the name on his Albanian birth certificate at age 14, when Dmitri became Mitchell at Ellis Island, and Dimi became Jimmy to his friends. So what the hell right do I have to judge?

I still didn’t quite grok why the $1600 escrow balance would be mine to keep, though. Don't I still have to pay insurance and property tax and stuff? Ah, well. For now I could afford to take Henroutyun’s word for that part, because apparently I’d have plenty of time to suss it out...

“It will probably take about 90 days to be final, so—”

“Which payment do I skip? November?”

“No! No, you’ll skip one when it’s all finished and closed. In the meantime, you must not even be late with a single payment, or the whole thing will fall apart. The only reason I can give this to you in the first place is because you don’t have any payments late so far. You’re very lucky.”

“Well..." I said. I don’t know how much ‘luck’ had to do with that, Henroutyun.

“Not lucky! I know! Very responsible! What I mean is, you’re very lucky with the timing, with this rate. Even if you do live there for thirty years, I promise you will never refinance this house again. You will never get a better deal than this.”

“I can imagine. But then, the only reason I let myself be fast-talked into an adjustable in the first place was that I thought we’d never see 5% again.” That, and I really did think we’d be out of here by now.

“If we did adjustable today,” said Henroutyun, “I could give you 3%.”


“But you don’t want to do that!”

“No, no. I don’t. I was just saying: Really!?”

“Even if you did want to, I wouldn’t do it. I was just making small talk while I have a quick look through your file.”

God bless you, sir. Just for that, I’ll call you Henry again from now on.

So we went through some small details – my SS#, marital status, clearing up the fact that I do, in fact, live in the house now, and they can disregard the address and telephone number of our old apartment -- stuff like that. He asked me how much I earned and I told him, honestly. Actually, I told him a lower number than the truth, because I left out the healthy bonus my Lady usually gives me at the end of every year (I figured that, even though I’ve never not gotten it, it’s still really more of a gift than salary and therefore not a guarantee, so I’d be both more polite and better off to not assume).

It didn’t phase him. A $189,000 schmortgage on a $20,000 salary didn’t phase him. And here you thought they weren’t doing that anymore.

Hey, though, you know what? Whatever. At least I am better off now than I was before, and isn't that the American dream? That is to say, I will be. If this schmeschminance actually comes through. And if it doesn't, or if I wind up plastered to the rolling-snowball anyway, I can still blame it on Kevin McGoff.

That bleedin' Countrywide.

Tune in next time for the exciting continuation. There’s a FedEx package! And forms!


Ladyscot said...

You sure he wasn't Indian? We get a lot of those at work. The banks call looking for info and tell us they are Tom, Dick or Harry and we can hardly understand them from the accent, and we just know that's not their real name. Good luck with the refinance!

Anonymous said...

still grumbling over here - standard interest rates here are around 6%. I got a half percent discount and thought I got a good deal.

ege said...

LadyScot -- No, I'm sure he wasn't. I'm pretty schooled on those. He sounded like James Earl Jones goes to Jamaica...

12 -- Nyeah! (If I get it...)

Doug -- You may really love me (and if you do I'm sorry) but you were also spam so I deleted you.

Charlie said...

OMG! You are killing me with this miniseries...and I already know how it ends (the butler did it - for those of you who are lurking).