Thursday, July 27, 2006

House buying lessons learned part 1: "It will all be worth it. It will all be worth it. It will all be..."

I am approaching the “official” two week point in my first home buying experience. Time for a “lessons learned:”

Check your credit report at least once a year.
This is just good advice in general. It was also a major concern for me as mine seems to be made of some sort of Velcro that attracts a lot of incorrect information. It’s easy to get cleaned up; all three agencies have a method to file disputes on the web. But, it takes time. At least 30 days. Luckily, I started this part of the process a while back, so I was in good shape.

Do not count on any large bureaucratic entity to do the right thing.
Still on the credit front, I do have one issue; the company that has my student loan is reporting on this loan in a misleading manner. I don’t want to get into too many details, as this is clearly personal information, but suffice to say I don’t disagree with the amount they say I owe, and they don’t disagree that I’ve never been late or delinquent in any way. But everybody I’ve talked to be it mortgage brokers, attorneys or loan officers from the four largest banks in the country agree that they are doing it wrong. Their response is basically “We don’t care, we’re right, we don’t feel the way we are reporting it is negative and everyone else is wrong and we’re not changing it.” They are sending me a letter that I can show to banks explaining why they are reporting it this retarded way, and the consensus is that that should be sufficient. I was tempted to ask the CSR if they would sign the letter “Sorry we’re so retarded,” but I figured this was a time for maturity, so instead I’m posting it here, where maturity has no lease. Maturity can’t get a lease because its credit isn’t good enough because of its student loan. Damn deadbeat maturity…

Still, it wouldn’t have been a big issue, and I’d be farther along if they would just do it the way they are supposed to from the beginning. Several people have suggested suing or filing a complaint with the government agency that oversees them. I’m not ruling any of that out, but I’m not going to stir the pot until the ink on the deal is dry and I have the keys to the house in my pocket.

Everybody has “a guy.”
And by “guy” that’s just a generic term that could mean “a gal” as well, so please beat back the urge to post a comment of the “You sexist pig!” variety. Invariably, everybody else’s guy is smarter, more clever, cheaper, knows more people and is more connected than whoever your guy is. If my current realtor is unable to deliver, I have 13 more in line based on referrals, so she knows the pressure is on! I suppose this is really a good thing, my parents are realtors, and get most of their business by referral, and my feeling is that in a business based on referral, you want to do a good job to keep the clients coming in. Still, it was funny when someone INSISTED I had to call their mortgage guy because he was clearly superior to my guy. Well, turns out his guy IS my guy. To which he responded “Uh, well… I’m sure he’s doing a great job then.”

People will try to correct their first home buying mistakes through you.
I appreciate the advice I am receiving from friends, family, co-workers and other acquaintances. Even the advice that directly contradicts the advice someone else gave me. I know these people want to see me do well here, but some have taken my home buying experience WAY to personally. I have one friend who seems to think that she will somehow be vindicated on a bad deal she made recently by me “sticking it to” who ever I buy from and their realtor. I’m not out to “stick it to” anyone, that’s just bad Karma (Thank you TV, always teaching those valuable life lessons!). I’m out to get the best deal that is acceptable to all involved. After all, I’m going to be on the selling end one day, and I would hope that whoever buys my house will come into the deal with the same mindset I have not.

Wow! All that and I haven’t even finished securing the financing yet. Just wait till closing!

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