This past week and a half has been a bit of a blur for me. During that time my wife, son and I have packed up one house, finalized paperwork for the mortgage to buy our new house, and then moved and sat through two closings in one day to sell our old house and then to buy the new one.
The process was a bit more stressful and involved than I remember it being the last time we bought a house in 2006. I suppose a lot of things in the mortgage and real estate markets have changed since then, and because of that the process has become a bit more detailed and documentation, credit scores and so forth have become that much more important.
I took the whole week off of work last week so that we could complete the process of moving and closing the sale and purchase on our old and new homes. I think I may have worked more in those few days, than I normally work at my day job!
Packing Up Our House & Moving
Probably the thing that took the longest throughout the process was just packing up our old house. It's amazing how much stuff you accumulate over the years, and we had considered having a big garage sale before we moved. In the end we just didn't have time to do that.
We started packing up the house about 3 weeks before the big move. We got leftover boxes from friends who had just moved, plastic containers from other friends, and boxes from friends and neighbors. We had a lot of boxes to pack with, but we ran out. We ended up buying about 10 more moving boxes when all was said and done.
We finally finished packing up our stuff the night before our big move.
We were able to move the Saturday before we closed on the house since my in-laws were the home builders, and they had the occupancy certificate for the new house about a week before the closing. So we got all of our friends and family together (thanks everyone!) and made 2 big trips with a 26″ U-Haul truck. It was hot, hard and sweaty work, let me tell you. I'm not sure I ever want to move again.
Getting Final Mortgage Approval
Even though we had moved all of our stuff to the new house the weekend before the closing, that didn't mean the hard work was done. We still had to get to the closing and ensure that we had final approval on our mortgage.
We got a great rate on our mortgage through Roundpoint Mortgage, and there were no closing costs to speak of. Overall we got a good deal on our mortgage. The only problem is that during the process the communication coming from the mortgage company wasn't very good. At one point we went two weeks without them returning my call. Very poor.
After we had applied and got initial approval on our mortgage at the end of June, we went all through the month of July without getting final approval on the mortgage. They kept asking for further documentation for the loan underwriters, and just when we thought we were done they would ask for 3 or 4 more things. Admittedly my situation, having a bunch of self employment income, complicates the loan approval a bit. I receive lots of small, medium and large checks in payment for advertising, affiliate income and so forth, and they kept wanting proof of where the money was coming from. Every time they asked, I supplied them with proof.
Once August rolled around and we still didn't have final approval – even though our closing was on the 15th, I started getting nervous. Our rate lock was expiring and if we had to push the closing date back we might not be able to keep our sub 3.875% rate on our loan, and rates had gone up over half a point. That would mean thousands of dollars lost over the life of the loan.
Finally the week of the closing rolled around, and we still hadn't gotten final approval. The loan underwriters asked for 4 more pieces of documentation about deposits that had been made in my accounts, and we provided it. Then we had a final appraisal inspection on the house, which went fine.
Finally 2 days before the closing we got final approval for our mortgage, and all the documentation was sent to the closing company.
Two Closings In One Day
While we were dealing with getting final mortgage approval I was also talking with the closing and title company all week since we had two closings in one day on the Thursday of that week. A lot of people will say to avoid doing that if you can, and while I agree it can be stressful, we kind of had to do it that way this time in order to get approved for our mortgage. Our old house had to be sold before our new mortgage would be approved. We had issues with the sale of our home previously when our home had a low appraisal, but luckily our appeal of the appraisal was successful. The sale would go on.
All week I was filling out forms and sending them to the title company in order to speed up the closing later in the week. When the day of the closing rolled around we had back to back closings from 10:30am-noon.
The first closing went off without a hitch. We signed a few papers, handed over the keys and garage door openers and gave the new owners the run-down of their new house, the association, when garbage day is, etc.
The second closing, the closing on our new house, went pretty quick as well. Since the builder was my wife's parents there wasn't as much paperwork as is typical. We still had to sign about a thousand pages of documents, and confirm that everything looked correct when it came to the mortgage documents.
When we were done, we had sold our old house and came out of it with a decent check (despite seeing our home value drop over the past 7 years), and then bought our new house with a 20% down payment. The closings were done, we were moved in and the mortgages were all set to go.
I can't tell you what a relief it was to have all of those things done! It was a weight off my shoulders!
Stressful Process, But Worth It
After all was said and done we ended up with a beautiful home built for us by my wife's parents, we got instant equity in the home because of the amazing deal they gave us. We also ended up with a great rate on our new mortgage with no closing costs – and sold our house for enough to come out with a check at closing. That's more than most folks can say.
The process was stressful, but in the end it was worth it.
Have you been through the home selling and buying process recently? How did it go for you?