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April 8 – a look back at all the hurdles

Buying a home has been everything buy easy; if your are thinking about plunging into the big purchase soon, my advice to you is to be prepared for the unexpected.

A week or so after the phone call we had the dreaded home inspection – you would have thought I was hosting a party if you hadn’t known any better. Gathered all together in what was soon to be my house on this chilly March day was more people then the inspector had ever expected.

Ellen, Jared, my Dad, his girlfriend, Ellen, my Mom and her husband. The only thing we were missing were party hats.

The home inspection reviled everything were were already expecting — water damaged dry wall, windows that need to be replaced, a wood burning stove that needed further inspection & a deck that had some suspect areas on it.

The only that caught us off guard, that looking back on shouldn’t have, was the heat. I had know since the first time I looked at the house before Christmas that the AC unit did not work, for some reason it never clicked to anyone that the AC Unit and the Heating unit were the same thing. So of course come inspection day I found that not only did the house, my house, not have AC but it also had no heat.

No big deal,” I thought, with spring right around the corner neither the AC or the Heat was a huge rush.

The home inspection was on a Saturday & I was still feeling good about the purchase of the house afterwords. Everything was falling into place and soon my loan would be sent off for the stamp of approval.

[**side note: I did go with a USDA loan, the property I am purchasing is located on “rural” land & qualifies for it. By going USDA over “conventional” I am able to obtain a lower interest rate and got about 50% off my mortgage insurance**]

Come Monday I got another phone call from Ellen informing me that the heat had to be in working condition for the house to be sold and because the house is a short sale that it was up to me to make the fix.

Long story short – it was about two weeks of scrambling, trying for figure out how to a) afford this possible $1,500 repair and b) how I could front that type of money for something that still was not officially mine. Only to receive a late night email from the loan officer one day stating that the appraisal was complete and they had found no repairs that needed to be made prior to settlement.

Ecstatic I was on my way to being a first time home buyer, what had felt like the largest wall to climb had just crumbled in front of me, nothing could stop me now.

Little did I know it would be weeks before my loan finally started to make it’s way to the USDA.

A week or so after the loan officer’s email I got a phone call from the Underwriting department of his office looking for a signed copy of  my offer letter, my second pay stub & a letter stating I have worked the same position since September, I was just pay by a different party previously.

Signed copy of the offer letter was easy and sent over, the pay stub I told them would have to wait until the end of March when I finally got my second one & I would contact my temp agency about the letter.

The letter was the most difficult to obtain & in the end a letter from my current boss saying “Heather Gioia has worked for us since September. From September 26 to Feb. 29 Heather was paid by the temp agency and on March 1 Heather came on-board as a full time associate on our payroll” that made everyone happy.

There it was the end of March, the loan officer had everything he needed and I had word my loan was heading off to the USDA in a few days.

It figures when you do a specialty loan that specialty rules apply, certain requirements need to be met & only specific third parties can be used.

Sitting at work in the midst of a petty miss understanding with a co-worker, the email came from the loan officer, “The appraisal we originally ordered on the house did not meet the USDA requirements and a new appraisal was ordered. The new appraisal revealed repairs that need to be made before the loan can be submitted. With the current loan approval time from USDA and allowing time for repairs, the closing date no longer falls into the the agreed time span. I recommend you ask for an extension to at least May 11 and set a closing date of May 11.

My heart snake, my stomach turned, I swore I felt tears starting to well up in the pockets of my eyes. I sat there at my desk heart broken. Everything I had invested so much in was about to slip away, the fear of again having to invest money into the house prior to it really becoming mine was settling in to be a reality.

The repairs were easy enough that I thought Jared and I could get them done – sweep up the broken glass, scrapped the chipped paint around the outside & repaint.

A few panic-ed emails to Ellen later and I learned that this was some how the sellers responsibility to fix. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders; but I soon found that the waiting game was destine to continue. Now rather then waiting for the approvals or the okays, I am waiting for the seller’s agent to make the magic happen — to get this house out of the sellers hands and into mine.

So I sit, in the freezing basement, where it is now April and the flannel sheets are still on my bed with two comforters and a blanket, about 20 boxes packed; pots, pans, bed risers, and pizza stone all bought and packed away. In the freezing basement surrounded by empty boxes reminding me of all the things I still need to pack and hand-me-down furniture that just couldn’t make it’s way to Florida.

Now I sit here, waiting for that call saying everything went through. I am sure that it will happen, it just might take longer then we all expected.

Who knew I would start the home buying process in October to finish up a few months short of a year later.

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