Wednesday April 7, 2004

Re-fi

We finished a home mortgage re-finance this evening... finally. This has taken an amazingly long time, considering that we re-financed with the same lender and we were only doing this to reduce our rate, not to take out any more money! In fact, we're gong to pay two days of "lock extension" fees because the rate lock holds for 2 months and we didn't get to closing within that period! We started the process on February 4. Sheesh.

The good news is that I asked the right questions regarding the lock extension. My first question was "How much per day?" ($20). OK, that's not so bad. Then I said, half jokingly, "Of course, if the rate has gone down in the meantime, maybe we don't want to extend the lock." After the loan officer laughed I said "Do you know? What is the current rate?" She said she didn't know; the bank keeps that information confidential and only the loan sales folks know but she suggested I ask our sales rep because if the rate had dropped, I could take advantage of their "one-time rate negotiation plan".

Oh! So after we settled on the closing date and time, she transferred me to our loan sales rep (who was still at work after 6 pm) and yes, the rates had dropped another 0.125%. That's not a lot, but it's a nice little reduction and it will certainly pay for the extension fees. I was very pleased.

Another pleasing thing was that the closing took place at our home. This is our fourth(?) refinance since we bought the house. In the past, we've always had to drive to a title company. This time, the notary came to us. That's almost worth the various minor hassles and delays along the way.

The notary showed up at 7pm (I got to choose the time, anytime between 8am and 8pm). Rich and I worked our way through the paperwork, reading, skimmng, initialing, signing, and asking various questions. One could ask why there has to be so much paperwork. Even scarier is the thought that this amount is probably the product of some "paperwork reduction act" and there could have been more! I'm also not sure if the invention of the 600 dpi laser printer was all that helpful, because the paperwork is now all printed on 8.5x11 paper in 6-8 pt. type!

Other than one minor oops where Rich signed the wrong line (almost stating that we didn't approve the bank's choice of title insurance) we did OK. He crossed out that signature and initialed the cross-out and we continued.

Then we signed the Notary book and added our thumbprints and we were done. And gosh, it only took a little over half an hour. But at least, when we were done, we were already home.

The entire process was made more official, of course, because it was completed under feline supervision (Bebop helped). The notary was nonplussed, even letting Bebop sniff his fingers and making skritching noises in the envelope he'd used to bring the papers. I guess if you're in a job that goes to random people's houses, you'd better like (or at least, neither dislike nor be allergic to) dogs and cats and small children and other assorted house-critters.

So, we're done with the latest re-fi. This will reduce our monthly payments by almost a full third. We can either keep paying what we've been paying (knocking down the principal) or pay less each month and save money. I'd prefer the former choice, myself, but I have to get a job to make that work well. In the meantime, at least we can stop wondering why the re-fi seems to be held up somewhere.

Re-fi ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 07 Apr, 22:33 Pacific | «e»