Reader Reports: We Finally Were Able To Refinance! What A Nightmare! And Some Advice…

From a reader:

Dear theFrontSteps,

After TWO YEARS of intensive search and questioning and hunting ….we closed yesterday on our refinancing! We got a $600,000 loan at 4.5%. (no point, no refinancing costs, except for appraisal and recording fees).

By the way, the appraisal came back at $1,200,000, which made us laugh a good time. Having open walls and contractor tools in the house does help take the price down!!! Note: I followed the “uglyhouse” blog advice on everything else, and all the pics (gov requires all bathrooms, kitchen and living room pictures) came out 100% clean and staged.

Some thoughts:

No bank, nobody wanted to hear from us, still because we have only one income.

I contacted several brokers, including one who was contacted/recommended by our private banking. Brokers just don’t make it. The process throug brokers would drive anybody crazy. We recontacted our original loan issuer (the employee at wells fargo) and she refused to refi us.

We finally got our break when the WF branch at NoeValley opened a full time position in Mortgage consulting. That new guy was eager to add files on his desk and made it easy to refi without trouble. They made the decision to accept to refi based on nothing but our history of our current mortgage with them, and from there, it was just paperwork.

They needed 2 years of tax docs (the release is for 3 years). It’s not them, it’s a federal requirement. However, because WF does everything in house, our file was traced from one desk to another, and there was very little risk of leak /abusive use of information. The Noe Valley guy was very nice and helped us feel comfortable with their privacy practices.
Because it’s WF who has extensive in house info on our accounts, they did not bother us too much about the stuff in our tax doc that we consider both confidential and not relevant for the loan (namely the foreign real estate, but also the adoption stuff, etc). They were super cool and requested only a proof of insurance (checking the existence of the foreign property).

It was still a very painful process of administrative work and I would recommend that you help your readers CLEAN their finances before (as long as possible) they consider applying for a mortgage. Things like NOT changing bank, NOT closing or opening or transferring bank accounts, investing in a (real) accountant to file one tax return to make sure there is a pristine year (thus less questions from the bank and less discrepancies) etc.

There are mortgages to get, but only if you want to fight for each one.

It was worth it. Thanks again for your extensive help and support over the years.

Thanks for the update, congratulations, and good luck!

4 thoughts on “Reader Reports: We Finally Were Able To Refinance! What A Nightmare! And Some Advice…”

  1. That is a great rate.

    Re mortgage brokers, I think there’s a lot of variation. I use one who is incredibly knowledgeable and thorough. Too bad you didn’t have a good experience because I think they are most helpful precisely when your credit/loan requirements fall outside the retail bank “box.”

  2. Yes, it continues to be a changing and evolving lending market. I have had recent clients share both terrific and horrific loan application stories. And the refis have run a similar course. Here’s to a stronger 2011.

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