(House-Buying Backlog) A Mortgage Verdict!

November 22, 2012 8:02pm
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(This post was originally written on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 – see the intro post for more details…)

So we’re NOT going with the credit union.

And it’s kinda complicated…  😛

The good news is that our other guy was able to offer us an FHA 30-year fixed loan at a slightly higher interest rate (3.750% vs. 3.625%), with only 3.5% down, and comparatively better closing costs than what the credit union was offering us.

This became another thorn in our side for the credit union because after toiling over their Good Faith Estimate to compare fees, I eventually noticed that they had a good $750 in fees that were earmarked as “not included in closing costs” … so we still had to pay them, but they were conveniently getting omitted from our calculations when we were trying to make comparisons…

Anyways, the reason why I say that it’s complicated is that technically we’re looking at a slightly higher minimum payment with these other guys than we were with the credit union, and the interest rate, too, as noted above. Sure, closing costs are a little lower, but those are a one-time thing. Plus, the credit union’s PMI was estimated as a little bit cheaper.

So why’d we ultimately decide to go with the other guy anyways???

Honestly, a lot of it was kind of just a feeling where we felt like we were going to be more comfortable with the smaller operation than with a bigger credit union. And that’s admittedly a little weird because we were actually thinking about also moving all of our other accounts over to them to finally consolidate everything (we never did that when we got married, so we both have separate checking accounts still), but just one thing after another kept piling up against them…

  • Misleading Promotional Efforts – the ARM 5/5 was pitched as their new flagship program that would be “perfect” for new home-buyers like us, but only those with impeccable credit and a considerable down payment will ever actually qualify
  • Empty Incentives – they showed us an offer where we’d get $250 off closing costs if we moved a bunch of business to them, but were later told that we didn’t qualify because we would’ve had to do it before we even submitted our application for the loan, whereas we wanted to make sure we actually were going to use them before moving the rest of our financial lives to follow suit!
  • Availability – pretty simple … they’re open 8am – 6pm Monday – Friday, and we never got a callback Monday morning when we left a message Saturday that we needed help in a hurry; the other guy not only helped us out that same weekend, but he also spent another two hours talking on the phone with me at 10:30pm tonight answering all of my questions and giving his advice
  • Call Center Mentality – so the credit union did ok with this at first, but as the process dragged on for days, it started to break up because whenever I’d call in to their 800#, the guy I needed was always on another call … I think I worked with 3 different agents before we finally got the offers that I had mentioned earlier; for Mortgage Broker #2, I’ve got direct e-mail and cell numbers for him specifically and I’ve never had to talk to anyone else
  • One More Thing… – and lastly, the credit union has thrown us off course so many other times … who’s to say that they won’t do it again???

I think that last one was icing on the cake just because we do have a couple of blemishes on our collective credit history that we’re trying to overcome and in the end, other guy ended up being a lot more reassuring that he’d work with us to make sure we got approved, whereas we’ve been getting a lot of “the underwriter still has to approve…” and “I’m not sure why the computer won’t approve…”-type comments from the credit union … we’re turning our summer upside-down to try and make this happen, and we just need as many good people in our corner as we can possibly find! And I do appreciate that our guy has taken so much of his time to explain the subtle nuances of the mortgage system with us, even earlier during a time when he was pretty sure that the loan was going to end up with the credit union instead.

I suppose that ended up being a pretty good gamble on his part after all – be as honest and helpful as you can, and then reap the benefits when the bigger guy can’t follow through on what his team promised … it’s a business strategy that I can respect, and it really makes me feel better about paying a little bit more each month to instead work with somebody who I can honestly feel like he’s actually looking out for us when we’re getting ready to make the biggest purchase in our lives (so far)…

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