Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The End of the Madness

Things have been crazy around here to put it mildly. I'm naively hopeful that this is the end of an era of madness, but something tells me that I will look back at this time nostalgically as the beginning of an era of chaos. Over the last few months my husband and I found and bought a foreclosed home with a VA loan and financed through Wells Fargo. We quickly discovered that this is the Bermuda Triangle of home purchases, which is why my little blog has taken the back burner for the time being. I know you've all missed the Hannah updates- and it has been absolutely delightful watching her grow and reach age one, but if you're interested in hearing the back story behind our wonderfully terrible decisions it's about to begin.

We scoured the market for a deal and finally found our diamond in the rough "rough in the diamonds." With aspirations as high as the ceilings at Lowes we planned our renovation budget and made our offers. At that point Audrey's due date was a solid four months out and it seemed completely reasonable that we could refresh our beautiful home-to-be and get settled before her arrival. We spent the next months dodging bullets of every size attempting to secure our loan and finally purchase our house.

If you're not familiar with the VA Loan program, it's a fantastic benefit for Veterans to be able to purchase a home with many special caveats. Most notably, you can put no money down without paying for PMI, so you end up saving about $100 each month. There are lots of other great aspects the VA covers in your purchase, but you have to do your research, secure your own documentation, and stay on top of the bank. For example, veterans that receive monthly disability compensation do not have to pay a mortgage funding fee and there is a new energy efficiency loan that can be added into your mortgage to help cover the cost of an updated HVAC or similar item. The best resource for any of this information is the VA itself. There are regional offices that you can contact in order to get details on your options. That being said, the VA does have restrictions on the property condition and it is nearly impossible to purchase a foreclosed home because of this. However, if you're willing to fight with every person involved in your loan, you may be able to set up an escrow account to cover the cost of repairs so that you can do them after you take possession of the property.

Our experience with Wells Fargo has been severely negative. I'm going to forgo the bad-mouthing on this blog and simply say that I don't recommend them for anything banking related. Unfortunately the "convenience" of online banking has made it so that swapping banks would be an utter fiasco if I even tried, so we're stuck. However, in the end (only three weeks past our intended settlement date), we did end up with the paperwork for a mortgage! You don't even get keys at a closing when you buy a foreclosure so it ends up being a very anticlimactic finale to a long, stressful run.

Now we have been homeowners for two weeks and my husband has battled numerous house wars with the help of family and friends. The light at the end of the tunnel is that we have a brand new beauty of a kitchen and I haven't gone into labor yet. Audrey is itching to get out while I desperately try to keep her nestled in the womb for several more weeks. So we're attempting to balance bed rest with care for a one-year-old and all the delights of moving. Never a dull moment in our house, but it still feels good to call it our own.

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