Mortgages Are For Masochists

Dogpoet/Michael McAllister MFA Columbia Graduation Imperial Margarine GownYou ever get that whiny voice in the back of your head that says, “Boy, it sure would be nice if life only gave me one, maybe two things tops to deal with at a time?” Apparently life doesn’t work that way!

I know. I’m still processing this, too.


Three jobs and an arson are nothing compared to the mortgage approval process. If you recently took time off to go to grad school, work on a book, or engage in nontraditional forms of employment, prepare yourself for weeks and maybe months of financial proctology.

Dig out your bank, credit card, IRA, and 401k statements (yes, Dad, I really have a 401k). Scan and email your tax returns. Check your credit score and try not to give in to despair. Write three-page emails trying to explain the six or seven w-2 and 1099 forms from 2010.  Keep your cool when they say, “Um, that was really confusing.”

Stay near the phone and field each day’s new request. For example, “Can you give us the contact info for the two years of employment before you had this really weird urge for an Ivy League education? Actually,  make that three.”

Also: “Can you get us a copy of your degree from Columbia?”

“How humiliating,” Joe said when I told him.

“Someday,” I said, “I will look back on all of this and not throw up.”

“Even better,” he said. “You finally got to put that MFA to use.”

7 thoughts on “Mortgages Are For Masochists

  1. … and then finally, when the pain and frustration of getting a mortgage is behind you and you can just enjoy the house, Joe will decide to refinance… you heard it here first.

  2. Hopefully interest rates won’t drop below 4% and we’ll never have to do it again. I can’t believe I just said that, but there you go.

  3. Now, is the absolute best time to borrow mortgage money, 10 year T-bills are already over 2%. Congrats and good luck! (no, I don’t work in the mortgage/finance industry).

  4. Interest rates are _around_ 4% now (I just got approval for a refinance today, after three months of paperwork, yay!), but several people who understand how these things work have told me that they expect rates to go up soon and stay there for a while, so be happy.

    My funny mortgage story: In May of 2008, I moved to San Francisco, staying at a temporary apartment while applying for a mortgage for a permanent condo ($$$) with a closing date in September. I sent change-of-address forms to everyone. I bought a $40 pair of blue jeans at Macy’s and charged it to my Macy’s card. Macy’s did not process my change-of-address form (ugh), so they sent the bill to my old address. The Post Office returned it, rather than forwarding it (ugh). Macy’s ignores the returned bill. A month passed. Macy’s sent another bill to my old address (ugh). The Post Office returned that one, too (ugh). Macy’s then declared that I was 60 days late in paying my bill. Ding! This went onto my credit report. Some computer noticed this. The mortgage lender, in a panic, then sent me a letter saying WTF, your mortgage application is now in jeopardy. I called Macy’s and say WTF. They refund the finance charge. I called the mortgage lender and explained. Well, OK, they say. I closed. The very next day, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and, well, you know of 2008. My mortgage lender was B of A.

    P.S. Afterwards, I cancelled my Macy’s credit card. Ding! This also went on my credit report.
    P.P.S. As I said, I just re-financed. But my credit report still shows damage from the blue jeans that jeopardized a $$$ mortgage.

  5. I just want to get ours paid off before we’re old, so that’s not hanging over our heads. Of course, that will still be a while.

    And even then, we’ll just need a new roof or decide it’s time to remodel the whole place or who knows what. There’s always something. But for all that… there’s no place like home! :-)

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