Keith the Finance Guy

February 28th, 2007.

Our finance guy was named Keith and he was recommended to us by our realtor. He was a very charming guy and seemed eager to help us out. On top of that, he worked for the company where we had our auto loan. Keith said that since we had already established good credit with CompanyA, he could get us a pretty exceptional rate.

So, we picked out a house and made our offer. It was accepted and we embarked on what I generally refer to as the ‘Paper Trail Hell.’ This is where the mortgage company demands that you track down every single solitary slip of paper you thought you’d never need. This is including, but not limited to: bank statements, tax information, canceled rent checks, legal documents pertaining to child support, copies of old paychecks, 9 billion forms of ID, a list of your favorite movies, a swatch of your hair, the blood of your first born child, and a urine sample. Even if you think you have anticipated the needs of the bank in advance and have everything handy, you are sadly mistaken. My husband and I keep all our financial information in nice, neat little folders ready to be faxed at will. But no matter how much information we send them, a mortgage guy always calls us back and says, “You know that bloody nose you got back in 1989? Any chance you can get me a piece of the tissue you used to wipe your face off?”

We were in the middle of this process with Keith when he called us up late one Friday afternoon to tell us he had quit his job. He apologized for not telling us right away, but he was keeping it a secret because he thought his boss might fuck him out of his vacation pay if he knew. He told us that he would be starting his new job at CompanyB on Monday and if we followed him there, he could probably get us an even better rate.

So we did. And he fucked us.

So what happened after I hung up the phone and told my husband we were homeless? Well, in a sentence, our marriage went to shit.

I had been homeless before, so I wasn’t really frightened by the situation. But with my husband, it was a different story. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been camping and he didn’t relish the idea of spending long nights at the office only to crash in some shitty hotel afterwards because we didn’t want to deplete our savings too much. No cable TV? No Internet access? No video games? No space to do his own thing and no refrigerator to chill a 6 pack of beer? Yeah. He wasn’t too happy.

The worst part of all was the mess was entirely my fault. I trusted too much and researched too little and the end result was disaster. Real estate has always been ‘my thing’ and while I felt pretty confident in my ability to pick out a profitable piece of property, I grossly underestimated the difficulty in actually obtaining it. Because of my short sightedness, we were both out of the street.

We spent a couple of days alternating between stony silence and out and out warfare.

Then, I happened across some good advice and formulated a plan. I called up CompanyA and asked to speak to Keith’s old supervisor. I explained the situation to him and asked him if old deal was still on the table. This time, I left out the part where we were homeless and desperate.

Turns out that that Keith’s supervisor hated him and was more than willing to pull some strings if it meant screwing him over. He pushed the paperwork through as quick as possible and we were only out a place to live for a couple of weeks.

All in all, the mistake ended up costing us $17,000. I guess that doesn’t sound like much until you factor in 6% interest over 30 years. Then it’s closer to a $36,000 mistake. Still not terrible, but not something you want to make a habit of if you’re getting into the real estate business.

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