Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Buying a Short Sale - Our Story

Go grab a cup of coffee... this is going to be a long one...sorry


Buying a home is scary enough for anyone, buying a short-sale is nothing short of a nightmare for your nerves, even if you are a Realtor and know what to expect! So needless to say, buying this home and moving into a completely different neighborhood had taken it's toll stress-wise. It's a never ending roller-coaster ride from beginning to end with our sanity hanging on by a mere thread.

Let me start off by saying that this is not the first home that we have owned. We too got suckered into purchasing a home, in Florida no less, pre-2006 and also got hurt by the housing bubble that followed shortly thereafter. We were one of the lucky ones that were able to deed the property back to the bank and calmly wait out the hit our credit took until the banks would even consider us again.

Around 3 years ago I had been helping out some good friends of ours with their own house hunt and, after speaking with the lender they chose, I realized that buying a home was in our reach again! We were definitely worried about taking such a huge risk again but if you ever read any of my past posts you know that we were practically living on top of each other in our Queens apartment.

After many late night talks and weighing the pros and cons we cautiously decided that it would be worth another attempt to become homeowners. We vowed not to take such a huge risk, and fall into the housing trap again. This time we were smarter and really made sure to do our homework.

Here is what we did:

  1. Kept our searches below the pre-approved amount the lender had given us.
  2. Reduced our monthly debt using Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover
  3. Started putting as much money into savings that we could to cover the closing costs (not part of Dave Ramsey's plan, but it still kinda worked)
  4. Made a list of needs, wants and likes
  5. Started visiting neighborhoods in Long Island that we might want to live in (we couldn't afford Queens)
  6. Wrote EVERYTHING down in a journal. Every detail, thoughts, conversations with anyone that had to do with the home buying process.

The one journal that kept me sane and focused.
Everyone knows that NYC and Long Island home prices are very high so our only option was to buy a fixer upper and/or a short sale. My husband was skeptical, he would have preferred move-in ready, didn't want to move out to Long Island and hated the thought of commuting longer than the 10 minutes it was taking him to get to work at that time. But, knowing how much having our own home meant to me, finally gave in and at least made an attempt to see houses outside of his preferred area.

After touring a few houses that in our opinion should have been condemned or that were bizarre at best, we found one that we actually liked. No, it wasn't the one we ultimately purchased, we lost that first house to a bidding war. The house we did buy was not even on our radar... it had been sitting vacant, as a short sale, for close to a year! Who knew what could have been wrong with it!

After ignoring this house for weeks, I finally gave in and went to see it when the broker was holding an open house with my niece. The minute I walked through the door, I could imagine friends and family hanging out, all the celebrations we could have and most importantly, I could see the house's potential. I raced back to Queens, picked up my husband and dragged him to go see the house. He unfortunately didn't have the same vision...

After talking at length, we decided that the house was out of our range, but not by much and decided to pass on it. UNTIL... the very next day I got the notification that the broker lowered the price, we looked at each other and after 10 intense minutes decided to call the broker at 9am and put in the offer...it was accepted that night! A week later we had the home inspection, 28 days after we put in the offer we were under contract!!! And the rest was history... yeah right.

Actual journal entry
It took 8 long, agonizing months to get to closing. My side was ready to close within 2 months, it was the short sale bank that controlled it, that screwed up week after week. It took 2 months just to get the short sale bank to acknowledge that they received the contract and that they were reviewing it, Then radio silence from them until May 2016. No matter how much the broker threatened that she was going to report them, they just gave excuse after ridiculous excuse such as they misplaced the file, items that were sent multiple times were missing, etc., etc., etc. After finding horrible reviews about the short sale bank, we were about to give up and walk away.

This journal entry says it all
Fast forward to May 18th - my lender texted me that the bank was ready to close and that we had to hurry up and make it quick. But by this time all of our financial info was out of date with the lender and the underwriter wanted us to resubmit all documents and a few extra ones. Talk about ratcheting up the stress to level 100! We had to pull all this information together, pack, schedule the move, pray that our landlord would let us out of the newly signed lease that he demanded we sign while we waited for the bank to approve the short sale and go sign the transfer for our daughter's new school all within 2 weeks until the June 1st closing. What made it worse is that we had to give our landlord 30 days notice to move so with only 2 weeks that meant that we had to pay June's rent as well and move out June 30th. Sounds simple, but it wasn't.

Closing day itself was stressful with having to go back and forth between Queens and Long Island for the final walk-through, bank checks, the actual closing and then back to the house to change the locks. We left our apartment at 8am and didn't return to it until well after 11pm that night. Whew...if you think that it's over I have future posts coming to disprove this thought! I promise I will do my best to make them much, much shorter!

Thanks for hanging in there!
Thanks for stopping by and we hope you come back real soon! ♥XO (Love, Hugs & Kisses)

L. 

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