I’m supposed to be refinancing my mortgage right now, but I decided to write this instead. I was supposed to be refinancing my mortgage yesterday and the day before that, too, but I decided to clean our driveway expansion joints with a toothbrush and spit-shine all of our corn on the cob forks instead.
I guess some might say I’m avoiding it, but our light switch cover screws slots were in desperate need of alignment. And those drawer pull knobs aren’t going to just tighten themselves.
OK, fine, I’ve been avoiding it. I even went jogging once when I couldn’t find anything else to do. That’s how much I’m avoiding it. Sadly, after the jogging incident, I had to spend three days motionless on the couch to let my hamstrings recover, so I couldn’t work on the refi then, either.
Financially, avoiding a refi doesn’t make any sense. Interest rates are around 3.5% right now. (At least, they were a few months ago when it was suggested that I refinance.) Based on the size of our mortgage, dropping down from our current 4.25% will save us approximately three million dollars a month. Or something like that. I forget exactly what the guy said, but I know it was a lot.
Why would I be so financially inept? Why would I choose to inspect and lube the garage door guide cables instead of refinancing?
Simple. I have refinanced before. I know what’s going to happen, and I can’t bring myself to get started on the paperwork.
The Patriot Act is, quite simply, a bitch.
Right after 9/11 the CIA learned that terrorists are funding jihad all over the world by, apparently, refinancing the suburban home mortgages of middle-aged natural-born American citizens who have nine to five jobs and own minivans and spend all their Saturdays watching their children play sports. So, the process has become rigorous to say the least.
The list of documents just to get started is almost too much. Two months of paystubs, two years of W2’s, three years of employment history, two years of federal tax returns, two months of bank statements, most recent retirement savings statements, most recent mortgage and homeowners insurance statement. I mean, I’m pretty sure all of those things are in this house somewhere, but it’s going to take me another month to find them all. Plus, that’s only half the list.
And once you have actually found all the paperwork, you need to re-learn how to use your printer’s scanner function. By the time you get that figured out, everything you have ready to scan is out of date because you’re into another month now. That doesn’t even matter though, because the entire refi process on their end takes two months, so you will have to re-scan and email everything two more times anyway.
“Sorry about asking for this again. The lender is a bit squirrelly.”
Get used to hearing that on the phone if you decide to bite the bullet and refi. The process is so crazy that seemingly every single deposit that has ever been made into your bank account for any reason needs to be looked at with the banker’s version of a proctologist’s scope.
During my last refi, on the day the new loan was supposed to close, after two months of scanning and emailing slightly updated version of the same documents, the guy called me asking about “one more deposit in question.”
I had to drop what I was doing and physically drive to the bank and physically go inside and talk to a physical person. Can you imagine? They had to physically look up a check image for me that dated so far back I think they had it on microfiche.
“This is definitely the last one,” he said that day, which turned out to be the day before I had to do the same thing again for another deposit that was THE EXACT SAME AMOUNT FROM THE EXACT SAME PLACE.
So for me, refinancing is like needing to go to the dentist to fix a tooth that I’ll lose if I don’t go. I can feel the tooth falling out of my mouth, but I’m still sitting at home thinking, “Do I really need that tooth that bad?”
Actually, it’s more like that same dentist analogy, except the dentist is going to fix my tooth for free and give me three thousand dollars after he’s done, and another five hundred dollars a month for the next thirty years, but I’m still thinking, “Naw, it’s just gonna be too much of a pain. I’ll just lose the tooth and watch the baseball game instead.”
Now, deep down, as a patriotic American, I know that if I don’t refinance then the terrorists have won, so I can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen. I will refinance soon.
In fact, I’ll get started on the paperwork today.
Right after I go put a new coat of varnish on those croquet mallets.
Summer is right around the corner, you know.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2015 Marc Schmatjen
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