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On Pins and Needles

September 02, 2005 | Category: This Old House

We are related to a bank. You know, on my husband's side - his sister's brother-in-law's cousin, 3 times removed? The one who always wears green awning and it does NOTHING to hide her hips? No? Oh, OK.

But, actually, through his new job. You know? And strange as this may sound, yes, we get an employee discount.

And we need it.

We refinanced around two years ago, in the Dark Times. I was slipping into panic, and left the nest of our bank and went through a broker. And all I have to say is - Be Ye Not So Stupid.

While we did maintain a 20% equity position, we paid WAY WAY WAY more than we should have in closing costs and percentage. Yes, thousands more. And our mortgage, which has been sold on average of every 6 months since, has become a source of shame to us. A reminder that we did it wrong.

So once CD got to his work anniversary, and eligible for this benefit - we pounced.

We have so many 'wants' - pay off the last of the debt, pull enough money out to rehab the kitchen and replace the roof, and lower the interest rate, and maintain at least a 30% equity position on the house which has, miraculously, continued to grow in value despite our broken lawnmower.

I want, so bad, for the last of the Dark Times to be gone, you know? This current mortgage, this Bad Deal, makes me nuts every month.

So I spent a lot of time repeating all this to CD, eleventybillion times, in a squeaky little high-strung voice. How he had to negotiate in whatever leeway they gave him. How he had to stand firm, and get in there and fight! fight! fight! for every possibly quarter-point and fee.

So off CD went to work, the precious paperwork under his arm, and walked it over to the guy who is in charge of employee mortgages. According to his faithful account, this is how the fiercely negotiated conversation went:

CD (handing over the paperwork): Dude.

Loan Guy
(Looking the forms over and nodding): Dude.

CD (noting our current interest rate): Dude.

Loan Guy (pointing at the currently available interest rate): Dude.

CD (smiling, extending his hand): DUDE.

Loan Guy (shaking his hand): Duuuuude.

Well, we got a call yesterday. The Loan Guy says it looks good. We might get what we wanted.

The interest rate he's talking is about quarter-point higher than our fantasy interest rate (everyone has fantasy interest rates, right?) and the amount of money that will be available for rehab is a little less than we'd thought - mostly because we made a dufus error in calculating which I am too embarrassed to admit to.

We will probably find out today if the go is for-real.

And then it looks like Paris. And after that, Colorado. And may I just say that I am surprised at the poor showing of the Minnesotans? I mean, for all that talk - about the Lakes! the Diversity! Well, I'll keep voting open until Tuesday and see what happens....

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If you are planning a trip to Portland/Seattle, I can point you in the direction of some new, Craftsman-style developments in either city, or the surrounding areas. The Pacific Northwest has lots of climatic variation (even west of the Cascades). There are some parts that have much more sun than others, depending on how large a community you want.

Posted by: Kimberly on September 7, 2005 11:20 AM

Does anyone know a good new home builder in the Twin Cities? Or the best school districts?

Posted by: Elizabeth on September 2, 2005 01:30 PM

Off to look up Centex!

I NEVER would have thought I would say this, since my apartment in Roscoe Village was a traditional wood-floored flat in a brownstone that I adored and this house is a 100-year old stucco bungalow that I also love (although, probably better from afar) with things like art glass and orginal maple floors and oak crown molding BUT....

I really think I want a new house. Not plain white walls, mind you (I HATE new developments with dying sod, baby trees, where all the houses are the same and you have to count down the street to figure out which one is yours!) - something with character and quality.

But, um, yeah. New. New. New...


I am so ashamed.

Our price range is incredibly flexible - 250 to 550K. We figure, when we find the right place, we'll know.

Posted by: Elizabeth on September 2, 2005 01:00 PM

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. Getting your finances in order feels soooo good.

I may have been wrong about the lack of diversity in Colorado. On my way to the grocery store this morning, I saw several non-white people. And, once I got to the grocery store, I noticed that they have an Asian section in the produce department. Unless making your own eggrolls from scratch is a Colorado tradition, I'd say they probably have a sizable Asian population around here.

Also, I saw a sign yesterday for a new Centex community called Tuscany Trails in Westminster, which is on the NW side of Denver. I don't know anything about floorplans or pricing, but you might want to give them a call. Centex is a great builder, and you can get pre-construction pricing when you buy in phase 1 development. Depending on the popularity of the community and size of your home, your home can appreciate by $5k a month.

In my opinion, the west side of the city is the best place to be, because you have that fantabulous view of the mountains.

I think you'll like the new construction around here. There's a lot of Craftsman-style cottages, which seems like what you're looking for.

Posted by: notdonnareed on September 2, 2005 12:01 PM

You'll only let me vote once - and 1/2 the state is on vacation for Labor Day Weekend already. So, in the absence of further voting privleges I'll mention The Lakes! The Diversity! The Parks! The Schools! The Minnesota Nice! The Ikea! The Mall of America! The Summit Avenue Of Dreams! The Lakes!

And - for just a leetle peek at one new community:


Posted by: cursingmama on September 2, 2005 11:02 AM

Keeping my fingers crossed for you. Best of luck!

Posted by: Lucinda on September 2, 2005 10:28 AM


I voted for Minn.

Posted by: RP on September 2, 2005 08:28 AM