Living in Limbo

These days, Lifelongnewyorker finds herself remembering when she was 10 months pregnant and convinced that the Abandoned One would never abandon her.

He eventually did decamp from the womb, but only after his mother (Lifelongnewyorker) stopped believing it would happen.  She languished, languidly, on a chaise lounge in the warm June days, reading novels and pulling herself up from the chair only to answer the phone. (The Abandoned One predated cell phones).  The phone rang,  every 15 minutes, and merely by saying hello Lifelongnewyorker satisfied the caller’s curiosity.  “Oh, you’re still there,” one of my friends or relatives would say. 

“Yes,” I answered.  At which point we’d exhausted the conversation, and I would haul my enormous body and unyielding child back out to the waiting chair.

Why the memory?  Because Lifelongnewyorker is waiting once again, this time for a closing date, and has begun to feel as if she will never again sleep in her own bed or be reunited with her earthly goods.  Mr. NYer visits them from time to time–they’re in a storage facility just south of town, where he is now on a first-name basis with the manager, Dair.  Today he rescued our toolbox so he could affix the new Alabama license plate (singular, rear plate only) to the back of my Honda.  

The other car will wait, possibly for an eternity, until we ransom the boxes that hold our files and find the title.  Meanwhile, it proudly displays New York plates.  On both ends.

Spring has arrived in Montgomery; at least judging by the forsynthia, the trees, and the daffodils. Fortunately, the temperatures are cooler than normal.  This is good, since all of Lifelongnewyorker’s spring clothes and sandals are with Dair.

Since tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, Lifelongnewyorker thought about baking some Irish soda bread, using the Dynamo’s family recipe, to bring to work.  Alas, the baking pans, and the recipe, are also in Dair’s hands.

The new house is ready.  We are–or were– ready, too.  We chose mirrors for the bathroom, and lights.  We purchased insurance.  We know the model of washer, dryer and refrigerator we intend to buy.  But, fearful of jinxing the deal further, we haven’t ordered them.  

Lifelongnewyorker has entered that fugue state where she no longer believes that anything will ever change.  We will be sleeping on this appallingly bad mattress in this sterile apartment forever.  Music will never play from our stereo.  We will forever wonder what happened on the season finale of Big Love.

The obstacle is the mortgage.  Ever since we put our Staten Island home on the market, every realtor we’ve encountered has muttered darkly about appraisals, and grimly warned us of the huge hurdles lying in our path.  New rules, we were told, were coming in effect after January 1.  Banks needed two appraisals.  From independent sources who had never met each other, the realtor, the banker or the buyer, and whose contact with fellow humans was limited to one interaction per day.  If the appraisal wasn’t solid, the loan wouldn’t go through.  Banks want no risk.

We breathed a sigh of relief when the appraisal for our Staten Island house was accepted and our buyers’ received their mortgage.  Since we were taking the proceeds from that sale and plunking them into the new house as a down-payment, we figured the appraisal was less important since the bank’s risk was no where near the house value.   And, to top it off, I’d checked our credit rating.  You can just call us “super prime.”  Which is what happens after a lifetime of wrapping coins. 

In other words, we’re about as low-risk as borrowers can get.  But the underwriters balked at the appraisal, which not only came in above the selling price, but which thoroughly and exhaustively examined the comps, one of which is the house that shares a wall with ours.  They wanted to know, “Weren’t there more recent comps?”

Well, no, not in this market.  And if it’s this hard for us to get a mortgage, there never will be.  No wonder we’re having a hard time crawling out of the Great Recession.

We’re in daily contact with Steve and Bill and Richard, our mortgage guy, realtor and builder, respectively.  Like us, they have a stake in the closing, too.  We’re told the appraiser got the underwriter’s questions, answered them, and provided more comps.  We suspect the paperwork is in the hands of a faceless corporate bureaucrat whose responsibility ends at checking off the appraisal boxes and has no idea about the down payment, the prime creditworthiness of the borrowers, or just how incredibly cute, and desperate, we are.

Meanwhile, we’re thinking of asking Dair for our own set of keys.


7 Responses

  1. Just took three loaves out of the oven. Sorry I can’t send one through cyber space. Sounds like you could use a little comfort food.

    Remember, the baby eventually arrived. The house will too.

  2. You have my sympathy! By the time we finally got our mortgage and closed on our house in September, we felt borderline-harassed by the bank. Incredibly, I even had to explain to the bank briefly, in writing, a $1k deposit into my checking account. (The suspicious money was the bond we’d received back from the Staten Island swim club we were leaving behind.) We felt the same way, that if we couldn’t qualify, who the heck could? It all worked out in the end, but I was very glad when the banking headaches and closing process were behind us. Good luck!

    • Thanks … and funny that you mention a swim club bond. We turned ours in back in early January and haven’t heard a word. And I bet the paperwork is all in storage …

      • We waited many months before we got that swim club bond back! I think we were coming up on nearly a year in our case.

  3. I guess that means we can’t take a trip down next week then? 🙂
    Hope it works out soon!

  4. You managed to make a another frustrating situation sound amusing.
    What’s that saying, Kill all the bankers? Years ago, I was employed by the PR and marketing department of Bankers Trust, so your mortgage experience does not surprise me in the least.

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