Sorcha v/s The Bank
By Betty Fokker on May 02, 2014
Today’s guest blogger is none other than my friend Sorcha:
Oh, the joys of dealing with banks nowadays! They are boundless and fun. Not!
It was a simple plan. I pay $1000 a month in rent, which doesn't include my utilities, for a place in a decent school district and a fairly safe and quiet neighborhood. I thought my life would be so much easier if my housing costs were less and I didn't have to struggle every month to come up with $1200 - $1300 for housing/utilities. A simple thought with a simple solution. I'll buy a house of my own! This was nearly a year ago. The lease on my house was up in September and I figured, surely, I could find a place before then. Well, the short story is, every house I tried to get fell through. By the time the last one fell through, it was the end of August, school had already started and I thought, there is no way I am uprooting my kids during the school year. So I quit looking seriously through the fall/early winter.
Enter early spring....or everlasting winter. I negotiated with my landlord to lease for less than a year, opting to have my lease end in July, before school started again. Surely, I would be able to find *something* before July. Now, on to the background situation. My divorce was final last year, but my ex, spoiled brat that he is, backed out of buying me out at the last minute, leaving the previous marital residence/mortgage in both our names. The house was to be put on the market and sold within 9 months. This was late August. The month school has already begun and people, if they are inclined to move, have already done so. In a stroke of genius, he decides he wants to list the house...in September. Anyone with any sense knows if you list a house in the off season, unless you aren't in a hurry to sell or brain dead, that house isn't going to move. Fast forward to April. House still hasn't sold, is still in my name, and isn't on the market. I've got less than 3 months to go. In desperation, I ask my parents to co-sign on a loan, they agree, but I still haven't found anything I can afford in an area I'd be willing to live in. To complicate things, I was working a full time job and had my own business on the side, which was beginning to grow...a lot. I worked 16 to 17 hours a day, nearly 7 days a week from January to April. Sanity was in short supply and sleep deprivation abundant the middle of March and I thought, screw this, I'll quit my day job and work my business full time and get a part time job to supplement, like I used to do a two years ago before I had the misfortune to acquire a macular hole in my left eye. That is another story altogether, but it bears some responsibility for the predicament I am now in.
My last day of work was April 11th. The less said about that job, the better. It was more like a prison term. It wasn't a good or pleasant place to work, but it was the first thing I found after I could go back to work that somewhat paid the bills. I still haven't found anything remotely interesting to buy and I began thinking of other options as July approached. And then, I found it. The house. The one big enough for me and my kids, with a nice yard, a nice layout, in a decent area, and decently priced. I contacted the loan officer I was working with last year, expressed my desire for a pre-approval letter for said property, which is now required when making an offer on a house, and the fun began.
Enter a MAJOR hurdle. I quit my job and was working on my own business and the part time job that I had lined up fell through. I knew this was potentially going to be an issue, but never in my wildest dreams did I foresee the implications. Keep in mind, my parents are co-signing. They are ultra secure financially, owning their own home and the only debt they have is their car.
The bank branded me with a scarlet letter "S" for having the audacity to be "self employed". I own a C Corporation. Technically, I am not self employed, I am an employee of a corporation that I happen to also own. According the the IRS, they are not one and the same, they are 2 separate entities. According to the bank, there is no difference. It gets even better. Since I quit my full time job to work on my own business and I haven't relied solely on it for 2 years to support me, they wouldn't count *any* of my income from the business. So, I asked my loan officer, since I only left the job I had for 18 months a couple of weeks ago, if I got another job, would they count my income from that? I was told that because I was "self employed" and didn't have a history of working 2 jobs, they couldn't use that income, either. Talk about crazy! How do they think I pay my bills every month? That the bill fairy comes along and pays them??? If only! To make matters worse, they counted all my debt and my business debt against me, even though my business debt belongs to the business, not me personally AND the house payment for the marital residence (which now has an accepted offer on it and closes at the end of May), even though my ex is responsible for all debt, etc. regarding the house. First, I was told I had to supply the court order showing I had no responsibility for the debt, which I did. Next, I was told that wasn't good enough and my ex needed to supply canceled checks showing payments were made solely by him for the last 12 months. News flash! If something is paid by electronic debit, there aren't any canceled checks. Then I was told, if I wanted the home loan removed from consideration, my ex would need to supply bank statements for the last 12 months showing the electronic payments, in lieu of canceled checks. Needless to say, my ex won't be supplying said statements because, even though I think he's been hit by the stupid stick more times than I can count, even I find that a gross violation of his privacy and an underhanded practice by the bank. I swear, my loan officer was almost crowing with glee when she informed me she doubted my ex would supply his bank statements because he was my ex (not the case, I didn't even ask him). This made me begin questioning her motives for constantly adding more and more requirements for this pre-approval letter. I asked her why we had so many issues this time, when last year, she was extremely helpful. I was told that because of banks' practices in the past of giving people more money than they could afford and so many foreclosures happening because of it, they had to tighten their guidelines to prevent it from happening again. Now, I ask you, how is it hurting *anyone* to reduce my housing expenses by 50%? Keep in mind, I pay $1000 a month in RENT. My house payment, with taxes and insurance, would have been about $500 for this property. Stupidity reigns supreme.....
Anyway, the end result is, I didn't get a pre-approval letter from this bank and I'm looking into other options for financing, like a Credit Union or independent source. I had a low opinion of banks before. I am sad to say, I have an even lower opinion of them now. Trust a bank to twist their misdeeds into something that benefits them at the expense of everyone else.
I know this is very long winded, but it felt great to get it off my chest. Thank you for letting me vent!
Addendum by the Fokker --- The “foreclosure crisis” was actually caused by BANKS fraudulently foreclosing on homes. The Fokkers have our mortgage through USAA Bank – they only one to not play the illegally-foreclose-on-your-house game.