Category

not ruling at life

Fat Tuesday

By conversations, food, hazards to my well-being, not ruling at life One Comment

J: Do you want to heat up dinner or what?

L: Well, I’m not really hungry right now.

J: Why not?

L: Probably because I ate half that bag of Corn Puffs at my desk this afternoon.

J: Well, what the hell did you do that for?

L: Pretty much because I’m a failure at life.

J: No, you’re not a failure at life. But you are a failure at snacking.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: full
And I’m singin’ along to: Because I Got High – Afroman

LBPS Strikes a New Low

By condo, conversations, drama, financial wisdom, hazards to my well-being, mortgage, not ruling at life, top notch communication blunders, you might learn something 8 Comments

Today, my mortgage company (IBM LBPS) really blew themselves out of the water. As you may know, a few months ago, I was working with them to try and negotiate a short refinance. To make a long story short, that was an epic failure. After four months of LBPS giving me the run-around and other lenders telling me they could approve me but not give me the proper documentation to show it, I’ve pretty much given up hope on the short refinance. I think what sealed the deal was this chat conversation that I had with Quicken Loans (LBPS’ recommended refinance experts!) last week:

Thank you for inquiring with Quicken Loans, we’re America’s #1 online lender and do business in all 50 states! Please hold while we connect you with the best suited Mortgage Expert.
You have been connected to James Springer.
James S.: Hello Lisa. How can I help you today?
Lisa: Hi, James. I have a current mortgage with IBM LBPS, and they recommended me to Quicken Loans. I am trying to work out a refinance with an FHA Short Refinance loan — do you have any loan officers that specialize in these short refis?
James S.: What do you mean by ‘short’ refinance?
Lisa: Have you ever heard of this program? https://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-news/mortgage-program-underwater-fha-short-refinance
James S.: Ok. I need your full name, address, date of birth and social security number.
Lisa: I’m not giving you my social security number through a chat window.

Really? Really.

So, on to my next few options. I did some research on more of Fannie Mae’s options for upside-down borrowers, and I actually found a pretty attraction program called Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA). HAFA is an extension of the Making Home Affordable options (HAMP and HARP), neither of which will work for my co-borrower and I. HAMP is the Home Affordable Modification Program, which modifies eligible borrowers’ loans to make monthly payments more affordable. HARP is the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which enables eligible borrowers to refinance up to 125 percent of their property’s current value at a lower interest rate. Unfortunately, borrowers with private mortgage insurance (PMI) on their loans only qualify to refinance 95 percent of their home’s value under HARP.

HAFA offers three additional options – a short sale, a deed-in-lieu or a deed-for-lease. All three of these options are potential contenders because all three will get the loan out of my co-borrower’s name. Although, they’ll all get the loan out of my name, too, so it looks like I may be moving soon. (Closer to the beach, of course.)

From what I can tell, the HAFA options are a little more borrower-friendly than their traditional counterparts. Normally, short sales can be tricky and involve lots of delays and last-minute negotiating once an offer is made on the property. For instance, a lender won’t even really review/approve a traditional short sale until the property is listed and the seller receives an offer. In the meantime, the lender can begin foreclosure proceedings if the homeowner isn’t staying current with their payments. Plus, in states like Virginia, the lender may pursue a deficiency judgment for the difference between what is owed on the home and what the home sells for. Same thing with a foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu. That makes these options much less attractive in my state than they may be in other states.

HAFA takes a little more time up front, but the end result seems a little more defined. In order to qualify, the borrower must be reviewed and either approved or denied for HAMP. That can take 30 to 45 days, but once approval or denial is granted, the borrower can request to go the HAFA route for a short sale, deed-in-lieu or deed-for lease. It sounds like lenders will have a borrower at least list the home and try to sell it before allowing a deed-in-lieu, but if the homeowner wants to stay in the home, they’ll offer a deed-for lease. A deed-for-lease means that the borrower signs over the deed to the lender and then rents the property for the going market rate from the lender for a set amount of time. That sounds kind of interesting, huh?

The biggest difference I can see (and keep in mind, I’m not an expert on these things — this is just my full-time hobby) between traditional short sale/deed-in-lieu transactions and HAFA options is that a lot of the terms seem to be negotiated up front for HAFA. Like there’s no deficiency judgments — the lender can’t pursue any money or promissory notes after the closing. Also, the probability of the sale actually closing is much higher, and the seller even leaves the transaction with up to $3,000 in relocation assistance at the end of the deal. This Bank of America PDF about the program actually has a really comprehensive comparison chart on page 9 if you want to check out the differences side by side.

So, you can imagine my astonishment when I called LBPS over the weekend and inquired (of one of their short sale specialists) what the difference was between HAFA and a traditional short sale, and she had the audacity to tell me, “Nothing, really.” Oh, really? Okay.

You can also imagine how appalled I was when I called LBPS twice today and was told, “We don’t do HAFA short sales here.”

“You don’t?”

“No, ma’am. I just asked my supervisor. We don’t do those.”

“Well, that’s interesting. Do you have Internet access?”

“Yup.”

“Okay, why don’t you pull up this website: https://www.efanniemae.com/sf/guides/ssg/annltrs/pdf/2010/svc1007.pdf. Do you know what this is? This is a letter from Fannie Mae to every single one of their servicers. It says you were required to implement this program by August 1, 2010.”

“Oh.”

“I dare you to tell me again that you don’t do these. Now transfer me to someone who knows what the f— is going on in the freaking mortgage industry these days.”

So, yeah. Story of my life.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: frustrated
And I’m singin’ along to: Be My Escape – Relient K

NamASSte

By boys, extreme sports, hazards to my well-being, not ruling at life 4 Comments

Seeing as that I have a warped perception of reality, and I’m now paranoid that “everyone” in the whole world thinks I’m passionate about the fact that “true leaders” should make “unpopular decisions” to “protect the public’s safety,” I decided to go to hot yoga tonight. (Actually, I don’t care about any of that stuff — I’m more worried that I won’t be able to find a new roommate by February 1.)

Anyway, hot yoga is super-relaxing in a very sweaty, dizzying, you-can’t-summon-the-strength-to-bother-thinking-about-your-problems kind of way. Plus, they’re always playing such worldly music in there — it’s kind of a cultural experience.

So, yeah. I went to hot yoga because I needed to decompress after a long week of playing catch-up and also slipping and nearly falling on my face in Wal-Mart today (for no reason). The class was really crowded, so my friend T and I ended up in the back corner, right up against the wall, which I thought was a great spot… Until ass-crack dude sat down in front of me.

WTF? How do you roll into yoga in white board shorts? This dude is just sitting on his yoga mat, three feet in front of our faces, with the worst plumber’s crack I have ever seen. I seriously thought I wasn’t going to be able to stop laughing. I had to literally close my eyes every time I was supposed to look forward, so that I wasn’t staring straight into this dude’s butt.

The best part? He was wearing a U.S. Navy t-shirt. Way to represent the military, dude. You are too cool.

To top it off, he was there with his girlfriend, whose ass crack also started showing halfway through the class. OMG ASS CRACKS. It was ridiculous. And pretty gross.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: silly
And I’m singin’ along to:: Rain King – Counting Crows

Not So Much

By condo, conversations, e-mails, hazards to my well-being, mortgage, not ruling at life, press, top notch communication blunders No Comments

So, it turns out that being quoted in the Wall Street Journal isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. I think I’m a little too confrontational to read the comments on articles like that. And let’s face it — my quote was taken a little out of context and had nothing to do with the story itself. I could really care less whether anyone thinks America is a nation of wusses or whether I’m a wuss or whatever. I just had a fleeting thought that a sarcastic response to Ed Rendell’s comments would make a funny blog post. It’s not exactly a subject I’m passionate about or anything, you know?

Either way, earlier this morning I was enjoying some humorous banter with the overly opinionated readers that comment on those types of articles, but I got kind of tired of being insulted, so I gave up. Someone actually sent me a private message through my account on the WSJ community (which I just set up this morning in order to participate in what I thought would be intelligent conversation in the comments), and told me that he thought I was a spoiled brat, a daddy’s girl, over-indulged, not funny, really dumb, and clearly not successful in life because I didn’t mention having a husband or children. WTF? Where do these people even come from?

I guess if personally attacking me on the WSJ website makes your day that much better, then have at it. I usually prefer to brighten people’s days by writing funny blog posts and making them laugh, but whatever floats your boat.

In the meantime, don’t even get me started on how stupid this is. This is what I deal with on a daily basis, as I’m still trying to refinance my condo. This is a chat conversation with a “mortgage expert” on the Quicken Loans website. (I chose the chat conversation because I was trying to figure out the correct number to call.)

Thank you for inquiring with Quicken Loans, we’re America’s #1 online lender and do business in all 50 states! Please hold while we connect you with the best suited Mortgage Expert.
You have been connected to James Springer.
James Springer: Hello Lisa. How can I help you today?
Lisa: Hi, James. I have a current mortgage with IBM LBPS, and they recommended me to Quicken Loans. I am trying to work out a refinance with an FHA Short Refinance loan — do you have any loan officers that specialize in these short refis?
James Springer: What do you mean by ‘short’ refinance?
Lisa: Have you ever heard of this program? https://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-news/mortgage-program-underwater-fha-short-refinance
James Springer: Ok. I need your full name, address, date of birth and social security number.
Lisa: I’m not giving you my social security number through a chat window.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: disappointed
And I’m singin’ along to: Theme from A Summer Place – The Lettermen

Good Cook, Bad at Cooking

By blogs, food, not ruling at life 2 Comments

baking

Many of my favorite lifestyle bloggers post about food, like Emily over at cupcakes and cashmere, who is kind of a rockstar in the kitchen. She shares recipes and beautiful photos of her concoctions displayed in some of the cutest measuring cups and dishes I’ve ever seen. When I started my other blog, The Coastal Chicster, I was hoping to share things like fashion and beauty tips, decorating ideas, restaurant reviews, beachy travel stories, and of course, recipes — complete with my own photos.

There are several reasons why I have two blogs, and this is just one of them — I am actually a clumsy mess in the kitchen, and I don’t feel bad about it. Every time I’ve shared a recipe on The Coastal Chicster, I’ve tried desperately to take photos of my food, but I’m usually spilling enough flour all over the place without having to worry about knocking over my wine glass trying to reach for the camera with my buttery fingers, so all I’ve got to show for my efforts is a folder full of pictures of lumpy-looking eclairs, poorly lit bowls of batter, and a pot full of stir-fried vegetables that vaguely resembles a sort of medieval stew. Yum, right?

Then I would start to feel bad, like I had failed at cooking because I didn’t get any good photos for my blog. Whatever. That’s dumb.

Don’t get me wrong. All of my food tastes amazing, but the kitchen is small, the lighting is bad, and my boyfriend’s square, navy blue bowls don’t do much to compliment the colors of what I cook. Neither do his orange measuring cups or the mismatched random bowls I used to mix things up, so I’ve pretty much given up on the food photography.

I made my grandmother’s crumb cake for dessert tonight, and I wasn’t even going to bother with the camera until I turned around and saw my picture-perfect mess on the counter. Picture-perfect for this blog. This is pretty representative of what happens every time I bake something. Every time. We’re talking flour in my hair, butter on the walls, sugar on the floor — you name it, I’ve spilled it.

Despite that, I really do enjoy cooking and baking. J bought me a cute apron for my birthday this year, so that’s really helped (kind of). Sometimes I really screw up — like the day I used four sticks of butter instead of four tablespoons. Or the time I spent hours baking and decorating a chocolate peppermint cake and then dropped the cake carrier on my way out the door, which was the same day I successfully made whipped cream from scratch with a plastic fork at work, I’ll have you know (to cover up the messed up icing, of course).

I guess you could say that I’m a pretty good cook, but I’m kind of awful at the act of cooking. I’d rather that than the other way around though — graceful in the kitchen making horrible food? Nah.

Anyway, I think I have to go clean up now.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: accomplished
And I’m singin’ along to: Na Na Na – My Chemical Romance