Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Appraisals and stuff

Want to hear a really long, boring, depressing story that still doesn't have a happy ending? No? Well, unfortunately for you, I'm going to share it anyways.

This is the story of our house/loan/renovation/moving-in process. I'm sure y'all remember that a few times now I've mentioned "just one more week til we close." And yet, we somehow STILL haven't closed on our house. I don't even understand how it is possible for so many things to go wrong with one house. Well, not even the house itself so much as the paperwork and loan process surrounding the house.

It all began many many many months ago with the original loan process. We wanted to get a 203k loan, which would allow us to do the needed renovations to our house. We filled out pages and pages of paperwork, faxed over a detailed life story, and an accounting of every penny in our account (which wasn't all that many pennies).  Anyways, we got an appraisal based on the work we planned on doing in the house - and that appraisal was for $105k, well above the amount we were going to be spending, meaning everything was good to go. And then we got the "as is" appraisal (remember those "before" pictures?) and it was about $25k LESS than what we were paying for the house. Although one might think that shouldn't matter as long as the FINAL number is less than the final loan amount -- one would think wrong. They told us we needed to bring them $25k or we couldn't get the loan. And since we obviously don't have $25k just sitting around (hello working in the ministry), we had to scratch that loan process.

Then we went to the investor who owned our house. He owns many of the houses on our street, in fact, and is renovating them and listing them and hasn't sold any yet, but seems confident he will. Anyways, we went to him and asked if he might be willing to finance the renovations (which we would do ourselves) and then we would buy the house from him when it was completed. We felt like it would be a good deal for him because he's getting more for the house as-is than the house is worth, and free labor out of us . . . plus he hasn't sold any of his other 7 houses on the street, and it might look better for him and the market if he has one sold. He agreed, but it took about 8 years to get the contract together to his liking.

Finally we said forget it, thinking that if he was this hard to work with to try and put together a contract, how could we be sure we would get our money and that we would be able to buy the house from him in the end (foreshadowing?) Once we said "see ya," he decided to sign the contract and we were finally able to actually start working on the house.

But don't worry, things didn't go smoothly from there. Because everything was going smoothly, until we tried to get the last $12k we needed (and had agreed upon in the contract) to finish our renovations. And suddenly, the investor decided we might run away with his money and he wasn't going to give it to us up front but rather would reimburse us once we completed everything. Unfortunately, if we had $12k just laying around we wouldn't have needed him in the first place. As a result, we were stalled on our work for weeks because we couldn't order anything or move ahead with anything until we had some money.

*Please also remember that we are doing all this work ourselves. Adam is working on the house from 5am-10pm every single day, and I'm massively ill with pregnancy nausea and throwing up.Clearly, we would be straight-stupid to walk away from that amount of dedication and work for a measly $12k. Not to mention the fact that we had paid $10k in earnest money, which means we would lose far, far more than he would if we ran away. And he's rich and we're not.

Anyways, we FINALLY worked all that out and finished all the work on the house. We got ALL the paper work to the lender (and if anyone has bought a house recently you know I'm not even exaggerating at how much junk you have to fill out and send in these days in order to buy a house). Then we got another appraisal on the house, and it appraised for $90k which was more than what we needed. So closing was scheduled for last Tuesday morning at 10:30am.

Last Monday we were driving down to camp and chatting about the process and feeling a little excited about the fact that almost a year later it was about to be ALL FINISHED. Adam asked if I could even believe that the next morning we were going to be done with it all. I told him "no" and that I'd believe it when I saw it (ok I realize I might have grown slightly pessimistic and negative at this point). Not ten minutes later, when we arrived at camp, Adam checked his email and saw that the lender had decided they needed another appraisal before we could close. Someone was going to come out that day and they needed us to let them in so we could close by the next afternoon. Too bad we were two hours away at camp. Luckily, Adam's dad said he would let the appraiser in. However, the bank was unable to find an appraiser to do it so last minute, and just like that, closing was no longer scheduled for Tuesday morning. OF COURSE IT WASN'T, because why would anything actually work out?

After trying unsuccessfully most of the day to figure out what was going on and what we needed to do next, they told us the one thing we didn't want to hear: WAIT. They would get another appraiser out as soon as they could, but they didn't know when, and they didn't know when we would be able to close because it depended on when the appraiser came out (remember, I'm eight months pregnant at this point and would prefer for our son to HAVE A HOME to go home to when he comes out of my belly).

Finally, they send an appraiser out last week Thursday. He loved the work we have done on the house and assured us that he will get the lender the info by Saturday at the latest, so we should be able to close on Tuesday (yesterday). We talk with the lender on Monday and they still haven't heard anything from the appraiser and it takes at least 48 hours after receiving the appraisal. Which means (surprise surprise) we wont be closing on Tuesday. We decide to head to camp for the day on Tuesday instead, because nothing drowns our sorrows like some good old-fashioned fun with our favorite kiddos.

Last night we leave camp super-late (because Adam was determined to catch an armadillo), and once we get home we see an email from our lender that the appraiser valued our house at (wait for it) $43k. Ok seriously? It's a four bedroom, two bathroom house that has been COMPLETELY renovated and restored with hardwoods throughout, and is four sided brick. Oh and we know of two houses in the neighborhood that have been bought for $115k in the last month or so.

I'm thinking the appraiser might have bought a little something-something from the good fellows on our street corner. Because I don't know how else he could come up with that number, and screw us over so royally while he's at it. Especially since we have two previous appraisals for 90k and 105k . . . So now the lender wont lend us money and we have to dispute the appraisal and try and get it adjusted. Which is all fine and good, except it pushes our closing back yet again, and did I mention that I'm about to have a baby?

I warned you that story was long and there's no happy ending as of yet. I think Adam and I are both feeling slightly (ok majorly) discouraged and uncertain of what in the world the Lord is doing in all this. We feel like we are following Him, and that we sort of took a step of faith right off a cliff and we're still waiting for Him to catch us.

It reminds me of that Mother Teresa quote: I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."

Because the truth is that there have been many, many points along this journey that I've thrown up my hands and said that I was done. That I'd reached my limit, and that this was going to LITERALLY be the death of me. But guess what? I'm still here. We're still working on this. And somehow, somehow, God gave me the grace and strength to handle that which I was sure would be my undoing.

Granted, I still don't get it. And I certainly still don't like it. But I see that I have been and continue to be strengthened through this whole ordeal. Right now, however, I could sure use some prayers that we can somehow buy this house before I LITERALLY pop and have a homeless baby.


  1. Oh Becca, I'm so sorry to hear this. Will definitely be praying for all this to work out and work out QUICKLY!

  2. wow. i had no idea all of this was going on. you guys are definitely being tested for something. i will be praying that this all gets taken care of very very soon.

  3. what a nightmare! praying for your sweet family right now!

  4. Of course I can say that we have been there! Banks aren't wanting to loan anyone anything at this point. The people that are actually qualified for loans and have never missed a payment can't get them. It will all work out, but it is a huge headache. I thought ours was NEVER going to work out. Try to climb up the ladder of people at the bank until you get someone that will get the job done. Btw are you working with bank of America? They are notorious for this garbage.

  5. Becca, we will definitely be praying for you guys! I'm so sorry you're having to jump through so many hoops and can only imagine how frustrated you feel! I love your trust in Lord and can't wait for the post that talks about the way God answers all of our prayers for you guys. :) ...One day at a time! Matthew 6:25-34 (a refreshing perspective/reminder on life- hope it is encouraging to you!)

  6. Well if that's not the crud pickle on the stink sandwich that is the story of the buying of this house.

    Well, snot, Becca.

    I can not imagine how tired and aggravated and frustrated and pregnant you must feel right now.

    I don't have a good bumper sticker saying or any sage advice to offer. All I have is my heartfelt hurt for your sweet family as you deal with this junk. I'll certainly add my prayer to the pile.

  7. goodness gracious girl, that is innnnTENSE. i knew it was a rough and slow process, but wow, that's WAY worse than i realized. praying for you guys!!

  8. Hang in there friend. Jeremiah 29:11

  9. Stumbled on your blog & think you guys are an amazing family. Hope all works out in spite of all of the roadblocks. I feel your pain, as it seems everything my hubby & I do turns out to be a fiasco of mammoth proportions. God sees & knows. Just hard to know that He does and still allows it when you are trying so hard to serve Him with all your heart.

  10. you guys are doing it! good job on being honest about the crap and the hard stuff and the fact that you NEED and WANT a home...
    truly stinky that you are not in your home yet. i love your heart that even though this is SO hard you are still trusting. way to go. don't give up. we are standing with you. he is your rear guard and he goes before you. i have found great comfort in that lately. you are surrounded.
    i cannot wait for the post and pics of your new's going to be amazing. thanks for teaching us all about patience.

  11. Becca, I am sorry that you and Adam are having to go through all of this to get your house! The only saving grace of it all is we know God is in control! Praying for yall.

  12. Becca! I just read this and I want to know who that appraiser is so I can punch him in the stomach! And maybe stomp his foot with my cowboy boots. I'm SO sorry you guys are going through this. You are amazing.


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