Saturday, January 15, 2011

Housing Saga - Part Fourteen

It's been awhile since we covered my housing saga in-depth, so I thought you might enjoy another update. I'll start from the beginning, for any of you that have lost track of the previous thirteen parts...

Part 1
To start at the beginning.... five years ago, my husband and I bought this house, located in a subdivision in O'Fallon, Missouri.
At the time, we did not have any pets. At the time, I didn't want any pets. So the clause in the subdivision bylaws that limited each household to only two pets did not particularly concern me. In fact I never even really noticed it. So a few years later, when I started fostering, I was surprised to find out that I was breaking the subdivision rules by having more than two pets in the home. One neighbor complained, and suddenly we began receiving letters advising us of our legal requirement to obey the subdivision bylaws. I'll skip the ensuing back-and-forth that resulted, but it eventually came down to the fact that we either had to get down to two animals or would be facing legal action. This led to me announcing to my husband that whether he liked it or not, I was not giving up fostering, and we should move immediately. Yes, I really said that. He was not happy, and made his own announcement that he loved our house and didn't like me fostering, so we were NOT moving and I should deal with it. This happened in June 2010.

Part 2
My husband and I soon reached a rather strange compromise that works for both of us. We would buy another house, I would move into a really cheap house, he would stay at our current house, and in a year or two when the housing market improved, we would sell the home in O'Fallon and possibly use the house I bought as rental property, and move to yet a different home together. So in June I signed up with a wonderful Realtor and started looking for just the right home. I tried not to be picky, because I was in a hurry to move. I didn't care what the house looked like or what shape it was in or how many bedrooms or bathrooms it had. My requirements were pretty simple, or so I thought. I wanted a house that wasn't in city limits or in a subdivision that had any pet restrictions. Mobile homes were fine, especially since they were the most common type of home in the areas where I was looking, and in my price range. So I searched and searched, and quickly found my new home.
At least I thought I had. I placed a contract on the home at the beginning of July. I was pre-approved for the loan and the contract was quickly accepted by the seller. Then came the bad news. The lender would only do an FHA loan because it was a mobile home and was not on a foundation. And the seller would only accept a conventional loan because the home was a foreclosure. No other lenders could be found that would loan on a mobile home without a foundation, so the contract was canceled and I was back to searching for the perfect home.

Part 3
The next house seemed too good to be true. It was close to my work, private, and in an area with no restrictions. I was sure that this was going to be my house. There was some mold in the basement, which is the only reason I figured it was so affordable. No big deal - I had a friend whose son-in-law did mold removal for a living, so that could be arranged... or so I thought.
Then I tried to get financing. And found out that mold in a house is a Very Bad Thing. And no lender would touch it. So that one was out too.

Part 4
Every day after work I'd go out and search for a new house. With the threat of a lawsuit looming over my head, I was anxious to get moved as soon as possible. By now it was almost August, and I soon found another house that would fit my criteria.
It was small and had no back door, which would make it a bit more difficult for fostering, but I would manage. Except for one minor issue. The basement had cracks in the walls. Large cracks. Large horizontal cracks. The kind that require major repairs. And I quickly found, the kind that no lender would touch. So I moved on, wondering how I could have perfect credit and a decent sized savings account and still not be able to find any lenders to give me a loan. They obviously felt I had poor taste in housing, but the only houses that I felt comfortable being able to afford were all houses with issues of one sort or another.

Part 5
So the search continued. I looked at many, many different houses. And then, I found it. The house that was perfect for fostering. In fact, it was so perfect that the people who used to live in the house had also fostered dogs. Everyone agreed it was meant to be.
I loved it. The sellers accepted the offer, and we started the process of inspections and loan paperwork. This time it wasn't until the appraisal was completed that the lender discovered a problem. The home had been listed as a modular home instead of a mobile home. I knew from way too much recent experience that I would have trouble getting a loan if it was a mobile home, but the seller assured us the home was a modular home. Thus when the appraisal was completed several weeks later, and we learned that the home actually was a mobile home, I was so disappointed. We did find a lender that would loan on a mobile home, but the price was already at the top of my price range and because of the type of home the interest rate would be more than I felt comfortable being able to afford. So with regret, we backed out of the contract. We were able to receive a full refund from the seller's agent for the money spent on the inspections, but it also meant another month had been lost in my search for a place to move.

Part 6
So by this time, I've learned my lesson. No more assuming I'm going to get the house that I am trying to buy. I have continued searching for potential houses and have quickly identified another possibility. Within a few days of canceling the contract on the last house, we make an offer on this house.
This time, it was all me. The house was okay, but it had a lot of potential problems found during the inspection. Also at the time of the inspection I met the neighbors, who were very close, and decided that it would not be ideal for fostering. So based on the issues found in the inspection, we canceled this contract.

Part 7
By now it was mid-September. By this time I've sent my cat Merlin to live with my parents until I can get moved, because the two-pet subdivision restriction includes cats, and it was easier to relocate Merlin temporarily than it was to relocate Remi or Noelle. On September 13th, I make an offer on this home.
 It is another foreclosure, and I'm warned by my Realtor that because it is a HUD foreclosure (as opposed to a bank foreclosure), it can be a difficult process. But my husband and I both fall in love with this house. It has issues, but compared to the other homes in the same price range, it is by far the best. It is on two and a half acres of property in a rural location, surrounded by farmland. We're both so excited when we learn that the contract has been accepted.

Part 8
Thus begins my education on purchasing a HUD home. First, I learned that the home is a log cabin. Well, of course it is. But according to the HUD inspection, the home is a frame home with log siding. Uhmmmm... okay. But it turns out it wasn't okay. Because the lender approved the loan based on the HUD inspection. And once they learned from the appraisal that the home was in fact a log cabin, they said that they couldn't give a loan on a log home unless there were comparable log homes sold within 20 miles in the past six months. I'm not even sure there were log homes sold within 200 miles within the past six months... we don't have a ton of log homes around here. Thus, once again, financing was not available. This time I was not going to be deterred. I contacted other lenders. I contacted banks and log home manufacturers and brokers of all sorts. It took the entire month of October, but FINALLY, my mortgage broker found a lender that would give me a loan on the home. I could have the home after all!

Part 9
So by now it is early November, and I still haven't moved. I'm told we're waiting on the appraisal to be redone, and once we receive that we'll be ready to go. Then by mid-November I'm given a list of requirements from the loan underwriter, including some estimates for needed repairs that were identified on the HUD inspection and a well/septic inspection. My awesome Realtor jumps into action, calling inspectors and contractors and HUD to get the necessary information. We get all the information provided by the beginning of December, and wait anxiously for the closing date to be assigned.

Part 10
We wait.... and wait. We sign contract extensions every two weeks, and continue to wait. Emails continue to go back and forth as my mortgage broker and Realtor work hard to get HUD and the lender to do whatever is needed to close on this house. Finally, just before Christmas, we hear that everything has been approved by the lender, and there are just a couple of minor things that need to be completed. So, another contract extension is signed and we wait some more.

Part 11
Christmas comes and goes. During all of this I had believed I would be in the new house by Christmas. So I didn't put up Christmas decorations or a tree, and it was a very strange holiday for me. I was extremely stressed out and felt that we would never close on the house. Two days after Christmas I have a minor breakdown and send an e-mail to my Realtor and Lender threatening to, well, let's just say letting them know how stressed I was. Remember the mobile home in Part 2 that I tried to buy back in July? It's still on the market, and the price has dropped enough that I could afford to pay cash by borrowing against my current home. Which means I would not have to depend on any lender for anything, and I could move! I am assured that everyone is doing everything they can, and we should be closing any day. I ask them to not talk to me unless they are calling to tell me they actually have a set closing date. I then go hide under the futon with Ziggy for several days.

Part 12
We have a closing date!  Everything is ready and pressure has been put on the title company to get us closed. They tell us on January 7th that if the lender gets them the closing numbers that same day, then we can close on the 12th. I'm cautiously hopeful as I share the good news on Facebook.

Part 13
I find out that the lender could not get the numbers to the title company the same day. I also find out that since the last contract extension we signed was only good through the 12th, we have to sign another contract extension and wait. Again. Soon enough we're given a new closing date of the 18th.  That is this Tuesday - only three days from now! I'm told that all of the paperwork has been done and there should be nothing that will keep us from closing on the 18th. I announce the happy news to everyone I meet.

Part 14
Fast forward to today, January 15th. I plan to meet my Realtor at the house to do a final walk-through before we close. The house has been vacant for a year, and I expect a quick look just to make sure it didn't get blown away by a tornado, and we'll be good.  Instead, I pull up and get out of my car, to hear my Realtor ask if I have a cell phone signal.  I check, and answer no, then ask why. She proceeds to tell me that the house has been broken into and someone has stolen all of the copper pipes. I ask her if she's serious, half believing it has to be a joke. But it's not. The window in the back door has been broken in, and there are pipes missing everywhere. The home is totally unlivable, and will require major repair. We call the police, and three quarters of the entire county's police force responds.  Seriously!  They only have four officers in the county, and we had three of them at our house because due to a poor phone connection they were under the impression that there was a bad guy still in the house.  After that excitement, I acknowledge the reality of what this means. Since we're dealing with HUD, this means the house closing can't take place on Tuesday. So I'm back to waiting. And hoping that Part 15 gets here quickly, and that it's the last part of this very long and drawn-out housing saga.


JackDaddy said...

Oh dear. If I had the money I would give it to you just so you wouldn't have to deal with any more 'stuff'! I hope the next few weeks brings you nothing but good news.

Cupcake said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through all this. All you want to do is take care of animals!! I'm sending good thoughts your way for a great house where you and all the babies will be happy. I love your perseverance!!!!

BerniceK said...


I think you have the patience of a saint and God only brings you through these types of things for a reason. To MAKE YOU STRONGER. And you will come out of this experience a stronger and better person. Believe me, Ive been through similar situations. Hang in there.. The sun is going to be out at the end of the dark tunnel...

Bobby said...


Anonymous said...

Oh, Miss Laurie. My heart aches for you right down to my toes. I think you must be one of the bestest peoples in the whole wide world for going through all of this for homeless pets. My paws are crossed that part 15 is here before you know it and you can finally say "The End!" and close the book on all this wackiness.

Wiggles & Wags & Brindle Kisses!

Erika and Blair,xoxo said...

My goodness, all these stories make me scared to buy a house one day! You are very patient, must be from living with Ziggy. I'm not sure that I could have waited this long.

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

OH.MY.DOG!!!! House hunting is soooooo stressful! I don't know how you're remaining sane. But, I am guessing this is way beyond mere stress. Your husband deserves a gold star! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Sue said...

We had to jump thru hoops when we used HUD to buy our Maryland home including things I felt were none of their business and had nothing to do with our ability to pay a mortgage. Every time we thought we had satisfied their unreasonable demands, they came back with new ones. I wound up losing it and telling them what I thought of their 'service'. We eventually got the house, but I'd never go that route again.

Frankie Furter said...

All I can say is... OMD !

Ettel, Charlie Poodle, and Emma Pitty said...

Oh no that really really really really sucks.

I'm so sorry you've had to deal with all this crap.

Here's to hoping Part 15 comes quickly, and that it's the last Part!!!!!!

meowmeowmans said...

What a horrible saga! We continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Hopefully the next chapter will be a happy one...

Ann Dziemianowicz said...

Wow! It sounds like it has been house h*ll! Sorry to hear what you've been through. Your animals are so lucky you are their Mom!

Texas The Doxie said...

Whoooooooooooa. I hope things work out for you guys sooN!

Erin & Co.

Kari in WeHo said...

Oh my, I sure hope part 15 is good news


Purrfect Haven said...

we can't get over this.. what an amazing tale (of woe). Can't imagine having a law that stops pet ownership at 2 but you are wonderful in your dedication to fostering and clearly skilled at talking menfolk round (but guess he just loves you too much to see you upset). Good luck! We hope to read good news soon. Darcy, Bingley and Helen xxx