When you are applying for a Harp 2 refi, that is when.
Rates dipped this morning so I contacted my mortgage consultant. I learned that Harp 2 loans are not market rate and do have a premium. This is not what I had understood her to say when we talked previously. I can get 4.625%, or 4.375% with a point. I said that unless I can shave at least 1 percent from my current rate with no points, I am not interested in doing a refi. She acknowledged that the current rates are not very beneficial to me. So unless rates dip quite a bit more, there is no refi in my immediate future.
I chipped the $10.00 I received from Hauser. Tomorrow is payday, so I did a wallet sweep and chipped an additional $7.01 from that.
Viewing the 'Mortgage' Category
When you are applying for a Harp 2 refi, that is when.
Its my birthday, but more importantly, it is the day I can officially begin my refinance. All last week, the rate for a 30 year fixed was 3.875. This morning, 4.0. Isnt't that always the way? :P I did not ask for a lock today.
I have not heard from my mortgage consultant further. So I haven't actually signed anything at all yet. I am sure I am not the only person around here salivating to refinance.
Today in the mail I received my first check from Hauser! It is for $10.00. It is for the period Jan to Oct 2011. I was expecting $21.00 for Jan to Nov 2011. If you exclude November (which was a high volume month), then $10.00 is correct. I really want to chip it, even though my refi makes it seem pointless.
Friday morning J decided he wants to be on the school swim team. The deadline to turn in the paperwork and get a physical is tomorrow. Don't you just love when your kids pull that sort of thing? When I filled out the paperwork, I ran across one sheet which needed to be signed by me in the presence of a school official, who also needed to sign. Well, great. So today I took a long lunch and drove over to the high school to take care of that. It was pouring down rain and I got soaked. Tomorrow immediately after school, J's dad will take him to the dr. for his physical. And tomorrow night J will attend practice and turn everything in. As it happens, practice is 4 nights a week and is held not at the high school J attends, but at the one a few blocks away. Yay! That means J can get himself back and forth from practice with no trouble at all.
On Saturday, I spent the day with my mom, my cousin, and J. My cousin bought some nice travel books for each of us; one on Oahu and one on Hawaii (Big Island). We pored over them, discussing what we would like to see. Wasn't that thoughtful and organized of her? She is sooo like that. (I have LOTS of cousins, but this is the one with whom I have a close relationship.) Her name begins with an L. From now on, I will refer to her as cousin L.
Work is crazy. I don't know what else to say about that.
So I continue to go back and forth on the whole 20 yr vs. 30 yr decision. Today I was thinking, "definately the 20 yr". Tonight I had my long awaited meeting with the Wells Fargo mortgage consultant.
First of all, the rate break for a 30 is a mere 1/8th of a point right now. So that is not worth taking on the bigger minimum monthly obligation. The 20 yr is out.
I had to supply basic info on income, assets, and liabilities. They will do a credit check. They will pull my income tax returns. They will do a market appraisal, meaning it is based on sales in my neighborhood not on an actual onsite appraisal.
So she opened my file and now we have to wait for Feb 6th to be ready to roll. Today the rate for a 30 year fixed is 3.875. On Feb 6th, who knows? I cannot lock before the program is officially active.
She said everything else we can do by email until it is time for me to sign final docs.
This morning I received a phone call from a local Wells Fargo mortgage consultant. They will be ready to process Harp 2.0 refis on Feb 6th. I have an appointment with her on Jan 31st. I need to bring the declaration page of my homeowner's policy and that is it. She says the process is very streamlined and we will close quickly. We will go over 30 vs 20 and all costs when we meet.
I was leaning towards the 20, but now I am thinking 30. I am simply not saving enough and need to ramp that up. I need more cash in the bank and I need to plump up my nest egg. I can always prepay once my savings goals are met for the year.
I received a second unexpected phone call from my old Allstate agent. They want me back (I switched to Geico two years ago) and offered me a lower premium than Geico for the same coverage. She quoted $566 whereas Geico is $637. Also, I would receive a multiple policy discount on my homeowner's. Things have certainly changed. When I left them (after 20+ years!), I saved almost $200 on a 6 month policy at Geico. Now they are beating Geico by $71 plus whatever break on homeowner's.
Who will be calling me next today? Publisher's Clearing House? Perhaps Nicolas Cage will come to his senses and call to declare his undying love for me.
So I continue to mull over the Harp 2 refinance thing. I have learned that the loans are at market rates and the fees are typical. So I could snap up a 4% 30 year fixed or 3.3875% for a 20 year fixed.
I have to say, that 20 year loan is tempting. The rate is unbelievable, and even with no prepayments, I would be done with my mortgage shortly after my 65th birthday. The payments would be slightly less than now (about $10 - $15 per month), and I could stop looking for ways to chip at my mortgage and instead look for ways to save a bit more.
On the other hand, going with the 30 would free up $177 per month due to the lower payment. I could use those dollars towards retirement savings and really give my nest egg a boost. Once my IRA is maxed for the year, there would be nothing preventing me from paying down the mortgage some. Having a lower minimum payment would also come in handy in the event I become unemployed at some point.
I make up my mind one way, then change it again.
Today I did a wallet sweep and chipped $4.07 from my mortgage. Not much, but something. I chipped a little interest I received, too. I hadn't mentioned it, but I have increased my budgeted monthly payment from $1274 to $1284, so a little more will be gained there.
In Harp 2.0 news, it seems that Wells Fargo will not be ready to roll until March now. Unfortunately, new fees for Fannie and Freddie loans (which are funding the Jan - Feb payroll tax cut) begin in mid February. That will add about 1k to my cost if I decide to do the refi. I suppose I should do the refi even so, as dropping from 5.25 to 4.0 on 180k of debt is significant.
I have to say, I do not relish the idea of starting over AGAIN with a new mortgage. I bought my first home in 1989 and diligently chipped away. That equity eventually went into my second home. I didn't chip much on that one, but that mortgage was much smaller than the one I have now. My ex-husband has a very sweet pension too, so I wasn't particularly worried about making the payments. Now at nearly 45 and divorced, the thought of a brand new 30 year mortgage is a bit icky. So I think, well, I'll do a 20. But then I look at my nest egg and think hmmm, maybe that new lower payment would be better because I can feed my nest egg more. I don't know that I am going to live here forever, anyway.
Well, eleven days into the new year and so far, I have been careful with my spending.
I got an email from Chase today, I have been approved for the Chase Southwest card! Whoo-hoo!! Now I hope that I can qualify for my gift cards in time to use them for J's iPad for Christmas. That probably won't work out, but I am hoping anyway.
Today I received 10 more decoy mail pieces! My biggest day yet (this time around). I have racked up $16.25 in earnings now.
I chipped my $8.00 from Dell today and updated my sidebar. Does my mortgage look exponentially smaller now? Yeah, I didn't think so either. Oh well, one chip after another and eventually I should get somewhere.
The best think I can say about my tax update class today is....my lunch was delicious!
Yesterday in the mail I received an $8.00 check from Dell for their class action lawsuit settlement. I happened to buy a laptop from them during the period covered in the lawsuit. I am going to use it for a mortgage chip tomorrow, even though I should just be saving it. I look at it as pleasure spending, because it gives me great pleasure to mortgage chip!
Tomorrow is the day more details about HARP changes are supposed to be released. I will be in a tax update class all day, so I won't get to read about it until tomorrow night. I have been thinking about my situation. While I would love to have a lower interest rate, I don't want to start over again with a new 30. So I was thinking I could calculate a 25 year payment and simply pretend that is my payment. My payment would still drop and I would be shaving a year or so (depending on how long the refi would take) from the end. What is not to love? Then I started wondering if they wrote the note for 25 years, would I get a slightly better rate? Will they even agree to write it for 25 years? I don't know, but I think it is worth asking. And of course, all of this is supposing HARP rates are not at a premium.
Since I became a HauserNet decoy mail agent again last December, my volume has been pretty low. I haven't been paid even once yet, because they won't cut a check for less than $10. Lately my volume has been picking up. Thursday I had 5 pieces, and yesterday I had 9! I now have 55 pieces in my stack, at .25 each that is $13.75. I expect I will get a check after this quarter ends.
Have you heard the latest news from HARP? On 10/24/11, it was announced they are eliminating the 125% LTV cap. That was the one requirement which disqualified me from doing a refi under HARP. More details are to follow on 11/14/11. I am anxiously awaiting those details!
I already know that my lender is participating, that Freddie Mac owns my mortgage, that I have no late payments in the last 12 months, and that I have sufficient income. What I don't know is...will being upside down mean I will have to pay a premium rate? I only want the refi if I can snap up a nice 4% fixed rate loan. Otherwise, I will stick with what I have. I will have to wait and see.
It was a few days premature, but since I was at my bank for a client today anyway, I emptied all but $7.00 out of my wallet, and chipped an additional $16.28 to my mortgage.
On Sunday evening, I had a very unpleasant encounter with my next door neighbor. The homeowner is an older woman (70s). Her adult son (40s) also lives in the house. They are not nice people and have a reputation in our neighborhood of being hot-headed and unreasonable. We share a common fence which needs to be replaced. I am willing, she says no. It is wood, nearly 20 years old, and full of rot.
Anyhow, on Sunday evening she came over and knocked on the door. My nephew's dog was in her backyard. It seems a fence board had fallen off and the dog had gone visiting. She claimed the dog was viciously lunging at her, which I do not believe. I do believe that she was frightened to have a strange dog in her backyard. At any rate, the dog does not belong in her yard.
So I went into my backyard to examine the fence and BF came along. The neighbor and her son were already in their backyard. Meanwhile, my nephew's dog had come home. I put two of the 3 dogs in the house, but one of my son's dogs had also decided to go visit. I called to him but he continued to stroll around sniffing in their yard.
Back story: In California, a fence along a property line is the responsibility of both parties. Last fall, my nephew inserted some 2 x 4s in the fence along the beams already there, so that we could nail fence boards to it. (The support beams running horizontally along the bottom and top of the fence are the most rotten.) It was not attractive, but it did make the fence more sturdy. This apparently was not to their liking, as they ripped the 2 x 4s out and threw the 2 x 4s into our yard. I have pictures of this.
So while we are talking to each other through the empty space in the fence, she says that I need to take better care of the fence. I state that my nephew attempted to make the fence more sturdy, but that they saw fit to rip out the 2 x 4s. They both immediately begin to smirk and say they don't know what I am talking about. Even though they don't know what I mean, the son said my nephew used screws instead of nails and he shouldn't have. Then he goes on to state that my nephew is "trashy" and he does not care for my nephew. I suppose his intent was to make me angry, but in truth I do not value his opinion.
I said that I think we should get a new fence. The mother says, quote, "This fence is just fine!" I said if it is just fine, then what are we all doing here? She says the only problem is my nephew's dog jumped on it. If the dog wouldn't jump on the fence, there would be no problem. I need to make the dog not jump on the fence. Furthermore, she is on Social Security and cannot afford a new fence. I said "Well, it's the law."
She begins to scream at me that I need to GET MY D--- DOG NOW!! (I had been calling him, but he would not come.) My BF asks if they will let him in to come and get the dog. The son says yes, so BF leaves to go to their front door, the son does too. As soon as we are alone, she begins to point her finger at me and say "F--- you! This is all your fault! You fix it NOW!!" She is lovely. Doesn't she sound lovely? I am definately putting her on my Christmas Card List.
Meanwhile, when BF got to the front door, the son refused to let him in, but said go to the gate leading to the backyard. BF walked over to the gate, the son reappeared in the backyard. BF waited then called, saying "Are you going to let me in?" The son said to me "That gate is locked". So I called to BF "He isn't going to let you in." I asked the son how he would like for us to get the dog. He suggested I remove a fence board. So, I did. It was easy, I just pulled a little with my bare hands and it popped right off. I went into their back yard, took the dog by the collar, and led him out.
The mother went back in the house when I began to enter their yard, the son remained. When I got back on my side, he says to me "So you would rather just pay for a new fence than put that board back up?" I said of course I would nail the board back but that I would like to have a good, sturdy fence, and wouldn't he? I could tell he was thinking that over, so I added "Wood fences only last so long. This fence is almost 20 years old."
So as BF and I set about reattaching fence boards, the neighbor's son comes back out and says that I should go ahead and get some estimates.
So that is where I am right now. I have one company coming tonight for an estimate and am awaiting return phone calls from 2 other companies.
This week I have chipped $0.81 from Lending Club and $8.00 from Beezag. I have received a total of $32.00 from Beezag this year, just for watching their short little video ads. I think fondly of Laura every single time I cash out.
Go away, mortgage.
Yesterday I received a reminder email from Credit Karma. It had been a while since I had updated my score. So I went ahead and did that and their estimate of my score rose to 775. That was nice.
One thing which hurts my score is my length of accounts. They say my oldest account is 105 months, and my average age is 90 months. When I divorced, I closed all of my joint credit accounts. Two of my very oldest individual accounts were Mervyn's (1987) and Gottschalk's (1992). Since both retailers have declared bankruptcy in the past couple of years, those accounts are now closed.
The other thing which hurts my score is they insist I have a credit utilization ratio of 30%. This is not true, I have available credit of 60k or so. However, some of my cards don't report a limit, so they assume my limit is equal to the highest balance ever on the card.
Even with those little dings, I don't have any trouble obtaining credit when I want it.
Tomorrow is payday. I have just counted the contents of my wallet, and I see that I have $6.37 which will go to the bank to be swept into my mortgage.
Someday, all of these little chips should add up.
Today is a child support check day. So when I went to the bank, I decided to "sweep" some cash from my wallet. I had $51.77 in my wallet (of my $60.00 cash allowance). I deposited $11.77 into Piddly and will transfer it to my mortgage. That leaves me $40.00 until the 15th. I will need $10.00 tonight to get my eyebrows threaded, and will hang on to as much as the remaining $30.00 as I can. I will do the wallet sweep again on the 15th.
I am off to wellsfargo.com!
Today I had an e-mail from Vanguard asking me to please take a short survey. I decided to take it. It was short, but based on my answers I was asked to take a longer survey and they dangled $25 in front of me. Yeah OK, that seems a fair trade. At the end I received a message that I will receive my "incentive" in approximately 4 - 6 weeks. So if you receive a similar e-mail from Vanguard, open that baby up.
I just redeemed some credit card rewards points for $30 cash.
On Sunday, I took my mother to visit her sister, it is about a 2 hour drive. We got an early start and made a day of it. We had a great visit, I think everyone enjoyed it. My aunt's lifelong good friend and one of her granddaughters came by, we played cards and giggled all afternoon. On the way home in the car, Mom gave me $50 to help with my OOP nephew costs. It was so nice of her, I surely do appreciate it.
So far this month I have not bought anything unplanned.
None of my mortgage chips during August were large, but together they reduced payment #358 down to $37.85. Hopefully, payment #358 will die this month and I can start whittling away payment #357.
I really like my new strategy of applying chips as they come in, rather than waiting for the next payment. There is no chance of them getting lost in the shuffle. Part of why it works so well is that my checking account and mortgage are both at Wells Fargo; I don't know if it would work so well otherwise. This month the bank's interest number was $.06 lower than my number, the result of mid-month chips. (This is not the entire amount of interest my chips saved, it is only the amount saved during the month of August.)
Lately, I feel so up in the air. I like to have a plan I can work towards, and right now I just don't know where my life is going.
My Chase Sapphire statement closed yesterday, and I have an extra 50,000 bonus rewards points. I am not planning on cashing them in right now. Instead, I plan to use mine towards a plane ticket (extra 25% if you use your points this way) when we go on our trip to Hawaii next year.
Have I mentioned that a lot of family members have gotten on board? My Mom says she will go. My cousin to whom I am close (and with whom I went to China) and her husband want to go. Cousin's son and his wife and daughter want to go (their daughter 1 year younger than my son). Cousin's daughter and her husband and their 2 kids are considering.
I am a late life baby, so I am roughly the same age as the generation after me. My cousin's son is 1 year younger than me. Most of my nieces and nephews were born when I was in grade school.
Yesterday I received a $20 credit cards reward check which I have already transferred to my mortgage. This month I have chipped $21.85. I am already thinking I will not chip my expected $150 bonus for opening a checking account. I am thinking I will stash it in my Roth instead. I have in the back of my mind that if I hit retirement with more than my Roth goal of 150k, I will be willing to use it towards my mortgage. You know, if I have one at that point. I am still up in the air about what exactly I will do. I may sell my house, take my equity and move elsewhere. At least, I certainly hope I have some equity again at some point. Maybe I am being presumptuous. So anyway, overshooting my Roth goal will not be bad, but missing it will be bad. So if I overfund my Roth, I can always use the extra towards my mortgage later.
I spent some money last night which I shouldn't have. BF and son and I had been invited to dinner at my ex-nieces house. (She was married to my nephew at one time, they have a daughter together.) Something came up in the late afternoon with her son (she is remarried) and they had to cancel. So there we were, all dressed up and no place to go. On a whim, I suggested we go out to dinner. We went to Applebee's. Afterwards, we decided to go see Cowboys & Aliens (we really liked it). When that was over, we decided to see Rise of The Apes (loved it). So it was an expensive night. I paid for everything. BF and I have a policy that s/he who suggests an outing pays for it. We have been together almost 2 years now, so are past the point of "dating". The first few months he paid for almost everything, but then I said that it was silly that one person should always pay. For awhile, we would tussle from time to time over who was paying. At this point, we just go with the person who suggests also pays.
At Applebee's, I had pineapple glazed shrimp served on white rice with a spinach salad on the side. It was delicious and only 310 calories! Applebee's has quite a few low calorie entrees.
...and guess what I saw? My mortgage interest last month was $795.84, a full $.07 less than I calculated.
Why do I care? Because it means that the tiny extra principal payments I made didn't just sit there in suspense as I had thought they would. Nope, they reduced the interest which accrued in July! I can't believe it.
It's not a rounding error. If my calculation was $.01 off, that could just be rounding. But not $.07.
From now on, all of my mortgage chips will be applied the moment I have the cash, no more waiting until the next regular payment is made.
I will have to edit the spreadsheet "snip" in my last post.
So in the past week, I have transferred 3 small chips to my mortgage. I had never done this before, I have always saved my chips to send with my next regular payment. I had thought the chips would be held in suspense and then applied on the 1st of the month. But look at this:
Date Description Amount Principal Balance
07/25/11 PRINCIPAL PMT ( Details) $0.81 $181,912.06
07/25/11 PRINCIPAL PMT ( Details) $6.72 $181,905.34
07/22/11 PRINCIPAL PMT ( Details) $9.00 $181,912.87
07/05/11 PAYMENT ( Details) $1,273.49 $181,921.87
Wells Fargo has been applying the chips directly to my balance. I expect the chips will not reduce the interest accrued in July. By rights, they shouldn't. I calculate I should be charged $795.91 of interest when I make my August payment. We will see if that is what happens.
In other riveting news, I have received my first Citi MC bill. It came a few days ago and is due early in August. I am not fond of the timing. I think I will go ahead and send them their minimum payment now (although I have already made my July credit card debt payments) and then in mid August, I will use bill pay to send them what I want to send them. The timing will be off, but if I send them their minimum now, I will be ahead of the game and it should turn out OK. I will have to keep an eye on it though, so that I don't have a billing period with 2 payments and then a billing period with none.
I applied and was approved for an Amex Blue yesterday. I have too many rewards cards with too many small point balances. I am going to work on getting my rewards up to cash out level, then close some of the cards. I won't close Chase Freedom (since 2004) or B of A (since 2003), but Discover and Sapphire can go. Then I will begin using Amex Blue. It pays 3% cash back on groceries and drug stores, 2% cash back on gasoline and department stores, 1% cash back on everything else. Not bad. I will have to get in the habit of charging my groceries.
Both balance transfer checks have now posted to my Citi MC account ($800 and $1300), as well as a $24 balance transfer fee for the $800 check. And that is all. Where is the $39 balance transfer fee for the $1300 check? Well, that is a really good question. I don't know quite what to make of this.
Update: My balance transfer fee has finally shown up, on 8/16/11!
My mortgage is owned by Wells Fargo, which is where I also do my banking. Therefore, I make my mortgage payment by logging on to my account and doing a transfer from checking to mortgage. Just for kicks, I went ahead today and transferred $9, specifying it is an additional principal payment. I just wanted to see how they will handle it. Will it just float around in suspense until I make my regular payment? I suspect that it will, but I would like to KNOW.
Last week, I received a gift card as a thank you gift from a client. It is a gift card to Olive Garden, which I love, but which will not help me at all with my weight loss. I have been contemplating selling it on plastic jungle and using the proceeds to chip at my mortgage. Is that tacky?
I have been reluctant to post this, as I suspect people will say "Yes, tacky, don't do it" and then if I do it anyway, how incredibly tacky will I be?
UPDATE: BF and I had dinner at Olive Garden Sunday evening. We split a shrimp appetizer which has 500 calories, and I ordered the apricot chicken served with steamed veggies which has 400 calories. Then we had salad and breadsticks, of course. (I would love to report that I skipped the breadsticks, but I ate two!) I did stick with water. I love Olive Garden's chicken scampi, yummmmm. But it has approximately 3 million calories so was out of the running. The apricot chicken was good. It was a nice meal out.
I just got paid $9 for a secret shop I did a few months ago, I plan to mortgage chip that. (No more credit card chipping, I will just stick with my Dec 2012 payoff schedule.)
This month's chips are:
1. $8.00 from Beezag
2. $2.43 from Lending Club
3. $27.02 from InBox Dollars
4. $13.06 budgeted chip
So does my little chart make sense to people? Last month Monkey Mama posted hers, and I noticed right off that hers is way more viewer friendly than mine. Not that I have amortization schedule envy, or anything.
Edit: Here are some headings, I hope it is more viewer friendly.
Today I received my annual impound account review statement. I was pleased to see it drop a few dollars, which I had expected. My PITI payment is going from 1276.94 to 1273.49.
What I hadn't expected was a refund check for 79.94. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? What a great mortgage chip!
I will have to wait and see what my bonus is before I can say for certain that yes, it is a mortgage chip.
A few months back, I was seeing a specialist medical doctor and had several offce visits. My co-pay for a specialist is $30. Somehow, I overpaid. I received a detailed account transaction list and check for $30 in the mail today. I had NO IDEA it was coming.
So, when I make March's mortgage payment, I will be adding $200 from my income tax refund, $23.10 from Plastic Jungle, $20 from Chase Freedom rewards, and $30 from the co-pay refund, as well as the few dollars I budget to pay extra.
March will be my "chippiest" month yet!
I have decided that I am going to start being better about recycling water bottles, and using that money towards my mortgage.
Tonight I got up to $50.01, so I cashed in. There is still a $3.00 processing fee, so now I know. However, I did immediately receive a $3.00 bonus, so it's not so bad.
It should ship around April 1, hope it makes it here in time to add to April's payment. If not, it will make a fine mortgage chip in May.
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