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.
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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.