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Starting the process of buying a home has been stressful. As Greg put it, “You never really know when the process has started.” I think I consider the process started now that I’ve made first contact with a mortgage broker.

I started out this morning at 10:10a by leaving a message with the assistant to a mortgage broker, Beth, who a friend of mine recommended. I was told Beth would call back at 11:00a.

At 11:35a I started getting impatient, and after talking to Greg and figuring I should talk to three or more mortgage brokers (to really shop around), I put in a request with MortgageDesignGroup.com to get in touch with one of their brokers. From their web site, it’s looking like I can get a 30 year loan at 5.5% - 6.125% and get around $185,000 for $1050 - $1124 a month (without insurance or taxes).

11:55a - Marty called me up and referred me to a broker named Ann who he’s worked with several times. Went online and got her contact info. Decided to call her after lunch.

It’s looking like rates at Oregon Telco for a 30 year loan will be about 5.5% on a 30 year fixed loan.

1:25p - Beth finally called back. I gave her some information and she’s going to call me back tomorrow with some numbers.

1:45p - Left a message with Ann. She’ll call back.

2:35p - Ann called. She’s probably the most helpful person I’ve talked to so far and after talking to a couple of people, it turns out everyone who works with NW Mortgage Group is happy with their service.

It seems there are a few ways to go with this loan. I can put less than 20% down on the house and pay mortgage insurance; I can be “self-insured” by putting at least 20% down; or I can do some “creative loan manipulation” and get an 80% first mortgage, 10% second mortgage, and put 10% down (or 80/15/5, or whatever). With the third option, you’d have the same monthly payment, but you’d be paying towards two different loans and wouldn’t have to have mortgage insurance.

Sounds like, assuming an arbitrary guess for taxes and insurance, for a monthly payment between $1300 and $1500 a month (including the taxes/insurance), I could get between $193,000 and $220,000 with a 5% down payment on a 30 year loan. To get some firm costs, though, I need to settle on a loan amount and figure out how long I’m planning on staying at the house.

Now I need to start comparing one broker to another. According to Ann, you need to get what’s called a “Good Faith Estimate” from each broker which lays out the fees and such. Then you can compare apples to apples (so to speak) and see who’s actually getting you the better deal.

It’s starting to sound like a catch-22, though. I can’t get a firm loan cost until I decide on a house, but it’s hard to really get a house until you know how much you can afford.

I’ll wait to hear back from Beth tomorrow and see what she says. I’m hoping to hear back from MortgageDesignGroup.com, too, to see what they recommend. Pending on what they say, I’ll probably get ahold of all of them to get those “Good Faith Estimates” and start comparing brokers.

At this point, I’m leaning towards Ann, though. She called me back quickly, she was the most helpful, and she spent the time to work things through with me. Doesn’t hurt that I’ve heard recommendations from three different people for them.

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I’ve started actually (gasp) hearing back from some of these mortgage brokers that I’ve been trying to get in contact with, so I decided to put up a new category - Realty Check - to include my home-buying experience (and probably, after that, home maintenance experience). I’m sure it’ll be old hat to the people out there who have already bought homes, but if anything, it’ll be good for me to look back on and laugh.

Plus, maybe I can sell book rights to it. Heh.

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I called the mortgage broker that a friend of mine recommended at about 10:00a today. I got in touch with her assistant, who told me that I’d be getting a call back at 11:00a, after the broker got out of a meeting.

It’s 11:25a right now, and I’ve not gotten any calls.

I appreciate that people are busy and whatnot, but I value punctuality. Don’t tell me - or have your assistant tell me - that you’re going to call me back if you’re not.

It doesn’t help that I sent this broker an email on Monday and never heard back, either. This whole thing smells rotten. I’m wondering if I should just look for someone else. I mean, if I can’t count on calls getting returned or emails getting answered, why would I trust this person with the largest purchase I’m bound to make?

Greg told me I should talk to three different brokers anyway, to make sure I’m getting the best deal. I don’t think that’s too bad of an idea, but it does mean a lot more work on my part. I suppose in the long run it’ll be worth it.

*Sigh*

I wish this were easier, like buying a car. I suppose technically I could go to the “house lot” and pick out a house, but I’m not too big on the whole manufactured home thing. If only they could make manufactured homes as nice as regular homes.

I had an idea, too, and I’m not sure whether to go with it or not… For the first time home buyer, like me, it would be nice to see a journal-style account of some other first time home buyer’s experience getting a house. I’m thinking I may start a new category for blog entries and start the journal there. Then maybe it’ll be helpful to someone down the road. Or, maybe, just for me, to look back and see all the stupid mistakes I made. Hmmm. Maybe that’s not such a great idea.

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Call me impatient, but it’s been 45 minutes and no word from the mortgage broker. Fuck this, man. I put in a request for consultation from MortgageDesignGroup.com, so we’ll see how that goes. Supposedly I’m going to hear from someone within 48 hours.

According to their site, rates are nice and low and I might be able to get somewhere between 5.5% and 6.125%. Not too bad; might mean I can get a better house.

General Ramblings comments edit

I have this mug that a friend at work got me for Christmas. It’s a nice mug, but over the weekend I had a couple of problems with it.

First, it’s one of those mugs that can’t go in the dishwasher because of the way it’s insulated - water can get between the outer layer of plastic and the inner layer of metal and mess up the design that displays on the mug.

I took the mug home and put water in the mug and set it in the sink. No, the sink was not filled with water - it was just sitting there. Dry sink, mug full of water. By the end of the weekend, I was going to wash it but somehow water has gotten between the plastic and metal on the mug and has soaked down half of the design inside. So much for that.

Second, there’s something weird and stinky inside this mug. I’ve washed it over and over, using different types of soap, really hot water, cold water, you name it. It smells like sour-washcloth-meets-coffee. I can’t figure out what’s up with it. I have to drink with the lid on it because otherwise it’s… well, it’s just bad. I have no idea what it is.