Tiny Steps

This week had more frustrations from, guess where, LoanTown!  After a promising telephone call after 7 last Friday night from Chris the “draft processor” at M&T Bank, I thought getting the drafts (checks) for the renovation part of the loan was going to go smoothly.


Wrong!  I get the happy trio together to do our first inspection, required for the draft request.  That trio is yours truly, Steve the contractor, and Dan the HUD inspector.  Dan and Steve have the work write-ups that were completed many moons ago, and submitted as part of the loan, and they check off everything that’s done.  Somethings are only 95% done, so Dan says we only get 95% of the cost allotted.  Then, on top of that, 10% of each line item is held back until the end.  When all is said and done, over $15,000 worth of work has been completed – over half of the amount I borrowed for renovations.

Awesome, right?  Well, sort of.  Because I ask Chris the next day if he received the paperwork, and he says “Yes, but . . .”  Guys, I don’t know about you, but I hate “Yes, but.” There is this apparent policy or rule or, I don’t know, bullshit, that if your draw is over 50%, the bank needs a second title search.  Why?  I don’t know.  Ass-covering, probably.  I don’t know how I’d manage to encumber this house further having taken out so much money between this mortgage and my student loans that my debt to income ration is officially a joke, so that must not be it.  I guess they are worried about liens from contractors, but that too makes no sense because Steve signed a lien waiver and besides, GIMME MY MONEY!

I wrote that in an email to Chris along with some of my favorite expletives (but not the f-bomb, because I do have some sense), a few ridiculous hyperboles, and the request that he not placate me or apologize.  I tried to convey anger and hysteria.  😉  It worked – a little while later I got word that the check would be UPS’d to me.  Oh, I also had to drop the whole, “I’m an attorney,” thing.  I hate using that; I don’t think you should only provide good customer service based upon the threat of a lawsuit from an asshole attorney.

Anyhow, I have been on a spray painting kick!  I showed you the porch lights, now I have the house numbers done.  Before, the numbers were a really tarnished brass and they were offset and diagonally descending.  A very reliable source told me that is not good feng shui, and we cannot have that.

I bought a little placard at Ace at Seaboard Station.  When I’m done and moved in, I owe half of their staff a beer.  Today they let me in when they were closed because I knew I just wanted to by a wire stripper and I would pay with a debit card.  They are darlings and I love them.  Anyway, I painted my little sign with the same exterior paint I used on the front door. I spray painted the brass – sacrilege, I know!  But I’m not a fan of brass, and I am a fan of reusing what I have.  I measured and measured and leveled and then drilled pilot holes for the numbers – they have holes top and bottom.  Then I realized I didn’t have the right sized screws for them at home – I have no idea what I did with the screws that were in them.  Oh wait, yes I do.  They were corroded so I tossed them.  Quick trip to Lowes to see George, my favorite cashier, and I was home with the proper screws.  I added some wire to the back to hang it.  I used the pre-existing concrete anchors on the facade of the house, popped in a screw, et voila!  Happy little house numbers.

I have to finish up the mailbox tomorrow.  I have no idea what would happen if it weren’t back up on Monday, but I feel like I’d get a ticket from the mail man.  I need to sand the first coat of paint a bit and do a second on the top of the box before I hang it up again.  I made an executive decision, because I am the boss of this house, to take the little newspaper hanger thingermajiggers off of the box.  They pop right off.  Why do we still have those things around?  The paper gets thrown on the driveway, not delicately placed under the mailbox.  That’s so last century.


First Inspection: Done

Daniel Lee the HUD Consultant (more on what that is here) was already at Elephant Culo by the time I pulled up this afternoon.  He had his original report with him and was just checking things off.  By the time Steve my GC showed up (on time, Daniel was a little early and I was way early), all Dan needed was to double check his list of what was done.

  • GCFI outlets in kitchen and baths
  • Interior painted (will be touched up after the floors are installed)
  • HVAC installed (inspection tomorrow!)
  • Kitchen pendant light installed
  • Cabinetry removed and trim fixed in the kitchen
  • Roof replaced
  • Gable vents replaced
  • Window trim wrapped in vinyl
  • Roof fascia replaced and painted

That’s a good looking list, right?  Yay!  I had to sign one form and Steve had to sign two forms.  Now Dan sends a report to Chris at M & T.  I’m sure Chris will then generate another report, possibly a TPS report, and then so long as this is done by 12:30 tomorrow afternoon, the check-cutting people at M&T will UPS a check to me.  The check will be addressed to Steve and I, just as a way to provide a final balance in the system.  Then Steve can pay some people!

Highlights to look for in the coming days:

  • Hanging my upholstered door headboard on the wall in the master bedroom – I tried to take photos of this, project and they arehorrible!
  • HVAC inspection
  • Plumber to replace the shower pan in the master bath and fix the sewer connection pipe under the house (that seems like a big deal, doesn’t it?)
  • Vinyl installation
  • Carpet installation
  • Touch up painting
  • Appliances coming for the kitchen and laundry
  • Installing cabinet hardware in the kitchen
  • Finishing the installation of the pedestal sink
  • Finishing tearing out that horrible no good very bad wall paper in the half bathroom

I’m exhausted just thinking about it, and I’m not even doing most of the work.  Oh, and I have a brief due in the NC Supreme Court on my birthday next week, and I’m packing, and I’m moving.

I got this.  Can someone get me a diet Coke?

Feeling good (and a little impatient)

After a long month of being assured my loan transfer was being pushed to the top of the pile, and that it was a priority, it was finally officially bought by M&T bank last week.  I was really pleased to get a phone call Friday night at 7 in the evening from the associate who will be helping me get my money.  Woohoo for people working late.  Also, a brief shout out to my babysitting charge for that evening, who mercifully talked to his Blue’s Clues dog while I was on the phone.  🙂

I got my first water bill for the new house.  How about a $50 deposit, refundable after six months, plus a $50 fee just for turning the water on?  Dang!  Looking forward to that refunded deposit, though.  That will be nice six months from now.

My first electric bill for the new house came, too.  Progress Energy’s website is smart enough to realize that the SJF with an account on Dennis is also the SJF with an account on Lions Way, so I didn’t have to do anything fancy to get that account all set up for electronic payments.  I was impressed.  I bet I lose all of that easy-breezy functionality when the merger with big-bad-no-good-dirty-rotten-scoundrel Duke Energy is completed.

My old house is a MESS.  I mean, I’m usually messy, but the level of chaos in here is not fun.  Boxes everywhere, no where for guests to sit, and I just want to be done.  I’m talking to TROSA moving this week, so I’ll have an idea of what that will cost . . .  might be eating a lot of lentils and rice for the next few weeks!

Ooh!  The mail did bring two fun things.  The same lists that the scary insurance salespeople buy I guess can be bought by lots of other people, too.  Jersey Mikes welcomed me to the ‘hood with a coupon for a free sub and Bed Bath & Beyond gave me a 20% off coupon.  I’ll take it!

Good news! My loan has been bought!

Despite everything I was told, it did in fact take an entire month from when my loan closed to when my loan was sold to the servicer who would actually begin the awesome work of giving me and my general contractor the money I borrowed to put it to work in the house.

Hindsight: I wish I had asked more about the nitty gritty of how this money would get from the netherworld of the bank’s account to my hot little hands.  I wish my broker hadn’t jumped from one firm to another partway through my loan.  I wish I had wrapped the first 2-3 months of mortgage payments into my loan so that delays in the loan sale and any future construction delays didn’t have the potential of sending me over the financial and mental edge.

In fairness to me, though, I think it’s pretty normal to be caught up in the details of securing your loan, since that is the most present obstacle.  And it is an obstacle!  And it never in a million years occurred to me that spending this money would be so involved, or that it would take a month to get a pile of papers bought by a bank.  Oh well.  Live and learn.

The good news is that as soon as is possible, we are going to set up the first inspection for my HUD inspector to come check out the casa.  First, M&T Bank needs to get me a “post contact for funding draws.”  In lay person, that means they need to tell me who to holler at when I want some money.  All that to say, soon and very soon, my contractor will get a check.  YAY!

Quick and Snotty Update

I have a cold and it sent me to bed during prime picture taking hours.  You’ll have to pardon this brief, pictureless update.


I ran by the house later today and noticed that Agreeable Grey paint has gone up in the living room and dining room (soon to be reborn as my emporium of creative delights) and that new fence posts have gone in to the left of the drive way.  I’m looking forward to no longer using my garbage can as a dog-gate!  The light from Wayfair is sitting on my front porch, too.  I have one carpet sample and will see a few others tomorrow.

Mr. VP (not Biden, the guy at Allen Tate Mortgage) updated me again today.  I’m loving his attention to my loan!  The team he’s assembled got all of the conditions that the loan buyer had met today, and he has asked for a rush approval on this loan.  Hopefully it will be purchased tomorrow.  Please keep your fingers crossed, say your prayers, and think good thoughts for this loan to get got, and good!