Lessons on Buying a House: Another Big Day–Signing the Papers for the Finance Company

The HouseIt looks like this is moving along.

Today was a big day in many ways.  First, during a break at work, I walked the three blocks down to the county tax assessor’s office to renew my car registration.  It’s gotten hot and muggy again in Houston, more like August than October.  We’re supposed to get some relief with a cold front this weekend, and most everyone is anxious for that, but today, my short jaunt was a hot one.

Another deed I got taken care of was my flu shot, not the swine flu one yet, but just the normal one.  It’s something I’ve been doing for the past several years and I think it works.  The nurse who gave me the shot commented that the flu shot is one of the best medical inventions since penicillin.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but, like I said I think it works.

My agent sent me several emails.  One was that the sellers’ agent had remedied a couple of the electrical problems we had on inspection.  Then he said I needed to arrange for a termite inspection, so I did.  It’s set for tomorrow, and my agent is going out open up the house for the inspector.  I’m still feeling pretty positive about my agent.  He’s been on top of most things for me, even though I’m pretty sure that normally he’s involved with higher-dollar properties than my little purchase.

Then I got a whole slew of documents from the finance company.  Among the many pages was the Good Faith Estimate.  I was really pleased because the money that I will need to take to closing is less than half what I had expected.  Of course, the earnest money that has gone to the title company will help count against the closing costs, and that is my money too.  I was even more surprised because I have to pay for a survey and also a year’s homeowner’s insurance, but the finance officer said that was already included.  The big thing is that as part of the offer contract I asked the sellers to contribute to my closing costs and that does reduce the amount I will have to bring to closing.

Having the sellers pay something toward the buyer’s closing costs, in my view, is a bit of a double-edged sword.  On one hand, it does help reduce the closing costs for the buyer, but, in reality, the seller may have kept the negotiated price of the house higher, and because the price is higher, what is really happening is that the buyer is just financing the amount of money that the seller is contributing toward the seller’s closing costs.  But it can help the seller too, becaue he doesn’t have to come up with as large of chunk of money to bring to the closing.

What I finally did today was go over to the finance company and sign all the papers, rather than sign them and either scan them or fax them back.  With that many documents to be signed, it was a lot easier and quicker, not too mention, the finance officer was able to explain some of the points that I was unclear about.

The next and most like the last big step will come with the appraisal.  It seems like the big question mark because with so many foreclosures, the county tax valuations have fallen quite a bit from 2008 to 2009.  Also because my appraiser has to be VA approved, I don’t know how that will play out.  Some people have said these appraisers are more strict than others.  Because I only did all the paperwork for the finance company today, I’m not expecting that the appraisal will be done until next week–just another thing to wait for.

Yeah, that photo at the top is a teaser–it’s of the front of the house.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I am.

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