M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, August 14, 2002  

As regular readers know, earlier this year Trash and I gave a lot of thought to moving out of our overvalued house and trading it in for a much larger house in a cheaper neighborhood, wiping out most of our other debt in the process. Logically, it would have made a lot of sense, so naturally we decided not to (6/20). We’ve been much happier ever since.

The only problem was that the huge chunk of equity we were sitting on wasn’t doing us a lick of good. I realize the word “problem” is a crashing misnomer here, to the point where I’m wishing the same “problem” on everyone I know. It’s just that as nice as it is to know that we could clean up if we decided to sell, it’s not like you can easily convert equity into shiny metal disks that you can feed into vending machines or something. Or send to creditors, for that matter. Sure, we could take out a home equity loan and have plenty of dollar bills to slip into g-strings all over town, but that would just mean more debt, and more payments, and I’m willing to wait until the next model year of Lamborghinis comes out rather than commit to signing away another slice of our paychecks every month.

Fortunately, I married a smart lady.

Trash figured out that if we simply refinanced, we could save a fair amount of money simply by consolidating our various loans into a new mortgage. That way we’d be paying down the same amount of debt, but at today’s low, low mortgage rates rather than the usurious interest payments that we’ve been paying to that unibrowed guy named Bandsaw over on East Lake Street. We’d have less debt, lower payments, and still get to stay in our house. Brilliant! We free up more of our income and everybody wins. Theoretical funds change hands and the world keeps turning. This is what a free economy is all about.

Trash has years of experience in the mortgage industry (so do I, but not as many, plus that was years ago, plus I’ve put a great deal of effort into forgetting everything I learned there), plus she’s able to do math, so she was kind enough to take care of getting the whole thing set up, from getting the house appraised to scheduling the closing. All I had to do was show up and sign a bunch of papers. Naturally, I couldn’t even get that right.

We’ve refinanced before a couple of times, and the closings have always been in an office building twelve blocks from where I work. That’s where I went today. I was waiting for the elevator before I realized that I was in the wrong place. Oops. It’s not Trash’s fault. She told me last week that the closing was at a different location this time, but I learn by seeing and doing. When my brain does a Google search on “mortgage closing,” my experience and place memory will trump a conversational exchange every time. Hence my ending up at the wrong place. Fortunately, I had a letter from the title company with me, and they had been thoughtful enough to provide the correct address on the letterhead for the benefit of morons just like myself, lest we show up at the front desks of random offices all over the metro area demanding mortgage closings. Even more fortunately, the correct place was just another eight blocks up the road. Unfortunately, I overshot the entrance to the parking lot and had to sit through three traffic lights just to get back. Oops. I was about ten minutes late for the closing time. I spend precious seconds glaring at a red left-turn arrow, threatening it with dire punishments if I didn’t get to the closing before all the money went on its lunch break.

Trash was already there, of course, and we went into the closing and its standard intensive session of signing and initialing. Early on, it became apparent that one of the institutions involved had failed to execute a small but vital step. This was the stuff by which deals are broken and closings are postponed and names are called, but Trash simply whipped out her cell phone and got it taken care of in ninety seconds flat. She’s my hero. I, meanwhile, facilitated the process by refraining from drooling all over the paperwork and remembering how to spell my initials.

And yet, as stupid as I am, they’re still going to let me stop by the office to pick up a check for a nice sum in a few days. I love this country.

posted by M. Giant 3:19 PM 0 comments


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