Tall, Dark, and Mysterious


I’m not signing anything until I read it, or someone gives me the gist of it

File under: Righteous Indignation, Talking To Strangers, Oh, Give Me A Home. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 9:44 am.

Some exciting developments on the home-buying front: I have a banker and a mortgage broker fighting for my business! It’s not often that I have people fighting over me, so I am milking this opportunity for all it’s worth, shamelessly playing the two parties off of one another, and deliberately holding off on making any commitments until that magical deadline, ten days before closing. And, oh, the desperation is a thing to behold. “I can understand that you’d want to talk to your bank about getting a better deal,” wheedled the broker, “but do you really want to go with someone who doesn’t give you their best offer up front, and makes you go back and forth negotiating for something better?”

I replied that 1) actually, yes I did, because the only reason that I was getting better offers to begin with was because of the competition - ain’t the market economy grand; and 2) the broker himself hadn’t offered me his best deal up front, and I’d only told him I’d sign with him if he could negotiate with the bank to get me an interest rate that was 0.05% lower, which he was able to secure without difficulty, so what’s with the sudden “best offer first” ethic? Fair enough, said the broker.

Anyway, I’ll probably go with the broker anyway, assuming I can get some kinks in the contract worked out, where by “kinks” I mean “the part that has me making a huge down payment and taking out a huge loan for the mortgage, thereby having me pay an extra $15,000 (!) that is not accounted for, and could you please issue me a contract where that is not the case?” Assuming that gets fixed, I’m in better shape than I would be if I went with the bank, who offered me (this part was uttered in quiet tones by the banker) “a slightly higher interest rate”, but (more loudly) WITH ONE PERCENT CASH BACK!!1!1!!! on the amount of the mortgage. And that’s a lot of money! Think about that! Over a thousand dollars in my pocket!

I thought about it, but my thought process involved a calculator, which revealed that the over a thousand dollars in my pocket would be more than absorbed by the close to two thousand dollars in extra interest. Well, that’s true, said the banker, but…. I guess could use this as a springboard to another rant about innumeracy, but it’s not even that: even someone who can’t compute these things by hand could make use of any number of online mortgage calculators, which make the comparison process quite easy indeed.

Maybe I’ll try to find a third mortgage specialist, but time is running out.

[Credit where it’s due.]


  1. You go, MS!

    My last experience with buying a house was misery incarnate and I still gnash my teeth over the “forgotten fee” that mysteriously appeared on the bill from the title search company after being omitted from their original “good faith estimate”. By some weird, weird, weird coincidence, the extra fee was just about the same amount as the refund I was getting from my real estate agent for part of her commission (for reasons of her own, she was giving me a discount). The title search company’s increased fee very neatly ate that up.

    Scum-sucking bottom-dwellers…

    - Zeno — 4/8/2006 @ 10:29 am

  2. “I thought about it, but my thought process involved a calculator.” Words to live by.

    - Tom Harrison — 4/8/2006 @ 10:56 am

  3. It’s scary, actually, how many people don’t read contracts or agreements before they sign them.

    - Chris Phan — 4/8/2006 @ 12:31 pm

  4. Oh, reading the contract was horribly painful, and I admit that I quite likely wouldn’t have done it if signing it didn’t amount to signing away my life savings and a good chunk of my next twenty (ugh) years’ worth of paycheques.

    I also confess that I couldn’t bring myself to read through the two years’ of condo meeting minutes that my agent gave me. (The condo board voted to replace the plants by the entrance in 2004! Did the residents want coleus or poinsettias? The answer, after four pages of deliberation: how about a little bit of each?)

    - Moebius Stripper — 4/8/2006 @ 1:52 pm

  5. So you might leave your first condo meeting crying — out of frustration.

    - wolfa — 4/8/2006 @ 7:20 pm

  6. Perhaps one might think the the Canadian dollar will collapse in the next few years, so it is better to have $1 000 now.

    - r6 — 4/8/2006 @ 10:38 pm

  7. Whatever you do, don’t get on the condo committee/board. Holy crap is that an exercise in stupidity.

    - meep — 4/9/2006 @ 4:43 pm

  8. I remember having a guy try to sell me on the retirement savings fund when I started a new job. I told him that I’d calculated that if I contributed $10,000 a year, the fund would have to earn 6.5% interest in the initial year simply to pay the fees (or in other words, keep its nominal value, or keep the same value as if I’d just stashed the $10,000 under my mattress). I further told him that based on past returns, the best I could hope for was another 2%, which wouldn’t cover taxes and inflation. So I was putting my money in the bank.

    I think he was rather surprised.

    - Tracy W — 4/9/2006 @ 8:49 pm

  9. One would assume this particular condo is not one you’re looking at?

    - wolfa — 4/10/2006 @ 5:17 am

  10. r6 - naw, that’s the American dollar you’re thinking of ;)

    meep - You couldn’t pay me enough to join the condo board. However, if they replace the poinsettias with geraniums without consulting me first, heads are gonna roll.

    wolfa - Hey, what gives, you giving away my address? We who work in the lucrative education industry live high, you know. [ETA: I mean, if I were only shelling out half a million, I’d be living in a place like this. (via comments.)]

    - Moebius Stripper — 4/10/2006 @ 11:22 am

  11. I’m surprised the banker didn’t respond to your thought/calculations by offering to sweeten the deal to $2,000 cash back for an even (slightly) higher interest rate.

    You know what they say, a buck in the hand is worth two in the bank…

    - Declan — 4/10/2006 @ 6:05 pm

  12. It’s no longer listed in the top 10 on that google search page, but I think Hugh Chou’s collection of mortgage and other financial calculators is still the best. Source code available, too.

    - Jeff Boulier — 4/16/2006 @ 9:25 am

  13. […] for the love of God, diversify them within the same goddamned bank. Trust me on this one. The mortgage broker […]

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