Monday, August 27, 2007

My experience with closing on a house in the US housing market-August 2007

I can give you my personal experience on an escrow process that took place during August. We had made an offer on a home being offered by a flipper in a rural community within 20 miles of Portland, OR. We expected to close the first week of August, and used a major bank based in Seattle as our lender. We had successfully closed the sale of our home in another state that first week of August and expected the closing on our purchase of this existing home quickly.

I had plenty of cash for a downpayment and a good credit score. The escrow process was a nightmare. The bank would literally call each day and ask for a new piece of documentation. They should have given me a list up front, but instead dragged it out. Then one day, the branch lending officer called me up and told me the underwriters wanted an extra 5% down. Fortunately for me and my family, I had realized enough cash from my sale that I just had to say, "No problem, do it." I imagine there are a lot of folks out there that received the same message from their lenders and couldn't come up with the cash.

Then the bank's underwriting department didn't seem to think that closing my loan was particularly important, as we would send them the information requested and then hear nothing for an entire day. I had my attorney send the bank branch an email asking why the bank didn't consider the closing an urgent matter and I called and complained to the branch manager as well. Their response was that the underwriting department (located in Chicago) wasn't being very responsive. So we finally get the keys two weeks after the original expected closing date. Of course, this was all going on at the same time that the credit markets were seizing up, so I had a few heart palpitations there. This is just my story, but I suspect that there are quite a few others out there who could relate.

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