"No hay mal que por bien no venga." That's one of my mom's favorite phrases. Translated, it means: There is no bad from which good does not come. Now, regardless of how much it sounds like a Yoda quote, I feel it does hold true. The phrase we most commonly use is "Everything happens for a reason". It's a phrase that makes us feel better about a bad situation and has us seeking the proverbial silver lining in the cloud. I believe in it whole-heartedly, but I do feel it's often overused. Today, I've been over-using that phrase in my heads for hours.
Lee and I have been trying to buy a house, quite literally, all year. Our process began back in January when we decided to take a stab on a house that is exactly six doors down from the home we're currently renting. It's a gorgeous house with a three-car garage, open foyer area, wall-to-wall tile in the first floor, and a pool with a hot tub. It's almost too perfect. The house was available as a short sale and we knew the process could be time consuming. The principle lien holder accepted our offer and I thought we were all set. Then the secondary lien holder wanted an adjustment to their payout amount. The first lien holder agreed to the adjustment, the paperwork went back to be redone, and then the whole thing just died on the vine. After six weeks of 'WTF?' waiting, Lee and I decided to walk and look at buying a house the old-fashioned way. What makes it more frustrating is that lien holder one and lien holder two have since merged and are now the same bank. Thank you for that, WaMu and Chase!
We asked our Realtor to pull some listings and found two great houses we loved. The first one got an A+ ranking. The second house received an A++. We weren't even done seeing the second home when we turned to our Realtor and said, "This is the house. Let's do it. This is the house we want." We were giddy like kids on Christmas Eve. The excitement was palpable and we were already envisioning filling our home with friends and family for parties, get-togethers and cookouts. Thirty minutes later our Realtor called. Turns out the listing agent for the A++ house is also the owner and he'd just bought the house and was trying to flip it. Well, that's fine and dandy, except for the fact we were approved for an FHA loan and you can't use an FHA loan to buy a house that was purchased by someone else in the previous ninety days. Thanks for that, non-full-disclosure listing agent and government regulations!
We took in a deep breath and exhaled.
The good news was we still had the A+ house available, and we decided to make an offer on that one. A good friend of mine who is a home builder came out and did the inspection and said the house was basically flawless. We had our bank work up a new Good Faith Estimate for the property, and the sellers both accepted our offer and agreed to contribute money towards closing costs. The home appraisal came back slightly above the selling price, the bank underwriter formally approved our mortgage, and we were all set. Excellent!
Then came word our lender decided to run a corollary review of the houses in the same neighborhood and some houses sold for far less than the asking price of the house we were purchasing. Our lender decided to have a second appraisal performed and that one came in at $15k less than the first. The inability for both us and the sellers to make up this gap, not to mention mutual level of frustration directed at our lender, killed the deal. I can go on for pages on how I feel about the tactic employed by my lender, but I will spare you the rant. All I will say is; Thank you for that, SunTrust!
So here we are, back at square one, with no new home and our same month-to-month lease. Lee and I have decided to take a breather from the whole house purchase thing, regroup, and give it a go again early next year. I am, however, surprisingly not as upset or disappointed as I thought I would be. Yes, I was livid at first and I know I definitely burned bridges with the mortgage agent at SunTrust who was helping us (I basically killed the messenger, but I did so in a classically and poetically written flaming email, so I don't feel too bad about it). Still, I know there are worse things in life, and fretting over a house – or should I say houses – that never was is not tops on my priority list.
I know I will chalk this up as a learning experience, and I will be more confident as a consumer when we try this again next year. I look at the ups and downs of this roller coaster ride and I smile because I think about the many friends who lent an ear or gave their advice and guidance through the process. I am once again reminded of my beautiful circle for family and friends, and what a blessing it is to have them. I remind myself to put this all into perspective. There are thousands of individuals who will go to bed tonight on the streets because they have no home, rented, owned or otherwise. My children have a roof over their heads, my wife and I have a roof over our heads, and we're very comfortable – and blessed – with all we have.
To be upset about our house deal falling through today would be silly. After all, everything happens for a reason.