Closing on a Home

loanHas anyone taken out a mortgage or closed on a home recently? Holy shit!

There isn’t a single day that’s gone by where I haven’t had to email or fax statements, transactions, and responses to questions from the real estate team, the mortgage team, the insurance team, and the title company. I’m convinced that you have to work a day job and be available online with access to all of your financial accounts to get this thing closed. It has been insane.

Here’s an example of one of the many items that the underwriter dug into.

Underwriter: We need you to verify payment of your rent for the past year.

Me: Sure, here’s our landlord’s home phone and cell phone number.

Underwriter: We can’t verify the information since he’s an individual and not an official rental property management company.

Me: So what do you want me to do? He’s the one who owns the building.

Underwriter: We need you to prove that you paid rent every month.

Me: Here are my checking account transactions.

Underwriter: Why do you pay your rent in cash?

Me: That’s something you should ask the landlord.

Underwriter: How come sometimes you withdrew $1720 and sometimes $1740. I thought you said your rent was $1700.

Me: The rent is $1700! Sometimes we withdrew extra cash. What does it matter to you?!

Underwriter: We’re going to need you to sign a statement saying that your rent is $1700.

As background, I work for the company that I’m getting the loan from. They know how much I get paid every two weeks, what my annual bonuses have been, my stock allotment, and how much sits in my 401k account. What does it matter what my historical rent history has been? All that matters is that I make enough to be able to pay the mortgage on my own, and that doesn’t even include my husband’s compensation. So what is the big deal. So stressful and frustrating!

For those of you wanting to buy a home and thinking that saving enough for the down payment is enough, it’s not. You need to have a large excess amount of money on reserve even after your down payment and the fees are accounted for.

Welcome to home ownership! And I thought having the winning offer was the hard part.

Pregnancy Question #2: Diaper Decisions

diaperMama readers, I need your help. I’m stumped. Everything I’ve read so far has led me to believe that cloth diapers (over the duration of diapering your child) are less expensive than disposables. If that’s the case, that cloth is cheaper and also better for the environment, why don’t I know a single person who has ever used cloth? It’s all about Huggies or Pampers.

I’ve also looked into diaper delivery services in San Francisco (both cloth and compostable options) and I find the prices to be unbelievably reasonable–similar to the cost of getting your daily fix of caffeine at Starbucks.

Can I ask what diapers you use/used?

How did you decide on that brand or service, and why?

Would love your thoughts within the comments of my blog (versus Facebook) for all future generations of mamas who have the same question.

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Take a look at my previous pregnancy question and how readers responded:

Pregnancy Question #1: Epidural vs Drug-Free

What We Can Learn from Justin Bieber

'Justin Bieber:  2011 Golden Globe Awards Dressy' photo (c) 2011, iloveJB123 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Justin Bieber has a special place in my heart because he took on the Philippines (my parents’ native land) as one of his charitable causes, raising over $3 million in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. I am heartened that he used his influence to rally so many of his fans to assist when tragedy struck. Obviously the kid is no saint, as he was recently arrested for a DUI, drag racing, and drug possession.

We see this happen repeatedly: child stars with so much fame and power, spiraling out of control. It’s easy to shake our heads and criticize, but how many of us can truly understand what is going on. We’ve never been exposed to such wealth and celebrity.

Justin is a mere 19 years old. Let me tell you what I was doing when I was that age. I was fresh out of the dorms, living in a small 3-bedroom apartment with four other girls. Sure I was living away from my parents and on my own, and yes I consumed my fair share of alcohol underage. But I was also disciplined because unless I wanted to fail out of Biology and Organic Chemistry, I needed to be focused and I needed to study my ass off, if ever I wanted to live a life that didn’t consist of eating Top Ramen for dinner.

Contrast my life with Justin’s. He’s not wanting for anything. He’s achieved fame, fortune. He has nothing to strive for. We can dismiss his life as another celebrity gone wrong. It’s not something that can statistically happen to our normally raised kids. Yet how often do we see addictions manifesting in young adults, prevalent underage drinking and drug use, and teenage pregnancy?

Where is Justin’s mother? She seems to be praying, as she has called on the public to refrain from criticizing and join her in praying for her son. While I’m a firm believer in prayer, I also believe that God helps those who help themselves. Justin’s mom needs to be by her son’s side like a fly on shit. He’s become an immature spoiled brat, lacking guidance, and needs discipline. Children need and crave discipline!

Are you your child’s best friend? If so, that’s a RED FLAG. My husband is my best friend. My kid will never be my best friend. I am there to advise, guide, and discipline. That is a parent’s job. If ever you suspect your kid is going off the rails, heed my words: LIKE A FLY ON SHIT. You should know who their friends are, who their friends’ parents are, where they are at all times, what they like and dislike, what motivates them. Be a parent, not a friend.

San Francisco Ballet Gala

sfballet2Yesterday Dean and I dressed up for a rare night out: the San Francisco Ballet Gala.

I love the ballet and I’m so lucky that my husband enjoys it as much as I do. When I’ve brought guy friends to the ballet before, they always seemed to nod off. But our son will be different. I could feel him kicking up a storm during the performances last night. I can’t wait to take him with mommy and daddy to the Nutcracker!

The gala, which raised a record $2.4 million for the SF Ballet, kicked off the 81st season of the company–the oldest ballet company in the U.S. The dancers performed 12 pieces that give a representation of the repertoire for the season. It’s like watching the Best Of.

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Farewell Apartment, I Will Miss You

We bought a home. I’m still in shock. I will share those details in a future post, but I thought it would be helpful to describe our beloved home for the past three years.

757 sutterDear 757 Sutter Street #305, San Francisco, CA 94109,

Every day that I walk into the apartment, I feel so blessed to call you home. Despite the grittiness of the surrounding Lower Nob Hill neighborhood, you are bright, welcoming and always warm.

I will miss the proximity to some of our favorite restaurants (Ryoko’s, Osha Thai, Sweet Woodruff, Le Colonial). And even though work was only a 15 minute walk away, I could rely on a steady stream of buses and cable cars to get me there while I caught up on work emails. With Union Square only three blocks away, I truly felt like I lived in the pounding heart of San Francisco.

You only charged us $1,700 rent including parking, which will now increase to $2,500 (without parking) for the next tenants. Parking in our part of town is unheard of.

Sure there are aggressive homeless people who dot our street corners, but I have always felt so safe living in a large rickety old apartment complex. One time I left and forgot my house keys outside our apartment door when I was rushing in with groceries. They remained there all day and all night, until the next morning when I clucked around like a confused chicken wondering why I couldn’t find my keys.

We never had to worry about the unpredictable SF weather affecting our central heating. Dean and I are always wearing boxers and tees in the apartment; it’s that hot.

I treasure the memories we’ve shared here. We only have a little time left before we leave for our new home in Glen Park. Please excuse me while I shed some tears.

xoxo,

Catherine

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For anyone who is looking for an apartment, our beautiful 1-bedroom is available in early to mid-February for $2,500. All utilities included. Parking is additional. Includes 4 closet spaces, including 2 walk-in closets.

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