Posted by: Paraic | July 30, 2008

The mortgage situation up close

Glad to see (sort of) on CNN Money that while foreclosure filings are up 120% in the US, Syracuse is one of the handful of places that has remained relatively unscathed:

“On the other hand, there were a handful of metro areas that remained relatively unscathed. Honolulu, at one filing for every 1,331 households had the lowest rate of all, followed by Allentown, Pa. (one for every 972) and Syracuse, N.Y. (one for every 880).”

Of course, Syracuse NY has always had a low cost of housing (in terms of the cost of a house – don’t get me started on the property taxes).  Our 2,000 sq. ft. 4-bed home went on the market March 19th at $175,000.  It was slow going for a couple of months, followed by a couple of decisions along the way to bring our price down a little given the state of the market.  We had one buyer make an unreasonable offer and determined that they really couldn’t afford the house, so we let that one pass.  Then in mid-July we found our buyers who came in with a good offer and wanted to close quickly (no later than July 25th).  At that point, we were priced at $160,000 and accepted $159,000 [people here can’t figure out now how you can buy a 2,000 sq. ft. 4 bed house anywhere for roughly €100,000].

But then the mortgage situation in the US kicks in.  The contract stipulated July 9th as the date our buyers would have their formal letter of commitment from their bank… and July 9th came and went.  In fact July 25th, the original must-close-by date, came and went without even a commitment letter.  In the meantime, we were furiously trying to pack up all our stuff (not insigificant given 10 years in the house and 3 kids, who were all born there – and did I mention a huge attic in the house, so things tended to get ‘saved’) and organize shipping to Ireland, so we were happy for a while to go along with things.

Unfortunately, we have no insight into exactly what’s going on with the delay except that it’s ‘the bank’.  Apparently there have been multiple requests back to our buyers for more information or updates on information already provided… but it had gotten to the point yesterday that we decided to give until this Friday for the letter of commitment to show up – otherwise we were going to have to start thinking about stepping back from this contract and showing our house again.

It’s a rollercoaster ride – having your house on the market in this envrionment, having now moved our family and ‘stuff’ (in transit) out of the country, not knowing absolutely for sure that this contract is going to close, and maybe we’ll be back to square one…

…but that was last night.  This morning, I got word that our buyers had gotten their formal commitment from the bank… now we just need to satisfy all the closing conditions and get this wrapped up.

You’ll hear my sigh when I get the cheque! (I just wrote cheque! – it used to be check!).


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