Oh hello there, everyone! It's me: Grown-Up Pharon. I don't believe we've met. How wonderful to make your acquaintance. PSYCH. It's still me, regular ol' Pharon Square, but with a very grown-up day under my belt. That's right ladies and germs, I - your faithful blogger - have had my very first experience with Home Buying. Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuun! This afternoon, I got all spiffed up so as to appear to be a much more responsible woman who totally does NOT still watch Jem and the Holograms, and had an actual financial conversation with a mortgage lady who did something called "pre-approval". Now, there is NOTHING I crave more than getting pre-approved, but the whole experience was, uh, foreign and all mature-y and scary.
The gist of the meeting ended up pretty well. I'm a "great candidate" for buying a home, but I'm also a little light in the pockets, which puts my immediate home options somewhere between the Crack Stacks in Minneapolis and World's Smallest House in the 'burbs. Fine. There's room for improvement. But I learned SO much! And like any good adult, I think I should pass along what I know to you!
When someone says a ton of huge numbers all together, you start to lose focus and perspective. "Give or take $300" sounds pretty minor when compared to "A bazillion dollars per month". If I HAD "give or take $300", I'd be either homeless or using Kate Spade bags as disposable lunch bags. Quite a difference. And suddenly, I'm supposed to care about fractions of percentages? Say whaaaa? I lose track of decimals when I'm adding, I can't figure out division, and what the H is an "interest rate"? Ugh. MATH rears its ugly head again. When will it just leave me alone!?
Bank/mortgage folk get lots of swag. Tucked in my neat little folder, amongst all the colorful brochures with smiley, happy homeowners, was a magnet, a pad of sticky notes, and a pen. Uh, if leave all that stuff behind, can you take $13 off my appraisal fee?
Despite the fact that I explained, at length, that I know nothing about the home buying process, they will still say things like "And obviously when you're in escrow you'll want to blah blah blah FHA blah blah blah early-payment penalty." Not one thing in that sentence is "obvious" to me. Escrow? Riiiight. Esc-no, I have no idea what you are talking about.
Is it a COMPLIMENT or PATRONIZING to be called "extremely realistic"? After dragging my mortgage lady's expectations of me down to a less ridiculous level, she called me that. I can't tell how I'm supposed to take that just yet. I was in such foreign territory, I didn't know up from down, black from white, kind from kind-of-rude. I'm sure it was supposed to be a compliment, but I guess I just can't tell when someone is also telling me that they think I'm very responsible.
Going in to get pre-approved for a home is kiiiiind of like strolling through the super-crazy-fancy designer stores. You know, all the shiny expensive things are like right in front of you. You can reach out and touch and try on those Louboutins, for sure. And you can pretend for a little bit that you are definitely the kind of person who should own them, and so what? You'll have to spend more on them but they are an investment! You are at the age when you SHOULD HAVE THOSE SHOES. But at the end of it all, you don't get the shoes, just like you aren't going to buy your dream house. And even though the woman at the register says "Oh, you can just quick apply for a new credit card and save 10%. And they're on sale, which totally never happens so this really is the best time to buy", just FACE IT. You still can't get the shoes.
Despite the blatant reality checks I got today, I also learned real things too. Like, I totally can get a house on my own, if I'm really ready for it. And even though it sounds like a crap-load of work to get a house, I did get the sense of satisfaction just taking the first step. I felt very mature and responsible. Almost like a girl who WOULDN'T put four Miley Cyrus songs on a "Best of Summer" mix. Then again, it also means that I have to actually do RESEARCH, which is just a fancy word for "homework". And I think I'm a little old for homework, don't you?