This ramble is meant to serve as instruction of how to apply for a pre-approved mortgage online. Take what I share with you and see how far you can get before you tear your hair out.
First, though, an update on the whole getting 10 to 40% of the down payment for a house for free from the Government. When I first found out about this program I went to the Housing Corporation’s website and followed their direction and sent an e-mail to one of their people asking for more information and an application form. He told me that I’d have to contact their receptionist to book an appointment/interview for the application process…but, they were moving offices and she wouldn’t be reachable for a week. Good time to move – when you’re insanely busy with a new initiative.
So, I calmly waited until the day I was told she’d be accessible and called. I got the general government switchboard and was told they were still moving and should be available to call the next day. Okay. I can handle that…things go wrong sometimes. I waited. I called back the next day. Same operator. She offered to take a message for me. I asked if the person was on e-mail during the move and was told that yes, in fact that’s how she’d be sending the message I leave. I suggested I e-mail her directly, which she said would be a grand idea.
Now, I know how the world works. You have to be super pleasant to receptionists. Often, they decide who gets past them or not. You want to see the president of a company, don’t be a prick to the receptionist because even if you have the most important thing to discuss, they may not let you through. With that in mind, I sent this woman a pleasant e-mail asking if I could be scheduled for an appointment – at their convenience – for this program. I went out of my way to be understanding of moving offices and such things, without obviously sucking up (that’s sometimes just as bad). She responded that I should wait another few days and then I could call and make an appointment. Shiite. Okay.
I waited…more days and called and actually connected to her. Turns out she’s not the brightest flashlight in the Disneyland light parade. She had trouble typing in my name and phone number, repeatedly asking me to repeat it and I could hear her typing – v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Right. I type about 110 wpm and while I don’t expect people to go this fast, I expect a receptionist to be able to type faster than a high school student. Whatever…I wasn’t going to gain or lose points on how I treat her – that was obvious.
My appointment – their next available was the following Wednesday – tomorrow, August 28 at 2:00 pm.
I requested and received a letter confirming my employment and salary and sat back. I knew that I didn’t have copies of my 1999, 2000 and 2001 Revenue Canada tax assessments, but I figured I could bring in copies of the tax returns I filed instead…I figured they’d be enough. That said, I did buzz by the Government of Canada website, found the Revenue Canada section and found a place to send them a message/request and did submit a request to receive copies of the three years’ assessments. I never heard back from them via e-mail, so figured it was sucked into the big government void. To my surprise, on Monday (yesterday) when I checked my snail mail, I had a package from Revenue Canada with copies of my assessments! Bonus! I had everything I needed to qualify for this program. Okay…not everything. One of the requirements is that I be pre-approved for a mortgage. I knew I could get this within half an hour of sitting online, so figured I’d just leave it and deal with it after I get approved. Then, my brain woke up and said to me “you’ve got EVERYTHING they want except the pre-approval – it doesn’t cost you anything – get the bloody pre-approval so you have it in hand when you walk into the appointment”. For a change, I listened to myself and ventured forth to bank websites.
I started at my own. I went into their electronic pre-approval application section and started plugging in information about me, my financial situation and everything else they were asking. When I finally hit “submit”, it came back with errors that I had not entered Co-Applicant information – their name, address, employer, etc. Huh? There IS no co-applicant. Had I missed something?
I backed up and looked around – there was no yes/no question for co-applicant and in fact, there was no mention of co-applicant except space to enter a co-applicant’s financial information. I went through that entering “n/a”s and zeros and hit “submit” again. Same errors. I backed up right to the start to ensure I didn’t miss something. Nope. They never asked me if I had a co-applicant, nor asked what their name is or where they work, but they continued to fart back errors because I hadn’t told them that information. Bloody hell. I went into a “Contact Us” section and sent them a snarky e-mail about how I was now proceeding to another online bank application for my pre-approval and that I may or may not return for my actual mortgage because satisfying me is largely based on how convenient they made it. So far, they were losing.
Next, I was off to the Royal Bank. They seem friendly enough. I plugged in all the information, but, where they would normally ask how much you owe on your credit cards, they asked what my limit is. Wuh? My VISA people just increased my limit and decreased my interest rate because I’m being all responsible ‘n’ shit. Sure enough, the Royal Bank held it against me and told me I’d only be eligible to borrow about $92,000 because they counted my “available credit” as used credit. Fuck off. That’s not fair at all if I’m managing my credit responsibly and have a good credit rating. NEXT!
Okay…I’m to CIBC now. I have a thing against the CIBC because of a few experiences I’ve had in the local branch. My VISA is through them, though I never deal with the peons at the counters – I’m an online and telephone kinda guy. My big story with them is that it took me 40 minutes to get $200 in travelers cheques a few years ago…U.S. travelers cheques. There was a whole discussion because I actually wanted $50 cash and $150 in cheques. They only had $20 values sold in $100 chunks. I said fine, I’ll take $200 and cash in $60 immediately if they had American cash. They said they did and I could do that. I’m going way off on a tangent here. Welcome to my life. Anyway…40 minutes later I had the cheques, signed three $20’s and handed them back…and the girl asked me for identification. Fuuuuuck! The experience ended with me going into a customer service manager type’s office to tell them how unimpressed I was and how I would never bring my banking to them because of such events. The manager person didn’t seem to care, telling me it was their policy to treat me as they did. Wow…they INSIST I get treated like that…out of principle! Anyway, I called their toll-free number and shared with a woman there who told me the local branch were idiots and that I was completely in the right. I’ve since realized that I rarely if ever go into my own branch. As I said, I’m an online, telephone and bank machine kinda guy. It doesn’t really matter where I bank, as long as they don’t let the morons touch the machines I’m dealing with.
So…the CIBC online application. It actually went quite well until I got down to banking information. They wanted to know where my current bank is, account numbers and balances. I figured it wasn’t any of their goddamn business what my account numbers are, but I’d tell them the bank name and my balance since it’s relevant to the application. Then, they wanted to know my credit cards, their account numbers and balances. Again, mostly none of their business except for that I have my VISA with them. I figure they could bloody well look it up if they cared that much. I told them it was a VISA with them and my balance of squat.
The machine then told me a human had to look at it (oh…good thing I applied online!) and that they’d get back to me the next day – here’s your secret name and password to get the results.
Next…ING Direct. They’re a virtual bank that has amazing interest rates. Their mortgage rates were a few percentage marks lower than the big banks. Their online application was kinda fun – it was all pull-down boxes. Then, they asked me how much I wanted pre-approval for…I told them. After, they wanted to know the value of the property. Uh…what property? I’m going for pre-approval…not purchase. There is no actual property in play yet. Fine…I gave them the same amount. Later, they wanted to know the square footage of the building. What building?! Didn’t we make it clear already this is pre-approval in your own drop-down menu? Weren’t you paying attention? I picked a random number that would be about a house and hit “submit”.
You are not approved. Excellent. The fun part is that they didn’t actually say why, but gave suggestions like – you may not have provided enough of a down payment. Great…except that their application form didn’t ask me how much of a down payment I was going to provide. Other suggestions why I wasn’t approved referred to question numbers and the question that both didn’t match up with the application form AND didn’t even exist on the application. I don’t think I want to deal with them if they can’t get their own form right.
I went to bed a little deflated thinking I was going to have to make a real-live appointment at my bank which could take a week or more to get…but my appointment is on Wednesday. I called my bank this morning and they actually said they could take me today – this afternoon. That was a little soon – all my paperwork was at home and I was too busy at work to disappear. They scheduled me in for noon tomorrow. Then, of course I have my Housing Corporation meeting at 2:00 pm. Lookin’ good.
Tonight when I got home from work I had a couple of excitedly worded e-mail from CIBC telling me I was definitely approved for the amount I asked for…and I could have more if I chose to do so. I printed that pre-approval certificate and will bring it with me to the bank meeting I have tomorrow, as well as have it for the Housing Corporation meeting in case mine doesn’t go quickly enough. CIBC seems to actually be interested in my business. I don’t much care where I bank and will tell my mortgage interview person tomorrow that if CIBC gets my mortgage, they get all my accounts – I’m not flipping between banks to do different things. If my banks wants to keep me, they can bloody well work for it.
So…tonight I have all my papers organized and ready to go. I’m anxious about the whole process and have a list of questions ready for the Housing Corporation guy, the leading one being “when will I find out if I’m approved?” A driving factor right now is that my current lease expires at the end of August…days away. By the end of the month I need to either sign another six-month lease, or give my two-months notice that I’ll be moving out ’cause I’m approved and buying a home. I of course had to drive by the place I’m still watching on my way home to see if it’s still for sale. The sign is still on it…that’s good.
I’m preparing myself to know that there’s no way they’ll approve me and hand me a cheque for $40,000 tomorrow…but I also want to stay positive about the whole thing. I know this is all really boring for you if you haven’t bought a house yourself before, or borrowed money in mass quantities or anything like that. This is where my brain is right now, though.
The kids came back to school today. I’m finding myself going to bed earlier and earlier each night to build up the energy I need. I’m having to keep up with 700 students that all want and need individual attention and 60 teachers who equally need my attention. I cannot tell you how many times today I said “no problem!” in a cheerful and happy tone while being interrupted AGAIN from whatever I was trying to accomplish. They all start classes tomorrow, so hopefully things will calm down. I’ll be gone for 2 hours of the day for my financial meetings, so I’ll miss a good part of the afternoon excitement.
I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m hoping I’ll have amazing news and can call the owners of the house I’m stalking to ask for a viewing. I don’t want to waste their time unless I’m approved for everything and can actually afford to buy it. My dream right now is to be assured I’m approved, give two months notice and take possession of the new place in mid-October…or even the start of October so I have plenty of time to move in. I know I have to remain patient…not easy for me. Things will happen in their own good time.
Off to bed I go at 9:30 pm.
Charles…the wild man