You’ve gone through the long, tedious process of finding your perfect home… You have made an offer, it’s been accepted, and now it’s time to apply for a mortgage. Who do you turn to?
There’s a lot of banking options when it comes to mortgages and when it comes to selecting the right banking partner to help you get into your dream home. There are many things to consider. Most notably is the interest rate, the duration of the loan, closing costs, etc.
However, one thing that I learned after buying a few properties is that the bank you select should be a real consideration. Although the banks aggressively try to get your business, once you select a bank, the tides begin to shift, and that once friendly understanding bank suddenly becomes very difficult to deal with.
That is, if you select the wrong institution…
Once the process has started, switching to a new bank could be a costly decision, and shady banks know this. The process of switching would be a hassle for all the other parties involved, such as your realtor and your title company. In addition, if you were to switch after a few weeks, it might cause you to pay a significantly higher interest rate if interest rates are on the rise.
You don’t want that! So, picking the right company from the start is critical so that you can get into your dream home as smoothly as possible.
I learned this the hard way when I decided to go with an AmeriSave mortgage. After going through this process with other mortgage companies, including at the end of 2008 after the financial crisis, I had a reasonable understood how the mortgage process worked.
But I had an unfortunate wake-up call just a few weeks into my AmeriSave mortgage experience. From my perspective, the banking company was putting pressure on me just for sport. It seemed they almost took pleasure in making my life a living nightmare. Making me struggle to get documents that were difficult to acquire. The fact that they are asking me for some of these documents was absurd…
What type of documents, you might ask?
First was the number of documents. At first, it was 10, then 20, when I finally thought I was done, I had 10 more, then another 10. All in all, by the time I finally completed the process, I must’ve submitted somewhere between 50 and 60 documents.
Some of the oddest ones included:
- The current year K-1 tax documents from stocks that I didn’t even own anymore. I didn’t have those and unlike other documents, tracking those down proved to be extremely difficult. In the end, I learned that those documents didn’t even exist. Then I had to provide proof if they didn’t exist.
- I had the chase down one of my rental property’s HOA invoices. This shouldn’t have been a big deal, as I provided AmeriSave with the document initially, but as it turned out, the HOA invoice I provided was from the previous quarter, and that wasn’t good enough. I had to get the HOA invoice from the current quarter even though it was the same dollar amount.
- Since my wife had sent me a gift to help purchase the property, AmeriSave wanted the bank account statement from my partner. Not a big deal, I asked for it and received it. Unfortunately, they also demanded that she provide her other bank accounts that were NOT part of the gift. Why would someone not on loan have to provide bank accounts that have nothing to do with the loan? My partner was reluctant and for a good reason. What business is it of AmeriSave to demand to see someone’s private bank accounts that are not connected to the loan and not on loan? Good thing they did not ask for my mothers bank accounts!
- AmeriSave also required me to contact my accountant and have him write a letter stating that my business was currently active. This seemed like it didn’t make a lot of sense for several reasons. For one, I had been in business for almost 20 years, and I just gave them a fresh tax return. Did they think I would dissolve my business? Secondly, my accountant only does my annual return, so he doesn’t have any firsthand knowledge about my business other than what’s in my tax return, which AmeriSave already had. Finally, they had already provided my business was active by providing real-time statements showing company receipts. So, they can see with their eyeballs firsthand that money was coming into the company. So why did they want me to contact the third party who had less information than they did and plead that they would create a document for me? It’s one thing to make me chase down documents. Still, it’s even more complicated when I have to go to a third party and ask them to create a document, especially when that party doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of the information AmeriSave wants them to provide. Why would that even matter when they see the money being generated by the business. It would be like demanding a copy of a document when you already have the original.
It took some time, but after completing all the requirements, I finally got a Certified Loan Approval that was good for eight weeks! That should’ve been no problem because the loan was closing in four weeks. I worked hard to get everything they needed, including pleading with other parties to give me personal information or create letters for me to get the certified approval before we would lose our earnest money.
I was set… or was I?
One week before the closing, AmeriSave hits me with another huge list of requirements! What? Oh, No! Wasn’t I already certified? The official document I received stating I was certified is not real? Do I have to start this painful process again? Why did you wait nearly three weeks to tell me I would have to do all this again?
The first time I went through this process was stressful enough, but now I’ve already given my 30 days’ notice to my landlord and sold half my belongings in preparation for the move. I did this because I was relying on the fact that I was certified.
Now we have another massive list of new absurd requirements, despite already being certified.
- AmeriSave wanted a disclosure and waiver document from my broker. When I asked him for it, his response was, “Lol. I can honestly say I have never had a lender ask for those before!”
- AmeriSave wanted me to provide a lease agreement on my rental property because it wasn’t in my tax return… The problem was, it was in my tax return. Stop wasting my time!
- They wanted a copy of the earnest money check. The problem was we paid by wire, and they already have the wire documents. Are you morons?
- They want another letter from my accountant that my business is active. So now I have to contact my accountant again and ask them to write the same letter he wrote three weeks ago?
It’s like AmeriSave is making me do stuff just for the sake of making me do stuff. I frantically called and emailed my loan originator, trying to figure out what was going on, asking her to please call me ASAP. I received no return phone call. Instead, I got a short, dismissive email stating that I had been preapproved, but now a few things need to be updated.
However, that’s not the case! I had an official loan certified approval that was good for a specific amount and good for eight weeks. I sent another email asking her to contact me ASAP, and with only a week to go till closing, I think it was warranted, but I heard nothing back.
I ended up missing my closing date because they would not approve my loan. Again, they wanted more documents. I missed the second closing date because they were still late on approving me.
The worst part is, when they don’t approve the loan by the deadline, they delay the process. When the process gets delayed, many of the documents that were submitted now become old. So now they demand new documents again.
Wait… So I have to get new documents now because you did not do your job in time?
In the end, I must have submitted 120 to 140 different documents and missed two closing dates, finally closing right at the third deadline after complaining to AmeriSave management about my loan officer, who had no sense of urgency.
I got lucky to barely squeak through one of the most stressful situations of my life as the sellers were threatening to pull out, of I missed my third deadline.
In the end, it worked out okay, but I can tell you I would never work with AmeriSave again. My warning to all home buyers, unless you want to deal with lots of extra stress and a bank that could care less about their client’s closing date, stay far far away from AmeriSave.