Yesterday was a great day! My new friend Kathleen purchased her first home, a condo in Mays Chapel and Margaret Rome was her buyer's agent!
Kathleen is blessed by a wonderful grandmother and her grandmother is blessed by Kathleen. Her grandmother told Kathleen it was time for her to buy a place of her own and Kathleen agreed. The search for the right property began.
In searching the internet for information on condos in Baltimore, of course she noticed that Margaret Rome's name kept popping up on every search. Margaret suggested that Kathleen talk to me about financing. When she called, we hit it off immediately.
We talked about her options and her concerns. We talked about the fact that condo financing can be more difficult than ever before. We ran the numbers and determined the monthly payment she was comfortable paying. A comfortable payment for most folks may be a far cry from what a lender or program may deem acceptable.
With a pre-qualification in hand, they made an offer, a contract was ratified. After a review of the condo docs, Kathleen determined it wasn't the right property for her. Things got busy in work and in life for her, so she decided to put her search on hold. I followed up on a regular basis to check in, to let her know Margaret and I were available if she needed us for anything.
In March Kathleen was ready to start looking again. She saw "a couple of stinkers", but found a "clear winner" in one of the Mays Chapel Communities in Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland. The condo wouldn't be available until June, which worked out perfectly for Kathleen. We got in touch with the listing agent, Trish Thiebult of O'Conor and Mooney, to determine the warrantability of the condo. Trish put me in touch with the condo management company. After some back and forth, we found that the property passed all the criteria for warrantability. We were ready to move forward. The appraisal and home inspection were ordered.
At that time we determined that although Kathleen's credit score was good, it could be better in the eyes of Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae charges a premium for lending based on credit scores. An improvement in her score would save her quite a bit of money. I suggested some items to pay off or pay down. Since we had time, Kathleen followed my suggestions and requested zero balance letters from the creditors. It took a while for the balance letters to come through, so we requested a "rapid rescore" from the credit agencies. This would allow them to use the new credit information to update the score before it would naturally be updated. Although there is a charge of $30 per tradeline, per bureau, the client can't be legally charged this fee. Since it was in the best interest of the client, we placed the order even though the improvement in score is not guaranteed. Success! We got the points we needed, updated all the required income and asset documents and submitted the loan package including the appraisal.
The title was ordered from Stephen Cooper of American Home Title, a new blogger on Active Rain who took Margaret Rome and Marni Kirk's class on blogging at the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors. We met at the second installment of that class geared to the Rookie Society. I really liked how Stephen presented himself and his company. Margaret became his blogging mentor.
This was a dream team of buyer, seller, agents, title and, of course, lender.
Kathleen was a dream buyer. I had warned her that we might would probably need additional information once the underwriter reviewed it, and then once they reviewed the conditions. Each time I contacted Kathleen, she immediately responded with the information needed.
The seller was lovely, having lived in the property for over 20 years. She was ready to move on to her next condo, but she had obviously formed some wonderful friendships over the years at Mays Chapel. She even invited Kathleen to her going away party held by the neighbors.
Both agents were responsive and professional. They knew what they were doing and they truly cared about their clients needs.
Debbie Shipley, the processor at American Home Title got me everything I needed in a timely manner. She was very professional and knowledgable. The HUD-1 was fully approved the day BEFORE settlement. Stephen Cooper handled the closing himself, explaining each document to the buyer as she signed. He ensured that everything was clear and Kathleen sure seemed very comfortable and confident as she signed each document.
The closing was smooth and animated. We learned about the seller's, (Ms. Judith) extensive travels, and that Trish had been friends with Ms. Judith's son since Junior High. The seller was accompanied by Barbara Soth, Senior Trust Advisor, Vice President of PNC Bank. The seller and Ms. Soth had become friends after helping to settle the estate when the Ms. Judith's husband passed away almost 25 years before. She became not only a "Trust Advisor" but a trusted advisor and friend. They even traveled to Williamsburg together on vacation!
New relationships formed because of Active Rain and long term relationships built over time, all led to a very smooth and enjoyable settlement!
Congratulations Kathleen and Ms. Judith. May you enjoy your new homes and as Margaret said, "Fill them with LOVE!" and wonderful memories!
P.S. Thanks Margaret for a wonderful celebration dinner at Tark's Grill, I really enjoyed the time with you and Kathleen!
If you are considering purchasing a home in Maryland and want to be sure you are mortgage ready, my brother Tony and I will be happy to help! We help to make the mortgage process a pleasure!
If you already own your home, we are happy to provide a no-cost mortgage review to help you to determine if refinancing may be in your best interest. Please contact me at 410-960-2061.