You’ve been through a long and tedious process of finding your perfect home… You made an offer, it was accepted, and now it’s time to apply for a mortgage. Who do you turn for?
There are plenty of banking options when it comes to mortgages and when it comes to choosing the right banking partner to help you reach your dream home. There are many things to consider. Most notably the interest rate, loan term, closing costs, etc.
However, one thing I have learned after buying some real estate is that the bank you choose should be a real consideration. Although banks are trying very hard to get your business, once you choose a bank the tides start to turn and once this friendly understanding bank can be very difficult to deal with.
That is, if you select the wrong organization…
Once the process begins, switching to a new bank can be an expensive decision, and shady banks know this. The switch will be a hassle for all the other parties involved, such as your realtor and your company. Additionally, if you were to switch after a few weeks, it could cause you to pay a much higher interest rate if interest rates were on the rise.
You do not want that! So choosing the right company from the start is crucial so that you can get to 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 towards the end of 2008 after the financial crisis, I had a reasonable understanding of how the mortgage process worked.
But I got an unfortunate wake-up call just a few weeks into my mortgage experience at AmeriSave. From my point of view, the banking company was pressuring me just to exercise. They seem almost happy to make my life a living nightmare. It made me struggle to get documents that were hard to come by. The fact that they are asking me for some of these documents was ridiculous…
What kind of documents, you may ask?
The first was the number of documents. At first it was 10, then 20, when I finally thought I was done I had another 10, then 10. All in all, by the time I finally completed the process I should have submitted somewhere between 50 and 60 documents.
Among the strangest of them are the following:
K-1 tax documents for the current year of shares I no longer own. I did not have these documents, and unlike others, tracking them down turned out to be very difficult. In the end, I learned that these documents did not exist in the first place. Then I had to provide proof if they weren’t there.
I chased down one of my rental property’s HOA bills. It shouldn’t have mattered, as I presented AmeriSave with the document initially, but as it turned out, the HOA bill I submitted was from the previous quarter, and that wasn’t good enough. I had to get an HOA bill from the current quarter even though it was the same dollar amount.
Since my wife sent me a gift to help purchase the property, AmeriSave has requested my partner’s bank statement. No big deal, I ordered it and received it. Unfortunately, they also demanded that she provide other bank accounts that were not part of the gift. Why should someone who is not on a loan provide bank accounts unrelated to the loan? My partner was hesitant, and for good reason. What does AmeriSave do to claim to see someone’s private bank accounts that are not linked to the loan and are not borrowed? Good thing they didn’t ask for my mom’s bank accounts!
AmeriSave also required me to contact my accountant and have him write a letter saying my business was currently active. This didn’t seem to make much sense for several reasons. For example, I’ve been in business for nearly 20 years, and I’ve filed a new tax return for them. Did they think I would solve my business? Second, my accountant only does my annual return, so he has no direct knowledge of my business other than what’s on my tax return, which AmeriSave already had. Finally, they have already provided that my business is active by providing real-time data showing the company’s receipts. Therefore, they could see with their own eyes firsthand that money was coming into the company. So why did they ask me to contact the third party who had less information than they did and plead to create a document for me? It’s one thing that makes me chase documents. However, it’s 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 direct knowledge of the information AmeriSave wants to provide. Why it might even matter when they see the money the business generates. It will be like asking for a copy of a document when you already have the original.
It took a while, but after completing all the requirements, I finally got an approved loan approval that was good for eight weeks! That shouldn’t have been a problem because the loan was closing in four weeks. I’ve worked hard to get everything they need, including asking other parties to give me personal information or creating letters for me to get approved consent before we lose our serious money.
Is set…or was I?
A week before closing, AmeriSave hits you with another huge list of requirements! What? Oh no! Wasn’t I already certified? The official document that I received stating that I am accredited is not real? Should I start this painful process again? Why did you wait nearly three weeks to tell me I would do all of this again?
The first time I went through this process was stressful enough, but now I’ve already given 30 days notice to my landlord and have sold half of my belongings in preparation for moving. I did this because I was counting on the fact that I was dependent.
Now we have another huge list of ridiculous new requirements, despite being already approved.
AmeriSave wanted a disclosure and waiver document from my broker. When I asked him about it, his response was, “LOL. I can honestly say I’ve never had a lender ask for those before!”
AmeriSave wanted me to file a lease for my rental property because it wasn’t on my tax return…the problem was it was on my tax return. Stop wasting my time!
They wanted a copy of my earnest money check. The problem was that we paid by telegraph, and they already had the telegraph documents. Are you idiots?
They want another letter from my accountant saying my business is active. So now I have to call my accountant again and have them write the same letter he wrote three weeks ago?
It’s as if AmeriSave is making me do things only in order to force me to do things. I frantically called and emailed my loan originator, trying to figure out what was going on, asking her to please contact me ASAP. I did not receive a return phone call. Instead, I got a short, dismissive email saying I was previously approved, but now a few things need updating.
However, this is not the case! I got an official loan approval that was good for a certain amount and valid for eight weeks. I sent another email asking her to contact me ASAP, with only a week to go until closing, I thought it was warranted, but I haven’t heard back.
I ended up missing my closing date because they wouldn’t approve my loan. Again, they wanted more documentation. I missed the second closing date because they were late in approving me.
The worst part is that when they don’t approve the loan by the deadline, they delay the process. When the process is delayed, many of the documents that were submitted are now out of date. So now they are asking for new documents again.
Wait…so I have to get new documents now because you didn’t get your work done in time?
In the end, I must have submitted 120 to 140 different documents and missed two closing dates, finally closing on the third deadline after complaining to AmeriSave management about my loan officer, who had no sense of urgency.
I was lucky because I had barely gotten past one of the most stressful situations of my life where sellers were threatening to walk out, I missed my third deadline.
In the end, it was fine, but I can tell you that I will never work with AmeriSave again. My warning to all homebuyers, unless you want to deal with a lot of extra stress and a bank that doesn’t care when a client closes, stay away from AmeriSave.