and now the hard part.
months ago, enid and the man gave up on getting a mortgage from hbsc for reasons that will be very apparent if you read this and this. you'll find this hard to believe, but hbsc america are less responsive than hbsc jersey. enid and the man mentioned their predicament to the man's boss, hoohah, who recommended a californian broker called spike. the man phoned spike to get mortgage pre-approval. "hey, no big deal," spike said. "a friend of hoohah's is a friend of mine. that's fine."
this sounded suspiciously easy to enid. before they booked their recent house-hunting trip to the states, she insisted spike sent a proper pre-approval letter. spike obliged, though he didn't take up credit references, he didn't enquire about previous mortgages nor did he ask about savings or salaries. well, thought enid, hoohah must have told him what we earn and how super-honest we are. and if margaret's got the letter, then we've got a mortgage. that's what pre-approval means, right?
as you may know, enid and the man found the house of their dreams. margaret contacted spike as they was drawing up the offer. "how long will it take you to get this mortgage arranged?" she asked.
"twenty-four hours should do it," spike replied.
"i'll put three days on this form," said margaret. (she is from new england.)
the offer was accepted and spike called the man. "we need credit references, salary details, a list of your assets, liabilities, incomings and outgoings, a blood sample and a written letter from your mother excusing you from games." (ok, he didn't really ask for all of these.)
enid was jolly cross. did spike really think he could do all this across time zones in three days, let alone one? especially when she and the man were out of contact for two of them, flying back to molvania.
and so the headless chicken stuff began. spike wanted salary information - he interviewed their hr departments. he wanted three lines of credit - he called the uk and spoke to barclaycard and a company which had given them a loan when they were renovating their previous house. both reports were good. spike called portlend, enid and the man's previous mortgage lender. portlend refused to discuss payment history on the phone, and said this can only be done in writing. but the man has written to them and faxed them before, when they were trying to get the mortgage with hbsc, and had no reply. with the kind of blind hope shown by the six hundred at sevastopol, they faxed portlend again pleading with them for a response this time.
there was no response.
now spike decided he must have an equifax report. he wasn't able to order this himself - god knows why not - so the man set it up online. before making it active, though, equifax needed a fax of a credit card statement. of course, enid and the man didn't have one with them in the states. in fact, they don't even have one in molvania - their statements are sent to tm's mother's house in lancashire. so tease (tm's sister) drove over, collected one, and faxed it. the account went live on tuesday afternoon, as enid and the man checked into their heathrow hotel. you'll be glad to know that all this effort was worth it - their credit rating was excellent. (whew!) spike had said he needed three lines of credit or the equifax report, and now he had the report and two lines of credit. twenty-four hours to go, and they were home and dry.
no. spike now decided he needed the equifax report and three lines of credit. enid suggested their landlord. the man faxed portlend again.
yesterday (wednesday) enid and the man got back to their flat in molvania. the electricity was cut off, and they had no internet, hot water or heating. it was -17C outside... and inside. what a welcome. but when at last the power returned, their email brought good news and bad news. the good news - the vendors have given them another two days to get a mortgage. the bad news - spike now thought that they didn't have enough cash in the bank to put down the required deposit.
"couldn't he have said that before we flew to america and made an offer on a house?" enid asked, opening a bottle of anti-depressant (red wine).
luckily, spike was mistaken. the man had given him a rough figure for their savings, erring on the side of caution. enid updated the numbers and told spike the true figure. at midnight last night, he called them back saying he'd found them a mortgage.
but this morning, there were no emails from spike, and none from margaret. there was one from the man's mother to say that a letter from portlend had arrived in the morning post. has spike found a mortgage? even without the third line of credit? are the vendors still happy? what does the portlend letter say? will everything work out before the deadline expires?
all these, and many other questions may be answered tomorrow. oh, and if you need an american mortgage, enid has a broker she can recommend... for evisceration.