Need friends? Refinance your house!
“You might be getting a few phone calls today,” husband-head called from work to warn me. “I just thought you should be prepared.”That was a dumb statement.”I get a zillion calls EVERY day – I’m a reporter, remember?” I reminded him.”Well, you might get a couple more,” he ventured. “I did something on the computer.”I was scared to ask.”You didn’t, like, sign us up for some swinger’s club or something, did you?” I asked fearfully.”No, but I put out for some bids to refinance the house,” he admitted. “Some companies are going to contact you. Try and be nice.”We were refinancing our house to get a better interest rate, but since we had never gone through the process before, we weren’t quite sure what we were doing.”I already called our loan guy and he got us approved that day,” I told husband-head. “We just need to take care of a few details.””Yeah, well you’re supposed to shop around,” husband-head insisted. “Just hear what these people have to say.”Sure enough, a little while later, the first guy called.”Hey, Heidi!” he said in a voice that sounded like we were old college drinking buddies. “Whas’sup? You wanna refinance?”Well, I’m trying to work, but I suppose I can spare a few minutes.”Matt” proceeded to ask me some questions, but mostly the conversation was about how he loves to snowboard and where.Like I care.Matt was clearly in his early 20’s and after telling me his life story – which thankfully was relatively short – he finally got back to business, pressing me about taking out some of the equity in our home.”You could, like, use the dough to take a trip to Tahiti or something,” he gushed. “That would be RAD!”Yeah, dude. That would be a bitchin’ way to invest our money.I got off the phone by promising him an ice cream cone if he found us a better rate than we’d been quoted.The next call came just a few minutes later. “Tag” also found it necessary to share intimate details of his life.”I had a bankruptcy about 10 years ago,” he confessed. “My wife has a better credit score than I do, but I’ve improved mine.”And I want you to handle our finances, because … ?Along with being my new best friend and confidante, Tag also wanted to pull our credit. And although we didn’t really know what we were doing, I did know that it wasn’t a good idea to have your credit pulled a million times, so I declined.”I gave you our middle FICO scores,” I told Tag. “Use that to give me a quote.”It seems Tag and I broke up after that as I never heard from him again.On the other hand, there was Bill, who was very attentive. Bill called from South Carolina and from what I could understand despite his strong Southern accent, he promised to beat any interest rate we’d been given.Then Bill e-mailed with all kinds of numbers and encouraged us to go with a 15-year mortgage.Then Bill called again.”Did you get my e-mails?” he badgered. “You sound young, you should do this.”No Bill, I don’t sound young. I have a low voice and when people call, they are always asking to speak to my wife. Apparently, I sound like a guy.Then Bill called again … and again. I finally stopped answering the phone.Sandra from New York was a jovial mortgage broker, who giggled throughout the conversation. I’m not sure what she thought was so funny about this whole process, which was already becoming more of a pain in the butt than the original loan.”How many quotes did you sign up to get, anyway?” I demanded to know when husband-head got home. “They haven’t stopped all DAY!””We were only supposed to get five,” husband-head shrugged.Well, we got about 15, not including all the letters that came in the mail.In the end, we decided to go with our original mortgage person who didn’t feel it necessary to tell us about his kid’s potty training or his sexual prowess.”You know,” I mused out loud to husband-head. “If I ever find myself a widow with no friends, I’m going to get on the computer and refinance the house.”Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her columns runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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I’m not often given to public displays of affection, but on the morning of Monday, July 19, I felt it necessary to give an old and dear friend a proper send off.