U Turn

Well, possibly.

The meeting with the other bank went very well and she says she’s definitely going to come back to us with with a mortgage offer. The thorny part will be in the terms of payment to the builder, so our next hurdle is negotiating a payment plan that suits both the builder and the bank. Hopefully it’s not an insurmountable problem, but it was certainly a relief for a banker to be very proactive again and say “yes, we can definitely lend you this much. No problem. Now let’s figure out how to bend these other rules to make this work.”

The problem with payment terms is (and always has been) the fact that our house is being built elsewhere and then put on a truck and brought to us. It’s much much cheaper for us to build it that way (like, half the price). However, from any bank’s perspective, it’s not an asset until it’s attached to the foundations on the site. This means that they don’t want to cough up any money until that point. The builder wants progress payments during the build (as any builder will), because building a house is still expensive no matter which way you go about it. We have enough left in our savings to pay their deposit, but not cover these progress payments – so this is where we need to sit down and figure out a different payment plan that both the builder and bank can swallow. It will undoubtedly mean that the builder gets less money drip fed to them, and then get a big lump sum at the end when the house is completely done. Exactly how much money and when is going to be the sharp edge of this negotiation.

Now, way back when, what seems like an eternity ago (February) our mortgage broker found a bank that was apparently willing to swallow the payment terms of a relocatable house. They made us an offer, and we agreed to it and proceeded forward. We drew down about half of that loan to buy the section, and we have just recently gone back to say we need the next draw down so the builder can get started. But suddenly they’ve balked. Suddenly they’ve said that our loan offer is no longer valid, and they need to reconsider. The payment terms are a big part of that, along with a sudden wish that we had more equity. They’ve apparently reconsidering for two weeks, coming back to us from time to time, requesting more information. The fact that it has taken so long, and that we can’t seem to get a straight answer out of the broker, hasn’t exactly given me much sleep.

In fact, between my cold-turned-sinus-infection and worry over the mortgage, I slept a grand total of 3 hours last night. All in little, interrupted chunks. This isn’t a good state of being when you have clients to deal with at work (and tomorrow’s client is a bride, and weddings are always very taxing, even when everything runs well).

Tonight, after meeting with this other banker (who seemed very positive and actively committed to finding us a solution), I crashed on the couch for 7 hours. That’s probably the longest, unbroken block of sleep I’ve had since mid-July.

… And Rob got a new job offer today, with a great new contract! The job was actually offered to him several weeks ago, but then instantly fizzled when they sent him a contract with no specified hours in it. That’s illegal in New Zealand. So he sent it back, thinking that they’d just forgotten to include this very basic clause, and asked for an amendment. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Rob adopted the position, very early on, that this job offer had disappeared. He went on with his life, and kept applying for other jobs. He didn’t want to be disappointed if they (he felt, inevitably) came back to him and said they’d found someone else who would accept their contract as it stood.

But, nearly six weeks later, they have instead come back to him with the amended contract as requested. It comes with a very decent pay-rise and insurance. We are both thrilled!

And… the banker we met with tonight still ran her sums on Rob’s current income, not the income of the new contract. She’s happy to work with us and find a solution, even on what he currently earns. The new windfall of a good pay-rise will only help our case when it comes to the sharp bits of negotiation.

It would appear that, after being dragged down low by the last few weeks, thinks are finally starting to brighten for us again.

Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully.

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