I’m in the middle of buying my next home here in my neighborhood, Georgetown Village in Georgetown, Texas and my loan is almost out of underwriting. Then I get the call from my lender that goes something like this:
Hi Edward, there’s just one more thing they need.
Sure, what is it?
Well, the underwriters are having a hard time accepting this home as a primary residence
Ok, that’s easy…”Yes…it is.” Can you just tell them that? Isn’t this what I indicated when I applied?
Yes, but they want you to write them an explanation and “convince” them because you bought other investment homes in the past in this neighborhood and this one is only a few houses down from you.
At this point, I was a little annoyed. They were questioning my integrity! I applied and said it was NOT an investment home but would be owner-occupied, so what’s the big deal? Ok, so I own other homes in this neighborhood and I bought 3 of them last year. I’m not sure how that relates. But, if I really WAS lying, why would I suddenly stop now? So, I tell my lender
Oh, I’ll “convince” them…you can expect the email shortly.
And I send them this…
This email is to affirm my intent to occupy the home on 125 Village Park Drive as my primary residence. Although, I have purchased many investment homes in the past, in this same neighborhood, they were all purchased with the INITIAL INTENT to invest in them and rent them out. They are also all priced BELOW my current primary residence. It would seem to make sense that if my stated intent is to purchase this home on 125 Village Park Drive, as a residence and NOT an investment, that I would follow-through with this commitment, otherwise that would be considered fraudulent, dishonest and maybe even illegal. All of which I would never want any part of.
In addition to the fact that I’m qualifying for this home as a residence and not an investment, there are several other facts that must be mentioned that support the legitimacy of my intent:
1. This home is priced ABOVE my current primary residence which would classify this as a typical MOVE-UP purchase. All of my other rental homes were priced below with significant (20-25% down) cash down so that it would cash flow. This home would be a poor investment choice and could never cash flow given the mortgage and current rental prices
2. This is 4 bedrooms and my current home has 3 bedrooms; it also has 2400 SF and my current home has 2000 SF. Lastly, this home has 400 SF of space above the garage which will be converted to my home office which is one of the main reasons I am moving. I have 3 children under the age of 4 and have worked from a small study for the past 5 years in this home. If anyone has had children before, they can understand the reason for this move!
3. I purchased my current home when I was single, 6 years ago. I am purchasing this home, 3 kids, a wife and a minivan later. Yes, that sounds like a move-up to me.
I hope this helps clarify my intent to purchase this home for a primary residence. If you or the underwriters would like to call me for further clarification please don’t hesitate to call me.
As far as me moving down the street, what person would NOT want to move their belongings a short distance and find the perfect home this close by? This means less time packing and unpacking a moving truck and more time enjoying my glass of ice cold lemonade on the front porch of my new home overlooking the neighborhood park.
So, what do you think? Were the underwriters being a little overzealous or just doing their job? Do you think what they did would really prevent a liar from stop lying at that point? I mean, if a guy is going to say he’s going to occupy it and then really rent it out, why would writing a letter change that? Is this just more “busy work” or is it really effective? I’d love to hear a situation from a lender or underwriter that was similar to this, but had different results (i.e. the purchaser wrote the letter and admitted he was secretly buying the home as an investment but was qualifying it as owner-occupied)
Message to Underwriters/Banks: It’s hard enough to qualify somebody these days, give us “legitimate” buyers a break! Sheesh!
(Bet that picture makes you thirsty huh?)
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