Oh where to start! Well, I suppose I will just get it all down and hope that it makes sense!
Shortly after I posted my last blog (about Week O’Steak and our steak tacos) we all trooped up to the bank to tell them about the house and to hand in the last bit of info they needed to put our mortgage application together. We had our pre-approval certificate so this was just a formality … or so we thought.
We got to the bank and found that our mortgage advisor was on holiday in Las Vegas and so we had to see another one, a lady about the same age as my parents named Zdenka. When we sat down with Zdenka she had a look through our file and explained that our original chappie had made a mistake. We couldn’t have a mortgage because they would not take my earnings from my online business into account as it is registered in the UK and online businesses are considered a bit too wooly. Despite my evidence that it has been running successfully for seven years they wouldn’t accept it and so we were now a one wage family with three dependants and a deposit that wasn’t going to cover the shortfall – despite being a really reasonable deposit.
That was it – the house was lost. The deposit that we had put down because we were lead to believe that our mortgage was there ready and waiting for us was lost. We were GUTTED. This was way worse than when we had to walk away from the house that was going to be built for us because if we couldn’t get this house, we couldn’t get any house – they just wouldn’t give us a mortgage based on how we stacked up on paper.
The infuriating thing was, we could easily afford it. We could cover the mortgage and the bills and our living expenses with just Michael’s wage.
Zdenka was very kind and tried her hardest to find ways around it but in the end she advised us to walk away.
We were absolutely distraught (geez, I am welling up at the thought of it!). The idea that we wouldn’t be able to have any certainty or security in the shape of a home of our own was awful. I felt so guilty. If only I had a proper job, why did I have to train in such a ridiculous field? Why wasn’t I more sensible? Why did we leave a perfectly adequate house and life in Scotland and drag our children halfway round the world to a totally unstable future? I just wanted to go home to my Mum and Dad’s house. I wanted to jump back in time to when we lived in Windsor Drive and knew where we were.
Michael was devastated. All he wants is to provide for his family. He works so hard for us and only ever tries to make me happy. It was horrible seeing him in such turmoil.
Our poor children have had to be with us every step of the way and so when they found out it was off they were upset too. Poor Ruby looked at Larry when we got home and said ‘Oh, Larry! You won’t get your garden!’.
I was in the kitchen and I burst into tears. I have VERY rarely cried in front of them – they don’t need to see stuff like that but I just couldn’t help it. Both kids ran to me to give me a hug and pleaded with me not to be upset. I tried my best to haul it all together but I was teetering on the brink until I could get them to bed.
We tried really hard to get some perspective. No-one had died, we weren’t actually in any worse a position than we had been a few days ago, we were all in good health, we were all together. These are the things that REALLY matter and we know that but it was still so sore.
We went to bed but neither of us slept much.
We got up with heavy hearts but determined spirits – would anyone else give us a go? We couldn’t give up without being sure we had exhausted every possibility.
Michael went off to work and I set about phoning other banks and brokers. I explained our situation to about half a dozen different people and they all said they would crunch some numbers and then get back to me. They all came back with the same answer – nope.
It was all looking very unlikely.
I called Zdenka at our bank and asked if we could build a better case for my business by giving them tax returns and full figures for the past seven years. We spoke about the business for a while and also about Michael’s previous work. She was really trying everything she could to get us where we needed to be. She said that she couldn’t sleep last night either as she felt so bad for us. She had phoned her elderly mother and told her all about us and about how much she wanted this to work for us. She was on our side but there were so many hoops to jump through and they were out of her control. The man who would make the final decision was in an office in Adelaide – she had already been trying to sweet talk him but it still wasn’t looking good.
Michael phoned from work and asked if I was sitting down. I wasn’t, I was pacing as I had been for about three hours. He falteringly told me that his boss, Glenis, had offered him a huge loan in order to get our deposit up to a better level. Michael has only been working there for three months but here was this wonderful lady offering him a big wad of cash. We couldn’t believe that someone would be so kind – it was staggering. Two of his collegues had also offered to help out financially. We were stunned that people who barely know us really would be so willing to help.
I phoned Zdenka back and told her about it. She said that if we could just get them to take my earnings into account and add that to the now boosted deposit we *could* be in with a chance.
I had spent all day pacing about or sitting in front of the laptop trying to get this sorted but at 2.30pm I had to leave it, throw on some make up and smart clothes and go for a job interview. I applied a couple of weeks ago for a job in a doctor’s surgery and they had called yesterday to set up the interview. It seemed like horrible timing now as we had so much to get sorted. Anyway, I trotted up the road. I did the interview. It went pretty well. The job sounded good but then I put it out of my head because a) I had more than enough going on and b) I have had several interviews that all went well and have had no joy.
I came home and had to work out how to use the new scanner in order to scan our visas and passports. Zdenka had left a message asking for them ASAP. This is normally Michael’s domain. I am not good at working out how things work but today I was capable of doing ANYTHING that might swing things our way! So passports and visas were scanned and sent off to Adelaide to be added to our case. Zdenka phoned back and read to me a wonderful letter that she had written saying how my business was a legitimate going concern with a solid history and good earning capacity, Michael was a highly skilled upholsterer with sixteen years of experience, we are both hard working, I am seeking employment blah-de-blah basically she was bigging us up to within an inch of our lives! That would be on his desk first thing tomorrow.
And that was the end of business on Wednesday. Nothing more we could do. We had another night of uncertainty. We didn’t sleep much and neither of us had eaten anything since Tuesday lunch time.
We got up today knowing that we only had until 5pm to get our finances together before our chance would pass. There is a three day cooling off period and at that point you either stump up the 10% deposit and buy the house or you walk away and lose the $500 holding deposit.
We had to wait for the man from Adelaide to make his decision. It was PAINFUL!
Just before 10am (the time he would get to his desk) the phone rang. It was the practice manager from the doctor’s surgery where I had had my interview. She was offering me the job! I was delighted to accept – I start on Monday!
I called Zdenka to see if we could add this to our case. She said she would ask but usually it wouldn’t be taken into consideration as I haven’t even started yet.
So I waited, and waited.
And waited some more.
Lunch time came and went. We had four hours until our deadline. I still hadn’t heard back so I called Zdenka back. Poor woman! She said she was just about to call Mr Adelaide and would get back to me in a moment.
Sure enough she called back and said that they *may* take my new job into account *if* I could get a letter from my new employer stating my rate of pay and the hours I would be working. I called the practice and told them that I knew it was very cheeky to ask for this as I haven’t even started there yet but would it be possible? They assured me that it would be done and that I could pick it up when the doctor came back from his house calls – around 3pm.
Oh we were cutting it really fine! I called Michael and asked him to come home from work. He left straight away. On his way home he was waiting in a queue of traffic when the truck in front of him suddenly started to roll backwards. There was no-where he could go and nothing he could do but hammer on his horn but it was too late – the guy hit into him – not really badly but enough to put Michael’s already escalated blood pressure through the roof and to leave a little dent in the front of the car. It would have been bad on any day but today it was the LAST thing he needed!
Anyway, he got home, we sped up to school, saw Karen there and asked if she could grab the kids for us – she didn’t miss a beat and agreed despite having appointments herself this afternoon. I guess I looked the wrong side of fraught and she took pity!
We went up to the surgery, got the letter, took it to the bank, they faxed it to Mr Adelaide and then we just had to wait. It was 3.30pm.
We stayed up in the high street where the bank, the conveyancer and the estate agent are all located so we could go to whichever called us first.
We walked round and round the block, hyperventillating and holding our breath in turn! We got a coffee just for something to do and continued walking round and round the block. At one point the estate agent came out of a shop just in front of us but we didn’t want to speak to him until we knew whether it was good news or bad news. Thankfully, he didn’t look up and we scuttled past him.
Finally, at 4.31pm my phone rang and it was Zdenka. She said ‘Congratulations Laura, you’ve got the go ahead’. I jumped up and down in the street and did that little running thing that toddlers do when they are too excited for their vocabulary! She explained that the only condition on the mortgage was that the house had to be valued by the bank. As the house price has been dropped by $45,000 just so the lady can get a quick sale, we decided that we were happy to go ahead.
So at 4.38pm we went to the conveyancer, they told us to go ahead and pay the 10% deposit if we were confident that the valuation would come back ok.
We had to run to get our deposit to them in time. I felt like Anneka Rice on Treasure Hunt – but without the lycra thankfully!
At 4.54pm we got to the estate agent and handed over our deposit. I found it hard to write the cheque, my hands were shaking so much.
The house was ours, with six minutes to spare.
To say that this was a rollercoaster of a week would be putting it sooooooooooo mildly. I would never want to do this again, but I would, if it meant we can get our new home.
And breathe ………….