Friday, March 22, 2013

3.5% Moved In

Originally, we were supposed to get our stuff delivered from storage today, so I took the day off.  Unfortunately, what ended up happening is that Zippy Shell had a technical issue.  The way Zippy Shell works is that they deliver you what is basically a cage in a trailer, or as they call it, a Shell.  You fill the cage, the trailer takes it back to their warehouse, where they keep it until they put it back in the trailer and deliver it to you.  From what I understand, someone is being belligerent about returning one of their trailers-- the same one they had planned to use when delivering our stuff, in our cage.  So instead of getting our stuff this morning, we will have to wait until Sunday.  That said, the owner of the franchise seemed genuinely sorry for the situation, and said he'd waive the delivery charge, so we'll deal...

Can you find Abby under all the stuff?
But the problem was that I had already taken the day off, and didn't want it to go to waste.  So, before we took the kids to school, Abby loaded the car full of stuff to take to the house.  It was frigid outside, so we made a pit stop for apple fritters and hot drinks, but we made it up to the house by 10 to deliver our first load of actual belongings into our home-to-be.  Really weird feeling... After a half-hour of procrastinating by giving a tour to Anique (sp?), the really nice woman who works in the main office, we headed back home to pack for round two.  This time, with no kids in the car, we were able to smash a lot more stuff in, including a giant tub of shoes on Abby's lap.
A window-box-full of stuff from Day One

After dropping the second load of stuff off, Abby dropped me off at the kids' school and went home to pack for a third round.  I got off pretty easy on this one-- she's so motivated to get out, that she's perfectly happy to do most of the packing work.  Not complaining of course, other than the fact that I had to stand out in what became the freezing cold playground for an hour (with good company, though) before she came back for us, again with a rather full car.  After a third round, we now have a decent dent taken out of the basement, and have made some rather substantial piles in various rooms throughout the house.

The rest of the weekend looks to be a LOT more fruitful, what with the Sunday Zippy Shell delivery and the appearance tomorrow morning of Abby's dad and brother; they're coming up from North Carolina to help us with moving our big stuff from the basement, like the couches and a giant bureau, with the help of my father-in-law's pick-up truck.  We're also hoping to use them to pick up some stuff from IKEA, like three new desks Abby's had her eye on.  (And if we get some meatballs in the process, it wouldn't be a shame.)  Once the weekend's over, we're hoping to have a bare minimum of belongings in the basement-- basically, the clothes we'll be using for the next week, our two mattresses, foodstuffs, and maybe some cushions from the already-moved couches.  Oh, and the TV; can't forget that.  Then?  It's only a matter of time, because on Monday the plumber is supposed to show up to finally hook up the toilets, the washing machine, the hot-water heater, and the fireplace.  On Monday night, I fully intend to go to the house and pee and wash clothes, maybe simultaneously.  Oh, and maybe dry them by the fire. In the meantime, I'll have to make due with the image of our newly-stacked laundry facilities, just waiting for their hookup.

Hook us up!  Please!
A bonus when it comes to the laundry room will be the fact that, due to erroneous ordering by our cabinet people, we're likely going to be left with several extra kitchen cabinets.  Abby says that, while talking to the installers, she found out that they generally just toss the misfit cabinets, or the installers take them home themselves.  Since to of ours are 90-inch-tall pantries, we're definitely interested in keeping them for ourselves, especially since one of them might fit perfectly next to the washer and dryer if we just push the two machines over a couple inches to the right.  It's not often we get silver linings like that, and I'll take it!

Another silver lining came to us when we found out Freedom Mortgage had officially severed our loan-- or whatever they call it when they cut their losses and run.  We had about $16,000 left in the credit line they had extended multiple times, and they just decided to put that money back into the mortgage and call it quits.  It actually works out for us, because we'd already paid that extra money (and more) to the contractors months ago, and had they written us a check, we just would have put it right back into the mortgage.  What this all means is that we are now officially good to refinance our mortgage, something I've been aching to do for a long time. Our current rate is 5.25%, which is not bad at all for what we had, which is called a 203(k) construction loan.  But now that the construction part is over, and interest rates are still historically low, I felt a need to take a refi and quick-- especially since our loan was FHA-backed, and they require PMI (mortgage insurance) on top of all payments, meaning we were paying an additional $200+ each month that had nothing to do with the interest or the balance, just for the right to have had the loan in the first place.  After 20 payments, I'm ready to shed that onus, that's for sure.

So I called Citibank, which is where we have our DC mortgage, and asked for rates; they told me 4.0%, which was great.  On a whim, I went to and filled out a form on Wednesday night just for kicks.  On Thursday I faced a barrage of calls from lenders wanting to help us with refinancing, which was really refreshing, since when we bought the house we had to fight for exactly one obscure bank to make us an offer.  We ended up getting the best offer from a local broker with a bank I'd never heard of-- Round Point, which sounds like an oxymoron but I digress-- and locked in a 3.5% rate with no points and very low fees.  That means our payment will go down more than $800 a month once we refi-- hallelujah!  I called Citibank before we locked with Round Point and asked them to match the offer, since I really would rather have all my stuff at one bank, and they told me their rate desk required me to lock in my rate with the other lender first, then send Citibank the paperwork to consider.  I don't know how I feel about that, because it feels a bit like screwing the first guy buy having him do the work, then jumping ship for the too-big-to-fail chain.  I'll get back to you on my decision, but the gist of it all is that my  nearly $3000 monthly mortgage payment will soon be a thing of the past.  Phew!
"Round Point.  Because after all, we don't want you to poke your eye out."
Anyhow, that's all for today.  I'm staving off a cold, and have been popping generic DayQuils all day; about to NyQuil it and hope I won't drop before I physically hit the bed.  Tomorrow?  Progress.

And meatballs.

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