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On Hold in More Ways than One

I am on hold in more ways than one.

On the other line is a Bank of American loan representative who will soon let me know if I can refinance thru the Making Homes Affordable plan.

As a Real Estate Professional, we speak daily to others about the need to be pre-qualified, to have their financing plan in order before falling in love with a house or even looking at certain prices.

One thing we forget as professionals is the wait— for what seems forever but is maybe twenty to thirty minutes—and the weight of that potential response on a person’s life.

The loan representative runs down the list of expected questions and caveats.

Dry questions, dry forms.

Wet palms.

These can be life changing responses— is it a stretch? Will we qualify? What if we do? Which scares me more?

It’s scary if it is your first time to apply.

Or your first time together.

Or first time alone.

I remember the panic I suddenly felt at the closing table when I needed to refinance my house after the divorce. Signing his name off the papers and my name alone was more real than the day in divorce court the judge finally set us free. It said to me: this is it, baby—you are totally on your own. No back up plan but your own backbone.

A friend’s story is the opposite: after his divorce, he and an old high school flame reconnected and put a house for their blended family under contract. Until—oops—she hadn’t mentioned that little bankruptcy last year. Oops—she didn’t mention she hadn’t finished college.

But, love is love. He qualified on his own.

Plans were made to move in, until she still insisted on putting her name on the title, just not the loan.

Oops. One too many answers to the questions he didn’t ask. 

Life defining moments … how does society see us in the dry numbers on file? How do we see ourselves as we wait?  Perhaps these are moments to blame oneself: why did I open that Macys account, why was I late on this bill? Moments of self affirmation: so glad I paid my student loans off.

Maybe the concern isn’t will I get a loan but will I get this loan? At this rate and terms? Because I no longer want a house, I want this house to park my car and my dreams within. I want my Thanksgiving feast in that room. You knew the moment you walked in what paint color you would pick, what furniture went where.

Maybe it’s a student loan application you wait on.

Decisions big, based on small numbers, small details.

Long pauses.

We forget how much hope is held in that little time spent on hold.

As professionals, we see the mortgage approval as “the deal” or maybe “the deal breaker.”

It is neither.

It’s a dream held, like the phone, in your hand.