Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Closing in on Closing: funds availability panic

So it looks like the big day will be next week-- at one point last week I thought it might be even sooner, because we were rushing to beat my mortgage lock expiration, but my mortgage broker is switching me to another lender where I'll actually save a little money, and we've bought some extra time. But I almost had a heart attack thinking I might not have enough cash ready to close!!

I've had my cash for the closing in two accounts-- my local savings account at Chase, and my E*Trade Money Market account, which earns a higher interest rate. I thought I could just leave that money there, as E*Trade has some brick-and-mortar offices in NYC, and I thought I could probably get a certified check from them. Well, good thing I called and checked-- turns out they could only do that by mail, and there is something weird about how they won't make it out to a third party. So then I was a little freaked out, thinking I needed to get $25,000 from one account to another in a matter of days. I have the accounts linked for external transfers, but I remembered it taking a while the last time I did one. So I decided to order a wire transfer. I have no idea if this was sound thinking or not-- is it all the same? The E*Trade phone rep mentioned there being a 3-day float period for transfers, but I've read that wire transfers can take a few days too. In any case, it all worked out-- I faxed in a transfer order on a Friday afternoon, and Monday morning the money was in my Chase account and showing as fully available, even though on E*Trade it still said the transfer was "in progress." It cost me $25, which was annoying-- I guess that was the other reason I wanted to do the official, in-writing wire transfer-- I figured if they're charging me $25 for it, it better be faster than a free transfer via the website! Fallacious logic, I suppose, but I'm just glad I got it done! After all this time, there was no way I was going to have to tell my lawyer to postpone my closing because my money was stuck between accounts!
And one last annoying thing-- today a charge showed up on my Chase account: they charge $10 to receive an incoming wire transfer. What a rip-off. I can't believe banks charge these b******t fees for something that computers handle in the blink of an eye!


D said...

How terrible. Maybe you can call your Chase Banker and explain that you were not aware and that you are a loyal customer. He/She just might reverse this fee, this one time. Try it.

Soon you will be settled and peaceful in your new property and all this will be a distant memory. Good Luck to you!

James L said...

Finally! Wow.. so how long did that take.. from contract to closing? My new condo took 9 months to close.

Anonymous said...

Great news! Any chance you could put together a timeline of all the steps involved once you have closed? I'm thinking of buying in NYC and I'd love to fully understand the process you've been through!

a dedicated reader

Bitty said...

d is probably right.

I got hit with a fee from my credit union when I did something I forgot I couldn't do (made too many withdrawals in one month from a "special" savings account).

I called to talk to someone not to reverse the fee but to discuss the problem I had, which was that I needed to make another withdrawal before the month was over. Before I could finish my story, my customer service rep thought she knew what I wanted and offered to reverse the fee. She could only do it as a one-time deal...and she transferred the money out of the special account for me into checking so that I wouldn't incur another fee.

I learned not to plan multiple withdrawals from THAT account and got my money back.

Happy ending.

sz said...

I agree with you about the annoyance of wire transfer fees! I'll never understand how some industries get away with continuing to charge outrageous fees for things that are totally automated! BTW I just started reading your blog after the mention in Marie Claire magazine. I am really enjoying!

Madame X said...

??? Marie Claire magazine mentioned me? Who knew! I noticed I'd had a bump in traffic but I thought it was because of some links to the Festival of Frugality!

mapgirl said...

A mention in Marie Claire? That's great! Sorry to hear about the wire transfer, but since it's going to be a one-time thing, I'd call and see if you can't have it reversed. I mean, you are doing 5-figure business with this account. They could cut you some slack.

Good luck with closing! I hope it goes smoothly. :-)

Madame X said...

I meant to add that I actually did call Chase to find out what the charge was for, and they didn't want to refund it. I probably could have gone another round or two and won the fight, but I was too stressed out to want to deal with it, so I wimped out and gave up! Compared to the huge outflow of cash I'm about to have, $10 seems like nothing!

Tiredbuthappy said...

Yay! Glad you're almost in your new home. Closing is stressful no matter what. There's always something, right? Was your last closing experience stressful too?

(I sound so wise, having only closed on 1 property and it was relatively smooth, but still, I've heard a lot of closing stories.)

BTW, it took me maybe 10 seconds to work out what naughty word you were sparing us with your asterisks: "b******t". Ohh. Bull***t. I get it now.

Good old Madame X. Always making my brain cells work a little harder.