One might wonder, why on earth we would be shopping for a home and planning to move in the middle of my first semester of grad school. Well, it certainly wasn't planned this way and it is certainly a big ol' pain in the ass! But, here we are and here is why:
Last summer (2006) we decided that we wanted to buy a house. We were both in college when we got married and had been apartment dwellers for all of our married life (um, yeah that was 7 years, last year). We had two babies while living in the apartment. It was time for a house, with a yard and a dog for the boys. Time to be a grown up with grown up responsibilities. We had been careful with our credit and repairing mine from a nasty divorce. However...
Upon meeting with a lender, just to see what we would qualify for on a single income teacher salary, (I was back in school completing a second degree)... We were hit a credit score of 400-something for Brian. WHAT? There was obviously something wrong, something very wrong. Identity theft? His credit report was loaded with red flags. But, ultimately we had to figure out the stuff before we were going even think about buying a house with a reasonable intrest rate, if anyone would even look at us.
Well, it wasn't identity theft (yet!). Apparently there is another Brian (same last name) living in another city (same state). And a certain credit reporting agency had merged the their credit information. So Brian's credit report contained this other person's social security number and addresses (past and present) and all of his debt. To say the least, he was responsible with his finances. And, because of my Brian's good credit, they kept sending this clown credit cards. So began the process of straightening out what seemed like a careless, but easy to fix mistake. Most of the accounts could be easily attached to their rightful owner by SSN or by address.
It wasn't that easy and after about four months of calling and writing (certified letters) to credit card companies, banks, collection agencies, credit reporting agencies, etc., we realized that we would not be buying a house any time soon. So we decided to look into renting a house. We really needed the space (and a yard for Nate). We found a house that had been on the market for a while, as the market was starting to decline. They knew our situation and were willing to rent to us with the possibility that we would purchase the house when we got things straightened out.
Fast forward about a year. We have things straight, we think... So we go back to the lender and start again. WHAT'S THAT? New accounts? Those are not ours. Remember when we got credit reports with the other person's info, very personal info? Well apparently, he the same access to Brian's info. There was a credit card issued with my Brian's SSN, our local address, oh and will you send the card to this address in another city please? Um, NO. But, they did. Now, it's called identity theft! More phone calls, letters to write, oh, and police reports (locally and in the other city).
We've been in this house now almost a year. Now the owner has decided that he doesn't want to sell the house. Instead, at the end of the year he wants to move his daughter into the house. Fair warning, we appreciate that, but um, I'm a grad student. I think it is because the housing market has swung and they know they cannot get what they want (or need) for this house now. So, we have to move.
Um, I think we got all the credit stuff cleared up and we are in the process of getting qualified... again. Our realtor is a gem and has been with us through all of this. On a positive note, the housing market is much more in our favor than it was a year ago. So here we go again.