Saturday, June 18, 2011

Now the Fun Begins

The nail biting is over. I was approved. I am on my way to becoming Gay-Jewish Trailer Park Trash! My parents just rolled over in their graves. Some of my friends (read acquaintances) just disowned me.

But from what my home-owing friends tell me, there is always something. Remember when I told you this was like renting an apartment, buying a car, and moving into a co-op at the same time? I wasn’t kidding. For my fellow renters, what follows will very helpful for you when you decided to live single in a doublewide.

First came the insurance company. I have paid my own renter’s insurance since I first rented an apartment, but this was weird. No one told me that the insurance company coordinates with the bank, and after writing a check for the first-year’s homeowner’s insurance, my insurance will be included in my mortgage payment (I almost typed rent there – bad habits are hard to break), and I will never write a check for home-owner’s insurance again. I took care of this right away. I don’t like to share explicit financial information, but let’s just say it averages about 60 percent of stick-built homeowner’s insurance.

I was then asked to call the electric company – for once, not Pepco! Yay! For those who don’t live here, Pepco is not the company you want during a terrorist attack. Last summer, we had a fifteen-minute thunderstorm, and the power was out for ten days. The acronym stands for “Potomac Electric and Power Outage Company.” I am now with Baltimore Gas & Electric, another acronym, BG&E.

I also had to set up the water, which apparently was already set up, but needed to be put in my name although mine is a new home on a previously unoccupied lot. This was most apartment-like. All we have to do is turn a knob, and I will be happy and moist. That works every time.

However, the fun part is something that in all my research into making the mobile home plunge, I never knew or missed completely. There are no gas lines for a mobile home. I had to set up a propane account. Yes, those same tanks you have for your $1,500 Weber Grill are used for my new home for hot water, cooking and heat. This reminded me of one of my favorite movies, The Long Long Trailer, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and directed by Vincent Minnelli. Remember that yellow trailer, which by the way was Minnelli Yellow, a special color created by MGM for Mr. Minnelli as yellow was his favorite color. Watch Til the Clouds Roll By and fast forward to the Judy Garland number, “Who Stole My Heart Away,” and she holds a scarf that is Minnelli Yellow. Great number, too. Mr. Minnelli only directed Miss Garland’s scenes in that movie. That is why I told you to fast forward.

Where the hell was I? Oh yes.

In The Long Long Trailer, the second night they decide not to stay in a trailer park, and they get stuck on an old logging road, and one of the things Nicky (Desi) has to do is hook up the gas. So I wonder if my first cooking experience will be like Tracy’s (Lucy’s)? And is it illegal to cook in a mobile home when it is mobile? I do have windows up front with blinds and curtains like hers. Let’s hook it onto a 1953 Mercury Monterey convertible and see!

So if you decide to go the mobile route, be prepared to sign an agreement with a propane gas company, which is more comprehensive than a new car lease or anything I needed for the other utility companies.

What I also forgot about since it had been so long since I changed jurisdictions – or even states – was that each of these new companies had to run a credit check. With each credit check, your score drops a point or two because people keep running credit checks. I would not be surprised to find mine has dropped by 100 points since everyone within a 20-mile radius of Jessup, MD, has run a credit check on me in the last three weeks.

I never realized it takes an excellent credit rating to become trailer park trash. Dolly Parton was right, "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap."

Then came my favorite part, dealing with the cable company. This actually went smoothly, until I got a call two days later telling me that I scheduled my appointment too far in advance and I must do the process all over again. So much for being punctual. Pepco also told me I scheduled my cancellation too far in advance. How does one cancel too far in advance? Your computers don’t have calendars on them?

And last, I called the movers!

But there is always something, and in my case – two somethings.

First, after scheduling the movers, I looked at my calendar and realized the National AMC Rambler Convention in Annapolis was the same day as my move-in date, so I had to push it ahead one week. This also meant rescheduling the other utilities, even the ones I scheduled too far in advance, so I started the process all over again.

Then came the other something. Two days after approval, I got a letter in the mail from the Mobile Home Finance Corporation telling me I had been denied! I am usually not one to panic or worry, but my stomach went into my throat, I began to sweat in a very unlady-like manner, and I think I farted, too. I flailed my arms, and I screamed in a high-pitched tone that even Esmeralda couldn’t hear.

DENIED – that Suzy Orman word I fear the most – my only fear in life. I thought I was approved. Now denied!?! Immediately, I called the trailer park sales office – I mean mobile home community showroom – and told them about the letter.

They laughed.

I was fine because my financing was through a local bank not this Mobile Home Finance Corporation. What happened was we went to them first because they used to have great terms and rates, but somehow in the last few months, mobile homes began to follow the same rules as stick-built homes. One now needs 20 percent down. My offer was 10 percent down and a 15-year mortgage. They immediately sent my application to a local bank, and it was approved at 10 percent down for a 15-year mortgage. The Mobile Home Finance Corporation had to inform me that I was denied even though we withdrew my application.

By the way, I had received a letter from them two months ago telling me I was approved. I guess it's like those credit card offers – “you have already been approved.” Then you apply, and you get denied. Much like having someone tease you for a week about before your first date, then denying you sex when you actually go on the date. Not that this ever happened to me ... recently.

Fine or not, I really didn’t need to get a letter like that this late in the process, and I’ll never be able to replace the wine glasses that broke when I screamed. No, it wasn’t Memorex.

Now, if you are reading this because you are considering the move to a mobile home, you heard it here first that the rules have changed and ALL mortgages are being treated the same. Use your own bank or credit union as I did.

If you are one of those people paying a 30-year mortgage on an upside-down house, yes, you read the above correctly – 10 percent down and a 15-year mortgage. Also, my payments will be 25 percent of the national average for a house payment, and I get to live with like-minded people. Jealous?

In a week, I close, and the week after, I begin the move. I wonder if I will be the only person moving into a trailer park – I mean mobile home community – using professional movers and not a U-Haul?

After all, I may be moving into a single-wide, but I am still Jewish and Gay. These muscles are for show, not picking things up. Besides, I don’t want to break a nail – or a sweat. I can get anything done just by pointing a finger. "You, over there, move this." It also helps that I am a big tipper, too.

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