Monday, March 28, 2011

What is the sound of one hand tearing out one's hair. . .

Not a zen koan.

Just a result of a frustrating phone call.

As many of you know, we had a house fire this past December.  We were able to settle with the insurance company and received the check--all good things--in addition to having the reconstruction work begin.

But if you've ever had a loss, it's not as easy as actually getting the money and having it.

No. The check is processed by the insurance company payable to the homeowner AND the mortgage company.  The mortgage company holds the money and disburses it out as the work is done on the house, typically in thirds.

The isn't a major problem EXCEPT we've already paid the contractor about 1/3 from our own savings while waiting for the check to be processed.  Okay.  Still shouldn't be a major problem, since the check came in today's mail. (Yippie!) HOWEVER, the mortgage company released the funds payable to us AND the contractor. (Crap!)

AND since we owe less on the mortgage than the settlement, not only did the mortgage company release the first 1/3, but added to that check the excess over what we owe on our mortgage.  (Yippie!) To the contractor and us, jointly. (Oh, crap!)

But wait. Yippie, you say.  More money is good, right? Shouldn't be a problem.  Have the contractor sign off on the check, deposit it into your account.


Our bank won't handle checks that are written jointly to a company and a person.  (Crap!)

:head desk:

So I tried to explain this to the mortgage company:  IF I endorse the check and hand it over to the contractor, it will account for 80% of the job, given that I've already paid about 1/3 from our savings. We are not 80% through the construction process. It's a big mistake to pay a contractor in advance for work not yet done. If they'd only payed out 1/3, then I would have been more comfortable handing over that amount, though I would rather not pay more than the percentage that the job is complete.  But because they added so much to the check, I now have money I can't use. 

The mortgage company will bump my claim to their exceptions department, but it will take approximately a week to make a decision, then likely another week if they release any of the funds to us alone.

In the meanwhile, we will likely have more money hemorrhaging from our personal savings to pay for the work on the house.

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