How we closed, and what NACA could/should improve

Home Forums Purchase Program How we closed, and what NACA could/should improve

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    We closed on our home on Friday, May 16, 2014. We started the process in February 2013. We had to stop the qualification process in May 2013 because I did not have a year at my current job, and the MC did not know (!) that I had to have at least one year. We restarted the process in December 2013. In this post, I would like to share my thoughts on where in the purchase process NACA could/should make improvements. Hopefully, this also serves as advice for those who are in the purchase process.

    The qualification process should not be difficult for people who have their accounts in order and have supports for all the requirements, so I won’t write about that. I will write about what happens after you get qualified. We got qualified at the end of February 2014.

    One usually starts with the purchase workshop. There isn’t much of an issue with that, except that the amount of information can be overwhelming. You should take it easy and ask as much as you can. In any case, you will still have more unanswered questions, especially if it is your first home purchase, as it was in our case.

    You have to hire a real estate agent. I would say that you definitely need somebody who is familiar with the NACA process. We hired somebody from Redfin, because of the rebate that they offer (a couple of thousand dollars in our case), and had to explain the process to him without us knowing completely what it was about. It was painful and stressful (I guess that the couple thousand helped to alleviate these issues).

    The next step is the home search. You will try to find something quick, since the qualification only lasts for 3 months. That is what we did. Our offer was accepted after negotiating with the seller at a price that was more than what we were willing to pay. There is never a free lunch in economics, so the additional time that we were giving us to close in the contract, we had to pay it in dollars on the purchase price. Recall that to make an offer, your real estate agent, or you, have to send your MLO the form with all the details of the property and the tax and listing information before making an offer, because you need a letter from NACA that says that you will be willing to afford the house. Again, if your MLO is good, this part should not be a problem. Advice: Scan all the forms that you will be given in the purchase workshop, that way you can send them by email to your real estate agent whenever needed.

    The problems start when you sign the contract and commit to deadlines. We signed our contract in mid March 2014 and had to close on April 30, 2014.

    The first thing here is the inspection. You have to hire a NACA inspector and get the report within certain days, according to the contract. In a sellers market, like the one in northern Virginia, you don’t ask the seller to make repairs, and that is what we did.

    Then, you have to find a NACA recommended contractor to fix whatever the inspector found, or do the jobs in your wishlist. That was complicated for us, since we could not find contractors with licenses in our area. Actually, in our case, one of the contractors still does not submit to HAND the paperwork required to start the work. Here NACA/HAND could make things easier explaining more in detail how and facilitating the possibility to work with any contractor.

    Once you are in a contract and are sent to the UW (credit access) to update all your supports, you get approved to submit the bank application. That happened to us at the beginning of April 2014. We were assigned to Citibank/Citimortgage. This process is usually fast if you have all your supporting documentation and your MLO is good. The bank checked our documents quickly and came back with conditions.

    One thing that you have to do in terms of the contract has to do with the appraisal, which is ordered by the bank. Hopefully, it comes at or higher than the contract price. In our case, it came below the contract price. When we asked NACA what to do about that, I got like 10 different answers. It was horrible. I called the bank to ask what the appraisal meant, and they never answered the phone. I had to sign an addendum to see if we should have continued with the contract, but could not get clarification from anybody, except from the director of NACARED, who could answer my questions thoroughly. Here NACA could improve the way the persons in a contract can contact the people who know the answers. By the way, don’t bother asking anything to your MLO. He/She does not know anything besides managing your file and submitting documents.

    In the meantime, the contractors were sending the information to HAND. They received the accepted bids in mid April. Here is where our problems started. The HAND department is extremely slow. The persons in charge of our file did not show up to work for two days. Long story short, it was the day of closing (April 30) and they just finished approving the final budget. I had to ask for an extension of 9 days to the seller, who granted it in very unhappy terms (remember, this is a very competitive sellers market). Here NACA needs to improve its timing. It is terrible and frustrating what happens with HAND.

    The bank checked our file and came back with more conditions on April 30. Here I see room for improvement: the bank could have checked our file before getting the HAND budget, so that they could have cleared all the remaining conditions in our file. However, they did not do it after they sent the first conditions at the beginning of April and we sent them the answers. We replied with answers to the conditions of April 30 immediately, but they did not checked our file again until one day before the already extended closing date, 4 business days after having sent the answers to the conditions.

    The bank only checked our file on that date (one day before closing) after I sent an email to the director of Citimortgage. They contacted me and offered to have a response by the end of the day. They did have a response immediately that day, and the person from Citimortgage that handles the NACA loans offered me to expedite the process. NACA will tell you not to contact the bank, but I can show that contacting the bank was the only way they knew that the closing date was almost there and they needed to have a response. [Anecdote here: I posted on this forum saying that the date of closing was approaching and that I needed an answer from the bank. Tim Trumble answered that I should ‘relax’. Tim is a very nice person and he helped me through the process a couple of times, but I consider that that answer was really unfortunate.] Here there is room for improvement: Supposedly, the bank only contacts NACA management, and through them is how your request are passed to the bank as well. Needless to say, there are (many?) instances where communications don’t reach the interested parties. Don’t bother to contact your MLO. He is unable to solve this problem.

    We could not close on the extended closing date because the bank requested a certified translation for a document that I submitted. They never asked me for that certified translation before. I could have done it in no time and send it to them. The seller put the house back on the market and threatened to take our deposit and additional legal actions. They were the worst days of my life. Fortunately, the person from the bank continued contacting me and kept me up to date with the developments of our application. Two business days after the extended closing date the bank approved our loan. Now we needed a closing date to offer to the seller.

    NACA came back asking 15 days to close. I almost died when they said that. I emailed all the big guys at NACA, asking them to provide a much closer closing date, given the circumstances: house back on the market, deposit, etc. Eventually, that day one big guy replied copying NACA processing and said that the file was ready to close in no more than 3 more business days. Then, we offered that to the seller, and he agreed to extend one more time for those 3 days. The processing department started to do what was needed to close in those 3 days. It is worth to mention that I begged the persons from processing to give me a much closer closing date, without getting any reply from them.

    In the end, we made it. I send my prayers to all the people who work at NACA. I believe that they are doing what they can, but there is always room for improvement. I will be thankful forever to Bruce Marks and his team.

    And you, who are fighting for your house, don’t give up. Make this a personal thing and don’t let the circumstances defeat you. My prayers for you too. Be strong.


    Congratulations on your closing!


    I’m so glad you were able to close. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and advice.
    Our contracted closing date is next Friday, May 30th but since we had to renegotiate the price due to a low appraisal, we lost a week.
    We are still waiting for a final budget approval from the HAND Dept and who knows what other conditions Citi will throw at us.
    I’m trying very hard not to be anxious. Praying has helped with that.
    Congratulations on your new house!! Enjoy! I’m so glad our prayers were answered for you.


    Hello everyone,

    Congratulations manuelgonzalez on your closing!

    Your hit the nail on the head with your statement ” I believe that they are doing what they can, but there is always room for improvement.” We are continually looking for ways to improve and streamline the process without compromising the factors that make our mortgage product possible.

    As for those who say “nobody at NACA cares”, how about this: Spend ONE DAY working side by side with a NACA counselor, then let’s see if you are singing the same tune. Walk a mile in their shoes before passing judgement.

    All that having been said, I hope everyone listens to the podcast of today’s NACA Radio program either on or iTunes. Listen to Realtor Matt Ghazarian and how he is working with home buyers start to finish and makes sure everything is in place and ready to go before the intake appointment!

    The process can be done quickly and efficiently, but dumping everything on the MC, Underwriter, HAND, etc. is only asking for delays. Matt proves that when it is a cooperative effort from everyone from the very start, things can in fact move very quickly. And he is even in a city that doesn’t have a NACA office yet! A proactive team effort can make a huge difference.

    Tim Trumble
    Online Operations, NACA


    MG 76
    I am in a very similar position as you are. I am actually in tears writing this email. I would be grateful if you could share that email address of the NACA director at CITI with me. I am in MD and it seems that you are in VA. I am working with new construction builders that are taking my 10k deposit and putting the property back on the market in a few days. My MC is working hard but I can’t get anywhere. My issue is that my townhouse has condo management and it requires all this extra stuff that was submit days and days ago.

    Since it worked for you maybe it can work for me.

    Im desperate can you help? You described those days as “the worst days of your life”. I am experiencing those now. My son and I have to be out in less than a week. Im a mess.

    Please any feedback will help me. If you don’t want to post on the forum. Can you email me personally?
    Thank you


    Hi mg76,

    Do you remember who you used for your Northern Virginia home inspector? We can’t seem to find any and the list that was provided to us are all in DC, Maryland or Richmond, VA. We need to act fast.



    It pretty much sounds exactly like my story. Thanks for giving me a little peace by reading your end. We are 2 days from closing and no answer from my MC or the bank. 🙁 Ill keep my faith at its best and my prayers at all times! Thanks! Congrats on your house!!!

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