Sticky Notes

I used to call my bullet posts “sticky notes” because they reminded me of all the little things I scribble on, well, sticky notes (Post-It being a specific BRAND of same) to write about later, except that I rarely, actually do.

This post is actually about the sticky notes themselves. You see, when I was purging my desk of the remnants of my life in loans, I also threw out big stacks of sticky notes. Why? Because these were the free ones, given as marketing toys by various title companies and mortgage lenders, and with the current state of the mortgage industry, keeping them around was too depressing.

I look at the company names and think, “I wonder if Amy/Rachel/Tina/Nicole/Joe/Mike is still employed. I wonder if they’re still in the industry.”

The thing about the real estate industry, whether it’s the part where you sell houses, or the part where you finance them, is that, like a sticky note stuck to the bottom of your shoe, it stays with you. You may think you’ve left, but then three years later, you’ll find yourself telling a friend, “Let me look at your Good Faith Estimate before you sign it, and just make sure you’re not being overcharged, or underquoted,” and someone overhears you, and, and, and…

Or two years later, in the midst of a mortgage industry crisis a recruiter calls you, and asks if you want to give up your self-employment as a writer and come back to work, and it’s all you can do not to rudely laugh in their face, when you ask. “Are there actually companies still running?”

The thing is, a lot of what’s happening is NOT the fault of individual lenders, or a problem that originated in the industry. It’s cascade failure. It’s a last-straw scenario. It’s, “fuel is getting more expensive, but we need fuel to deliver goods, so to offset it we’re cutting jobs,” followed by “honey, I’m looking but no one in my field is hiring,” followed by having to choose between paying for your house or buying food, and, while it’s true that there ARE predatory lenders, and always have been, most of these companies are completely above-board, and if their customers didn’t read the part of the contract where it says in really big, black letters, “THIS IS AN ADJUSTABLE. IT WILL GO UP IN 2 YEARS, AND WILL FLUCTUATE THEREAFTER,” it really isn’t their fault.

For that matter, not all adjustables are bad. There’s a reason they exist, and there are times when they’re extremely advantageous.

But it’s more than I can explain on a sticky note.