In Which I Complain

Okay, so, I’ve been talking to everyone I see in person about buying a house, everyone except for a banker, because I just don’t want to go in and waste time if I can’t afford a mortgage.  And so I’m playing this fucked up game in my mind where I talk about getting a house and I dream about getting a house, but I go to the mortgage calculators online and they say that I can’t afford a house.

Never mind that every month I write a check that is a house payment.  Hell, it’s probably more than the payment on this place.

And I’ve been told by the Recovering Baptist and by others that this is a stupid fear to have–that you just have to sit down and talk to someone because what the mortgage calculators say and what a lender is going to say are two different things.

I know this is probably true.

But I’m terrified.  I’ve put it off on the Butcher.  For reasons convoluted and obviously untrue, it’s his fault that I haven’t talked to a lender.  See, he took my lips when he went to Illinois.  Or something.

The Professor and I went driving around yesterday looking at houses and we ended up having lunch at that new deli in Inglewood, which was right around the corner from a couple of places I looked at.  And the people were friendly and funky and the neighborhood felt cheery and established and I felt like I could imagine living there.

That made me happy and sad.

Anyway, this isn’t really getting me anywhere.  But that deli… Oh holy shit.  You must go and try their sandwiches.  They are fantastic.  Best French Dip in town.

15 thoughts on “In Which I Complain

  1. Pingback: Music City Bloggers » Blog Archive » Should She Or Shouldn’t She?

  2. Even if a banker turns you down, you can go for a non qualifying assumable loan. Nothing to do but assume the loan–with a good interest rate, of course.

    Secondly, look for absolute auctions. The seller has to sell to the highest bidder, which is usually thousands of dollars bellow the appraisal. It’s not unusual to get a 200 thousand dollar home for 120 thousand dollars at these auctions because there are cosmetic problems. So you put 3 or 4 thousand into fixing cosmetic problems, and you still have a double digit profit before you even move in.

    Do you know where the UA Tower is on 17th? It sold at absolute auction. It was expected to go for over a million. It went for just over 200 thousand dollars. No choice–absolute auction.

    So even if a banker turns you down, (and I doubt the banker would) you have good options.

    I once bought a house on Belmont that was a non qualifying assumable loan. They’re all over the place in the best locations.

    The Sunday paper lists the absolute auctions and non qualifying assumable loans.

  3. If a dork like me can wind up with a home, any bipedal super-monkey can do it. Trust yourself. You know it’s time.

  4. When you do your financial calculations, be sure to plan to have an emergency fund. As a home owner, if your heater breaks or a pipe bursts or the roof is damaged in such a way that needs immediate attention… you will be responsible for those costs.

    That’s one reason why your rent is more than the payment on your house: so the landlord will be able to afford the repairs on it. The landlord is also profiting from you, so I agree with your reasoning that if you can afford a rent payment on a house you should be able to afford a house payment.

    But just go into this with your eyes open.

  5. Do it. Do it. Do it. We were going broker (?) every month with rent and utilities and thought having a house was totally out of reach. There are things you can do that might help relieve the strain on your pocket.
    Check out the first-time home buyer program. See if your bank has a class for first-time buyers; taking it can reduce or eliminate some fees..
    Ask if the seller will pay your closing costs in return for you increasing your bid by that amount. That can reduce or eliminate you having to come up with a down, etc.
    Get a certified home inspector to check out the place before you buy. It is worth it. The seller had to replace the furnace and hot water heater, and repair damage from a chimney fire they had tried to conceal, and all at their cost.
    Sorry to jump in on the conversation with this, but we are still thrilled after nine years that we own a home. We never would have even tried without someone having told us the above.

  6. My personal advice, whatever the mortgage folks tell you what you can be approved for, only go 80% of that total.

    That, and follow the gay people. Gentification is your friend if you get in early.

  7. I second Lee’s advice that you should buy less house than they tell you can afford. You should also make sure it’s in an area where you feel comfortable alone, at night, and make sure you get a fixed interest rate, not this “balloon” business that is causing people so much trouble right now. Come up with a list of absolute musts, preferred features, and no-go things when you work with a Realtor – ours used this list to find our current house, which even I hadn’t found online.

  8. Yes to the buying less than you are approved for loaning. We did two smart things when we bought this house: 1) we bought it within an easy walk of the place where we knew that we’d be working for the next several years and on a bus line (making it easy to live with one car and less fuel costs) and 2) we chose a house that was 25% below what we were steered towards/what we were approved for. Those two things pretty much account for any quality of life we have at the moment — we’re not constantly stressing out about how to pay for a too-big mortgage on our too-big house and we are less hard-hit by spiking fuel prices.

    I would say, though, that the “place you feel safe” is something that I wish I had thought more about. I’d be tempting fate to walk around my neighborhood after dark and I can’t tell you how much that “held hostage in my own house” can get to me.

  9. Always be aware that you may have to pay for something falling off your house. When you own you have to have a little stash for repairs.

  10. What Lee and Rachel and Bridgett said is very good advice indeed.

    Buying a house is scary, but it’s also very rewarding on a lot of levels that are hard to explain. There’s something to the thought that it’s YOURS. There’s also something to having your yard and feeling okay to plant a tree.

    I have several friends who’ve bought cute little places in Inglewood on salaries under $40K/year. In fact, two of them moved there from your neighbourhood. (They were paying the same kind of rent you were and were able to transition fairly easily to home ownership in Inglewood.)

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