Subject: Companion Story to Home Ownership-Take the Test
The article Home Ownership is Dead – Take the test, written by my colleague, was really interesting and informative and should be required reading in schools. It is apparent that it is almost impossible to ever own a home free and clear these days. You would have to be able to keep your job, never have children and pay on it until you were a senior citizen. I am talking about the ordinary working person. Do you want to live in the same house all your life? Do you want to have to continually be making the repairs? Yes, we are taught the American Dream is to own your own home. You don’t think about the fact that property taxes could go sky high or there would come a time when you still owed more on your home than it was worth after paying on it for years? Your interest payment could be as much as rent would be. You never get either one back. So that’s a trade off.
I was raised with the mind set, get a home, get it paid for. Never go in debt. Work or you don’t eat. I followed what my parents taught me and I cant say it was the best advice. I stayed the same but the world around me changed. I definitely had the American Dream. I met a man who had the same dream. Yes we had the perfect wedding that we could afford, with only 6 wedding guests. But we did not go in debt. We both had jobs at Boeing. Got married and saved every penny and within a year were able to pay cash for a run down tiny house. We paid $2500 for it. Every night after work we remodeled. Within two years we were able to sell it for $4500. With a thousand dollars added to that we paid cash for the house I still live in. We paid $5,500 for this house that I have lived in for 66 years. Repairs just keep showing up. We built the white picket fence. We had 3 children. I had to quit work but we were never in debt. My husband died of cancer, I went back to work, finished raising the children alone, and am still in my old house. The property has been re-zoned. The assessor has assessed the land at its “best and highest use” which is two 8 unit condos. The property tax now is almost as much each year as I paid for the house. I get a senior citizen discount but cant sell my house as a single family dwelling and no condo’s are being build around me so I have never had a new house and never will.
Looking back at my experience of home ownership I would not change a thing. There was never a time in my life that I had to worry about foreclosure. The best great feature my home had was a Title that said it was mine, free and clear. BUT, I was also chained to it more or less. I could not sell it for enough to upgrade into a newer nicer house without having a house payment to make. Now with my land assessed at an inflated, stupid, arbitrary figure and my home assessed at $1,00(they call it a tear down) I still am sort of stuck here. If I were able to sell for $300,000, I would have to live someplace and houses are that price and more for most places. I am near 90 and I don’t want to move into a nice new place. Young people these days are more interested in big brand new homes, and if they can find a way to squeak into one they don’t think about what a small portion of their house payment actually goes on the principle. They have to have big screen TV’s and new furniture and they are sitting pretty FOR AWHILE. What will happen when you are laid off from your job? What happens when the perfect marriage goes south? You lose everything. In my case I have never had new furniture, never used a credit card, always lived in and old house needing repairs, but knew I would never be homeless. You have to judge which is the best for you. I can’t see how my great grandchildren can ever dream of buying a home. Hope this gives you a comparison with the previous article.