does this mean I’m grown up?

I’m sitting at a sports bar booth alone with my laptop surrounded by about four dozen middle-aged men. I blend in like Chuck Norris at a tea party. It’s Friday afternoon at 4:30pm right before the long weekend and I’ve got about two hours to kill before I meet up with my soon-to-be-husband. I just got the keys to our condo.

WHAT!?

Yes. I’m a homeowner.

Since when and how did I become responsible enough to be a homeowner? That is a question probably many of you may wonder and trust me, no one has asked how this was possible more than myself. Part of me wants to jump up and dance to Smash-Mouth’s Allstar and another part of me feels like I might throw up in my mouth a little. Did a bank seriously determine we were fit to carry a mortgage? No offense Ms. Mortgage-Specialist but did you notice that only one of us has a career started here? Did you not see my $27,000 in student loans? Or maybe I forgot to mention that I once flushed a $400 pair of glasses down a toilet? Am I really the clientele you deem fit to finance a few hundred thousand dollars in loan?

Apparently so. (And thank heavens for that).

This post is meant to give hope to any young couple, single person, or anyone for that matter who really wants to own a property but doesn’t think it possible. Sure the interest policies may have tightened up a bit since that whole recession/market-crash episode but if people like us can still be approved for mortgages, than pretty much anyone with some form of stable income can. Find creative ways of bolstering your case with the bank and search for homes that are truly in your budget. I had a letter of employment stating what a wonderful long-term asset I was to the company. Howie had his employer state that if he didn’t get into teacher’s college he would be hired back after the summer. We borrowed his dad’s Corvette when attending every and all banking-related meetings.

And so what if your budget does not allow you to buy a dream home at first? We certainly didn’t. Our condo is part of a 20+ year old building and we live across the hall from a permanently sweatpants-wearing smoker who lives with his mother. But the key is to at least start your journey on the property ladder. Who knows? In three years when we decide we can afford a house and central air and yards between neighbors we might be able to keep the condo as a rental property.

But in the meantime, our not-so-perfect starter home has provided us with a multitude of opportunities to bond as a couple. Who cares if neither one of us has picked up a wrench? I’m sure renovating a bathroom can’t be that complicated. (More on that to follow). Having a not-so perfect starter home creates the kind of memories that we tend to treasure and look back on with a smile. As I’m finding more and more often its the hiccups in life that tend to create the most laughter, the better stories, and the kind of glue that bonds family and friends together.

Point is, start somewhere, and don’t be afraid to make the leap. Property is generally the best long-term investment you could ever make. (Provided you don’t live in Detroit).

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