Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'm Banking On It!

As my husband nears the completion of school in April and the stress of being closer to 30 than 20 looms, I made a decision. I decided that we should be more grown up. We should purchase a home and stop living in other people’s basements and cast off homes. With this thought in my mind, I joyfully logged onto the MLS website to see what homes were currently available in a normal person’s price range. (Although I am not normal, I operate on a normal person’s budget.) My once joy-filled heart sank as the only normal-priced homes available were one bedroom ‘condos’. I don’t know if these homes can even be considered condos. They are apartment buildings that are being renovated into condos – which means that they are going to finally rip out the shag carpet from 1963, put in a plastic tub surround in the bathroom, replace the matching olive colored stove/fridge duo and perhaps tile the mini-galley kitchen. And they are selling these one bedroom ‘condos’ for $200,000!! Somehow living in a castoff home seems better than sharing all my walls, ceilings and floors with someone else and having to save all my quarters for the shared, yet oh so convenient laundry facilities just down the hall.

Finally, I found a house that I could love. It had 10 foot ceilings, a wrap around porch, a den, a breakfast room, 3 bedrooms, a stone fireplace, lovely bathrooms with marble counter tops and it was only a mere *cough* $267,000 . Although I knew there was no possible way the Hoffmans would be able to purchase the home, I grabbed my friend and off we went to view it. Within 30 seconds of walking in the front door, I fell madly in love with it. I made the poor real estate man stay there for two hours while I ranted and raved my ecstatic feelings for the old farm house built in 1917. The basement foundation was still in great shape, but it seemed to be at odds with the rest of the house. There seemed to be a falling out of some kind – the porch was desperately trying to leave the relationship by falling off the front of the house and the rest of the house had angrily shifted a few feet to the left. I left saddened that not only I could not afford the house in the first place, but that I would have to dump another $30,000 into it to save it from toppling over and stop the leaking in the roof.

I went home dejected, yet determined to be able to purchase a home one day. Suddenly, I got the brilliant idea to go to the bank to talk to them about how to purchase a home – after all, I would eventually need them to fork out the cash, right? I dislike banks and try to avoid them. I always feel ridiculous trying to sort out finances with people that know everything about anything financial. I never know the correct answer to their questions.

Banker – So with this RRSP do you plan on trading Options and Futures?
Donloree – Umm…uh…well, what would you do?
Banker – It’s up to you, it’s your choice.
Donloree – Well, I suppose so. I didn’t know that I had an option to trade futures with other people. Is Bill Gates’ future still up for grabs?
Banker – So, that’s a no then. Ok. Next question.
Donloree – Uh, yeah, next question…

Since I had to go talk to a banker, I decided to do my best to come across as put together, professional and very smart about all things financial. I put on my demure, “yes, I am a business woman and should not be trifled with due to my high level of sophistication” look, a nice outfit and high heels and went confidently into the bank. Everyone took notice – mostly because those danged heels are so loud with the tile floors and high ceilings!! I didn’t let it faze me though - I went in, got an appointment with a banker, walked over, shook her hand while looking her straight in the eye. I was prepared and ready to face her many questions while she opened up all of my personal financial information.

After all my preparation, she turned out to be the nicest possible banker in the whole wide world. She even laughed with me, not at me – nor was she demeaning in any way to our meager beginnings at trying to scrape together a down payment and pay off all our student loans. I didn’t have to start fasting and praying that she would be nice and help us out. I went home thankful and blessed that we are on the road towards getting our own home, not having to share laundry with anyone and perhaps having an actual yard to relax in during the summer and spring. Oh yeah, and most important – no more corner lot to shovel in the winter time!


Bradley Bunch said...

I can't wait for you two to have a house of your very own! how exciting!
anytime you need someone to house hunt with you, give me a shout... i quite enjoy looking at other people's houses. just call me 'snoopy'

J Man said...

Run away from the banks! They just want to take your money. I'm serious! If you guys want to buy a house, talk to a mortgage broker - they'll get you a way better deal. If you don't know any, I can definitely refer you to a wonderful woman who will make your day. :)