Friday, May 17, 2013

What do you want to be when you grow up?

If anyone asked you what would you want to do for the rest of your life how would you answer? I have been asked that question two times this week. I am nearing the end of earning another two year degree in general studies with only three classes left, (Note: I have earned my first associates degree at Johnson and Wales University for culinary arts). My best guess is that when people here that I am nearing graduation they feel compelled to jokingly ask the question, "So what do you want to be when you grow up?" I shake my head and ponder, thinking WOW! like I've never been asked this before :) Fortunate for me I do know what I want to do, sort of. I've got a direction anyway. When I think about my true passion I see a need to fulfill my dreams of working to help people live THEIR dreams! I believe people (without discrimination) should live the American dream of owning their own property! So perhaps I will become a a Real Estate Agent when I grow up. Is it wrong to say that I want to help families live comfortably within their means, allowing them opportunities that only "land lords" can afford to give said "people" in substandard housing; rebuilding not only communities but a renewed sense of what it is to share in American Pride and be an American, AND help save the homeless and the planet at the same time. How sad to think that here in my home town we had families living in their cars while they were waiting for housing to "become available." That's a fate worse than living in substandard housing. Not to mention the many homes that are boarded up all throughout my neighborhood while our housing authority was giving away recently less than five years upgraded apartments to the fire department for practice to build more apartments while also building brand new two story homes and selling them in place of smaller, more affordable homes using Community Block Development Grants, then selling these newer homes for $180,000 per home to people who worked at Burger King. Kudos to the city and the housing authority for giving it their best shot! Unfortunately this housing will eventually decay and become substandard as well repeating the disposable/upgrade process again in another 20 years which has seem to become the trend for this particular city. Not even a going green effort put into this project, but more importantly was this really a good use of federal funds? The local Habitat for Humanity isn't doing any better. All they can see is buying any or most available land throughout the city, well at least not the newer neighborhoods, and building new for just over $100,000. Affordable? Debatable. When my now ex-husband and I bought our home we paid $78,000 for a two story 2500 square foot home. Some may argue that 2500 square foot may be too large, but this could be justified with the many newer homes that were being built with a similar amount of or more square footage. Our mortgage payments were $678 per month with taxes and insurance included. Very affordable. Somewhere near the end of our divorce the ex made an unwise decision to rewrite the loan for $50,000 to upgrade our property with another so called mortgage company increasing our mortgage to $130,000 which made our payment increase while decreasing the value of our home. We were what some would call "upside down" in this endeavor leaving us with an increased payment of $1,082 per month. Some may think that this is not a big deal, but for us it was detrimental. It cut an elephantine hole in our monthly budget. This loan was not your typical loan. It eliminated the rolled in insurance and taxes of the property from the loan aka the escrow; it was an ARM loan. My best guess is that these ARM loans helped to put many a people in dire straits with their properties. But what if you could buy a home that is already built and fix the issues combining living comfortably not only within your means but also in an environmentally comfort zone? I have lived through this experience and have done enough research that I have figured the answer to this question out and I want to share! What can people really!? I mean realistically afford for housing?