Home ownership

A little shy of 22 years ago, I was in my second year working for the last company I would ever work for.

The prior year, I had purchased my first ever new car and now, at the ripe age of 36 and still not close to earning my age after a career reboot, I was faced with the daunting task of finding a new place to live.

After over a decade of comfortably living in a nice 2/2 rental condo, I was being booted by the non-local landlord. He was discharging all his out-of-state properties and I just happened to be renting one.

After some frantic house viewing and an outbid, I finally landed here, in my current home. With little credit or savings (well, more like “none”), I was at least able to grab the “first time buyer” program and only have to drop 5% down.

The interest rate was 7.5%, which I was told was good at the time (mid-90’s). My payments were survivable, though it kept me on an extremely ascetic lifestyle.

Fast-forwarding to many years later, a friend of mine and financial guru convinced me to refinance my home. With his connections and the situation at the time, I was able to knock a 30-year mortgage down to 15-years with no increase in monthly payment and no fees. Dropping down to 4.875% was the payment part. My buddy took care of the fees part.

Speed forward again, to early 2009. I decided it was time to update the home and went to my buddy again. He hooked me up with an equity credit line and I pumped half again the price of the home into the renovations (it was a bargain price home, so don’t get too swoony).

Two months later I was “laid off” (I prefer to call it being fired, but they did pay me severance).

Bringing us up to current day, I was working on my budget for next year (more on that tomorrow) and it became apparent there was no longer a benefit to paying the monthly mortgage. It was due to be paid off in April of next year anyway, so I called to get a payoff quote and went through the gymnastics.

Last Friday, I received the “payoff letter”. I await my refunded escrow money and the all-important, never-before seen or owned house deed. Then I will buy a safe (a small one) for the one piece of real property I finally own that needs safekeeping. I’ve never been a jewelry man and I have nothing else of individual real value, but that deed will be more than worth it.

I don’t want to be too blathery about it, since I haven’t received anything yet, but it seems remarkable and I anticipate it will feel wonderful when I do finally possess that piece of paper. I understand I may need to take a few more steps myself to make that happen, but, hey, I’ve got time.

Now I need to get used to the lump sums I’ll need to pay each year for insurance and taxes. But, that’s what budgeting is for (yes, tomorrow).

In the meantime, I’m excited and a little bit disbelieving that the phrase “I own my home” is now really a true statement.

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