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A Personal Look at Home Finance

A Personal Look at Home Finance

Owning a home has become one of the many things my wife Deanna and I just haven't gotten around to doing. We're "make-it-happen" sort of people, but that philosophy didn't help us to make it happen when it came to home ownership - quite the opposite, actually. Right after college, we eloped and spent several months traveling abroad. Even after returning to the states, we depended heavily on credit cards and moved from place to place so we could live in all the cities we dreamed about.

Two years into our marriage, when we finally settled down, took steady jobs and started to pay down our debt, purchasing a home kept getting put off for one reason or another. One big reason was the unplanned arrival of our first child Andrew. He came along around the time that Deanna's parents gave us $5,000. It was unspoken, but we both knew they wanted us to put the money toward a down payment on a house. Instead we found out that Andrew was on his way, and before we knew it, the $5,000 had been spent preparing for his arrival.

This year, Deanna went back to work and took a processing assistant position at a mortgage company. We had sort of settled into the idea that owning a home would have to wait until we could save up for a down payment, but a couple of days ago, Deanna came home from work to tell me about some of the products her company offered to its clients.

For one thing, she said, there were more than a few 100% financing options available. Down payments weren't always necessary. I reminded her that since I'd become self-employed and she had just

started her new job, it would be pretty difficult for us to be approved for a mortgage. Again, she surprised me by letting me know about the many programs designed especially for self-employed individuals. Apparently her company had products for both W-2 employees and self-employed people like me. We could look into a stated income program that would focus more on our credit score, or opt for a program that would evaluate my income based on my tax returns instead of requiring copies of pay stubs.

I was beginning to feel the same excitement I could hear in Deanna's voice, but then my hopes dropped right back down as I remembered the price I'd seen on a fairly small home in a nearby neighborhood. I shared my concerns that, even if we could get approved, we might be taking on a larger monthly payment than we would be comfortable with, given the trends in property values in our area. Deanna had an answer for this as well. She told me that interest-only mortgages were allowing families to purchase homes they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford, and that for those leery of the adjustable rates often associated with these types of loans, there

were fixed-rate programs of this type becoming available.

Tomorrow, both Deanna and I will be at her office at 8:00 a.m. We have an appointment with a loan officer to discuss our financial situation and see about becoming pre-qualified for a mortgage. For the first time in a long time, I feel confident that we'll be approved, and I'm particularly excited about the 80 / 20 programs that would allow us to take out a first and second mortgage on a home in order to get 100% of the cost financed without having to pay mortgage insurance, or "M.I." as Deanna calls it.

Of course this is a big step for Deanna and me, but more than anything, I'm hoping this will come through for Andrew. He'll be turning five in a few months, and Deanna has already hinted at throwing him a backyard birthday party. We won't know for quite a few more years if he's inherited our penchant for world travel, but either way, I want him get used to coming home to a house he can call his own.

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