Friday, February 20, 2009

Trailer Trash

I wanted to talk about my thoughts and experiences with real estate. Coming from a family with no dad and a single mom with three boys living on welfare, I have always been drawn to ways of making money and a better life. For many years I have had an interest in buying my own home. Also I have enjoyed reading about how I could get into the "game" and how to buy and sell and/or buy and hold investment properties--among many other ideas. I have read countless books about this subject,magazine articles, watched numerous TV shows,researched on the Internet, and have even ordered a "book system" when I was younger (and not as wise!). There has been no bigger fan of the flipping homes shows on the networks TLC and A&E than me. My girlfriend has had enough of them- trust me on that one--she lets me know all the time!
All my adult life I have rented in mainly nice apartments. Each one was usually better and more expensive than the last. This was probably due to feed my own self worth and my ego. I paid those rent payments on time each month to my credit. Looking back, I dont know how I did it except for pure dedication, having my priorities straight, and sacrificing in other areas. I know that you need to save money for a down payment and to have a good credit score--I worked diligently on my credit after really messing up in about 1995 at the age of 21 or so.I tried to get a loan through the bank which fell through because I received a 1099;although my income, credit score, and rental history were great. Well, I could rarely find the money to save so I decided to try to get a house another way. A creative way! I had read all about lease options and thought maybe this was the way to go. I was leaving my apartment one day headed to work and saw a nice, relatively new house with a sign out front advertising lease option. I decided to go for it- a 3 br, 2 ba house with a fenced in back yard for $118,000--and guess what ,I got approved. At the time, my girlfriend and I were so happy- she was pregnant with our son Ryan. He would be due about six months later. Heck, it was what I always wanted--the American Dream- and a way to start turning my life around, prove that I was somebody. and to start building wealth. She would eventually move in there with me and we would live happily ever after. Lol we were happy but thats not exactly how things would work out.
Well here is the first thing I did "wrong". I borrowed the $5000 down payment he wanted off a cash advance on one of my credit cards. With the down payment, our rent would be $650 a month with a $125 credit towards purchase and we would have two years to get a loan for the house. Pretty good terms overall-plus the rent was only a $100 increase over my apartment rent. I loved our house! It was ours after all and I jumped wholeheartedly into things like yard work and landscaping. I tried my best to secure a loan through my bank, Bank of America, and then through Country Wide to no avail. I jumped through so many hoops for it only to fall apart--mainly because of the 1099 and them not taking taxes out on me. Of course, I paid taxes-but somehow that would say that they didnt have sufficient enough proof of my income. There went my hopes and dreams and my $5000. Plus I lost $3000 in the monthly credits and the appreciation of the house $7000. Besides of course not getting the house and putting myself into more credit card debt, I dont have much regret. I know people will think I am crazy!! However I am glad that I took a chance and the risk. It just didnt work out my way, but at least I tried. And guess what? I still want the chance to own my own home and to have some investment property.
This leads me to my final point and where my family and I have ended up today. Have you ever thought about living in a mobile home --commonly referred to as a trailer. Well I never thought in my life I would. I had tried all my life to improve myself and my situation. Living in a trailer would definitely be 3 steps back, and I am sure I even swore that I would never live in one. I was too good!! Imagine that-- the poor kid raised in Section 8 housing swearing to be too good to live in a trailer! So if you really are behind in your life and want to get ahead, I want to propose a question to you. Could you live in a trailer? Now I am not talking about for the rest of your life or even as an appreciating investment--we all know that mobile homes lose value quickly.(although there are books and websites dedicated to making money through mobile homes)
My girlfriends parents have a house and some land in what would be considered the country ;although it is near three large cities. They had basically an abandoned trailer that they used to live in years ago on their property. They offered to let us live there rent free. So we took them up on it and only had to do some major cleaning out --it had become a sort of storage room. We have been here only a year and four months but let me tell you, it is great not having to pay rent. Very nice of her parents!! You know, its not ideally were I want to be and we want be here forever. I decided to see it as an opportunity to get our debt paid off and to get ahead again in life--although my employment last year helped kill that plan somewhat. Things are looking up on that front and I am still optimistic for this year on getting back on track. The trailer itself has not been that bad-- its supplied what we needed-although not my ideal $400,000 home-- and kept us from having to worry about an apt. payment. Think about it. A used trailer can be bought very cheaply and save you tons of money say towards your new house.I know first hand that living here hasnt changed who I am and where I plan to go. Many people have even temporarily lived in a mobile home while their home was being built on their land. These are just a few thought to think about.In closing, I would like to re ask the question--could moving to a trailer change your life?

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