Securing a place to live literally | AspenTimes.com

Securing a place to live literally

Janet Urquhart

A week from today, I could be a homeowner. Talk about impulse buying. We were just looking, but wound up making an offer on virtually the first thing we saw because, we were advised, it was not likely to remain on the market for more than an instant. People, we were told, were offering to buy it sight-unseen. We coughed up a number and here we are.The whole process has certainly been an eye-opening experience – one that most people my age have been through at least once before. It’s all new to me, though, and a little unnerving.So far, we’ve racked up more than $2,000 in bills for a house that we don’t own yet.Of course we hired an inspector, who was very nice and very thorough. The peace of mind inspired by his report, however, was short-lived.His findings did not interest the bank/FHA, who hired their own inspectors, on our dime. They identified problems that, of course, would halt the processing of our loan faster than a shady credit report.Our home-sweet-manufactured-home wasn’t lashed to its foundation. Given El Jebel’s propensity for tornadoes, this put the whole deal in jeopardy. It didn’t hamper loans to prior owners of the property, but we’re required to tie it down, to the tune of $100 per piece of rope or bungee cord, or whatever. I offered to lash it to a couple of trees and put a heavy piano in the living room, but no go.Actually, most of the value of the property is tied up in the lot. Someone would be better off stealing that. Lord knows, we’re not getting it at a steal, but at least it’s satisfactorily attached to the earth.Also tripping up loan approval: There was no dead-bolt lock on the front door! All part of securing the premises, I guess. Apparently, the bank/FHA is worried someone could jimmy the door and take the house. Not unless they untie it first.The company I chose to insure the house and our possessions, on the other hand, made no inquiries about the locks on the doors. They didn’t even ask if it has doors.When we contacted an insurance agent from outside the area about homeowner’s insurance and told him what we were paying for a single-wide perched precariously on concrete, he said: “What?! You could buy three or four them down here for that.” I wasn’t sure how to respond.I should have told him what it will cost by the time you add up all the interest. When I looked at the piece of paper that broke out our principal and interest over the life of the loan, I had to feel around for my eyeballs and put them back in their sockets. We’re buying what is practically a half-million-dollar home.I want to be a bank in my next life.So, a week from today, we’ll presumably be handed the key to our new home. Oh wait, we already have it. It came with the lock we had to install.Following Janet Urquhart’s reality check will be the writing of a really big check. Her e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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