Will and I went to talk to a mortgage broker today at Lotus Mortgage. We’re starting to get serious about buying a house and we figured our next step was finding out if we even qualify for a loan. It turns out that we do, which is very reassuring. We don’t make a lot of money but we have really good credit (the broker told me I have the highest credit score he’s every seen for someone under 40) and we have quite a bit of money in savings – at least as a percentage of our income.
I felt really good hearing that we’re doing all the right things financially but really bad hearing that there are a lot of people out there – of all income levels – who are not doing it right. It is very scary to me that there are people making six figures who have less money in the bank than we do. It’s especially scary as I start to hear more about increasing foreclosures and an impending recession and people being abruptly reminded that credit is not a source of free money.
I think part of the reason we’re doing well financially is that we put a lot of effort into living sustainably and in accordance with our values. (Part of it is also an ingrained terror of debt.) We have a strong set of goals we’re working towards and we spend (and save) our money accordingly. It’s frustrating sometimes and a lot of times I struggle to identify my next goal but in general it keeps me going in the right direction. I’ve also learned that not buying something very rarely makes me unhappy. There are moments when I think “If only I had enough money to buy a fancy compost tumbler!” but they honestly don’t last that long. And those times when I do spend $50 on something I thought I desperately wanted, I generally lose interest within a couple of weeks.
I believe a house will be a satisfying purchase. Will and I are still debating about some of the details like which house and what features are we looking for but I’m sure we’ll figure it out eventually. Or perhaps we’ll buy one of those charming country homes with a 1200 square foot detached garage and one of us can just live there.