Well, it’s official. Sort of. I think.
I have a goal of moving out of my parent’s home and moving into my own by the end of January. Well, actually, my parents have that goal. Em and I have lived with them for almost 5 years, and I know that they are anxious to have their house to themselves for the first time in 27 years. But I’ve only recently been able to really save up money. I want/need more time to save up more money to be able to put down a decent down payment and pay for all the “fun” fees and things that come with purchasing a home. I’ve been saving for 5 months, and I’m only about 1/3 of the way toward the low-end of my savings goal. I can’t save the other 2/3 in 7 months. And when I went out looking at homes with my mom a few weeks ago, she said that there was no pressure to move out; that I needed to take my time to find a good, safe place for Em and myself. So much for “no pressure.” 7 months is a bit of pressure.
I’ve been looking around for a place, but it’s been difficult and confusing. I need a place that’s safe (no child molesters nearby) and close to my parent’s home (for school & childcare purposes). It would be nice if it had 2 bedrooms and decent cabinet space in the kitchen, too.
It would also be nice if it wasn’t an apartment; just a studio with my first two qualification would have a monthly rent of more than half of my monthly take-home pay. Which means that after utilities, groceries, gasoline for my car and clothes for me and my kid, I wouldn’t be able to put much into savings, for a new house or a rainy day.
Of course, I don’t need to buy a house, as it was eversotactfully pointed out to me, but as I stated above, renting an apartment just seems like a dead-end. With a single income (you can’t base future home-owning possibilities on other future possibilities of maybe/perhaps/if I’m lucky one day getting married. As far as financials are concerned, I’m basing everything on the assumption that I’ll always only have one income to work with.) it’s hard to rent and save. I want more for my daughter than that. I want more for myself than that. That’s not to say, however, that I deserve more than that. When you drop out of college for a boy and have the same admin job for 3 1/2 years, it’s hard to get muchmore than that.
But owning a home in Orange County on a single (low enough to make it hard to buy/rent, but too high to get state or federal assistance) income while raising a child is just about impossible. Unless you don’t mind living in a manufactured home. Which I don’t. Yes, there’s a stigma, but it’s slowly fading away. For those of us who need to stay close to our family, church and jobs, moving out of county or out-of-state just isn’t a possibility. And a lot of manufactured homes don’t look like one on the inside. They feel just like a home, instead of a trailer. And it’s common for a manufactured home park to include some utilities in the space fee. So with a decent down payment, the total monthly cost is close to that of an apartment, but without needing to pay for the utilities and the fact that I will one day stop paying off my loan. Now, manufactured homes don’t have a lot (if any) equity, so that when I’m ready to move up to a “permanent” home, I won’t be able to sell my home for more than I purchased it for, even if I redo the kitchen or bathrooms or whatever. But that’s fine for me. I can still save money, make my house a home for my daughter and I, and be out on my own for the first time in 8 years.
But I’m totally new to the whole home-buying process, and while my folks are willing to help so I’m not paying too much or getting stuck with a total dump, buying a manufactured home is totally new to them as well. Like where to get the loan? Big banks don’t do manufactured home loans. And using search engines to find reputable lenders is like looking for legit work-at-home companies.
I guess I’ll have to learn quickly. 7 months isn’t long.