by Jocelyn Jane Cox
Great news! We now have only 29 years left on our 30 year mortgage! We have been in our house for one year, which means that we have paid exactly .0000000000000000000000042 percent of the principle on our loan. Please hold your applause.
As most new homeowners can attest, buying a house is exactly as frightening as it is exciting. At the outset, I decided to learn everything I could about the process. What I soon discovered is that, despite my education and claims to be a semi-intelligent being, I had very little hope of figuring out all that financial gobbledygook.
Apparently, the mortgage rules and laws change all the time and change from state to state. And by the way, almost as soon as you sign on the dotted line, your mortgage lender mysteriously changes from the original bank you tried to research so thoroughly and switches to one of those notorious banks that has made headlines for not only ruining the lives of many hapless citizens but destabilizing the economy of this entire country.
Anyway, in celebration of our one year house-iversary, I thought I’d collect some thoughts on the process of buying a house, now that I have gone through it and survived (thus far.)
So here is what I now know about 30 year mortgages: (Cue the sound of chirping crickets, commonly understood to represent a silence more profound than silence itself.)
Here are the number of pages I actually understood in our 64,986 page mortgage agreement: (More crickets.)
Here are the nice things I have to say about closing costs, fees, accrual of interest and oh so many taxes: (Crickets playing the violin.)
Here are the number of hours of sleep I get per night while strategizing about how we are going to pay off the rest of that crazy mortgage: (Two crickets walk into a bar full of crickets’€¦)
The difference between renting and owning, as far as financial security goes: (Crickets performing in the largest production of La Boheme ever staged in the long and venerable history of insect operas.)
Number of people in this country who can afford to buy a whole house, outright, without taking out a loan:
Two. One of them is named Mark Zuckerberg and the other person bought a tent.
Here is what I have to say about the fact that the word ‘€œmortgage’€ is derived from the Latin mortuus, meaning, ‘€œto die.’€ (Cue a whole village of crickets riding the downslope of a Six Flags rollercoaster.)
And by the way, here is what I ask of the cricket who is living/singing/working/practicing his craft somewhere inside/around/near the house for which we are paying a substantial mortgage in order to escape the annoying sounds/screams/stomping that occur when you reside in a rental apartment building:
Can you keep it down? Or at least move over to the wooded area far away from our bedroom window? It turns out that that annoying sound you make really isn’t anything like silence at all. Could you at least change up the tune slightly? While we are truly impressed with your volume and it is clear that you are a professional chirper, that two-note melody of yours is getting more than a little tiresome.
Finally, here are the number of regrets I have about ‘€œpurchasing’€ our house even though purchasing is really a misleading term since we’re really just renting the right to reside in this space (with interest) from a faceless, gigantic bank during the time that we decide to stay:
(Cue girl cricket and boy cricket, kissing. After all, buying a house is still the American dream, and no matter how unconventional you think you are, it’s hard to keep swimming upstream, after a certain age. If your dream house is only something that can be purchased; i.e. not rented, and you can sort of make it work; i.e. you can make a down payment, however infinitesimal and still leave some buffer in savings, you might as well give it a go. There is something to be said for knowing where you will live for a long haul ‘€“ in my experience, there is only one thing worse than wading through all that mortgage heehaw, and that, my friends, is moving.)
Jocelyn Jane Cox is a local freelance writer and figure skating coach who writes TheHomeTome.com, a home and humor blog with a Nyack slant.