Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring Cleaning

In my bed I sleep.  It’s comfortable, it’s pillowy, it lets my dreams float on to images of the universe.  Fantastic colours weaving and shaping – my inner psyche unleashed.  The dreams have been peaceful, with the exception of an alter universe of myself with an obese walrus…

I sleep on my stomach, with my back to the stars.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s knowing the roof above me will hold.  I’ll always have shelter.  I don’t think I’d be able to dream without a shelter, staring into space at night would keep me awake.  A Universe in my own backyard.  

Dust Up

Lately I haven’t slept well.  Bed Bugs Bite I suppose.  Maybe my roof is collapsing.  But I also live in a property which is rapidly losing value.  The property I bought is more suited for renters and transients – as is what I presumed when I bought it.  I wasn’t a renter – but was I a transient?  Thermodynamics tell me a transient state is steady-state – and there is way too much entropy for me to stay transient!  So I now face a property that I don’t want, and I don’t need. 


When I bought the property, I planned to find a suitable renter one day, and provide a shelter for someone.  The place is small, easily maintainable for the organized and has brought me comfort for the last 2 years.  But I don’t need it now.  It may be tough to find renters at this time, mind you, it may be tougher to find buyers.  While randomly being excited, I came across the concept of rent-to-own. 

Simple in nature, but intended to ‘ease’ a buyer into a home, the concept is this:

1 – a buyer pays both rent and an amount of Principle every month. 

2 - The Principle is an amount to save up, stored away for that rainy day – down-payment day. 

3 – Rent is provided for the seller to make mortgage payments owed on the property. 

4 – When the down-payment day is reached, at some point in time, let’s say 3 years from now, the saved money from the Principle is used as down payment for purchase of the home, or let’s say 5% of the total purchase price (it can be 10%, it can be 20%).

5 – the sale price of the home will be determined at the time the lease-to-sale agreement is reached.

6 - the renter and seller, will provide a shelter for the duration of the ‘renting’ period, or 3 years, as above. 

7 – at the onset of 3 years, the renter can choose to purchase the agreed price with the saved down-payment, or forfit the down-payment as penalty so the seller can re-balance the ongoing mortgage payments or equity building. 

Garbage Collection

What also keeps me awake are noises.  Noises along my street – noises in the air.  I sometimes think to myself – do I really own my home?  I sometimes think no – right now, my bank does, and I pay interest.  And quite a lot of interest. 

Its sometimes tough selling kool-aid to a crowd of bloated fish.  When I observed the beginning of the collapse of the housing market in the U.S., I was in Philadelphia at the time, city of brotherly love.  I drove out to Amish country, out towards Reading – a quiet technological hub.  The serene morning drives along the superhiways brought me to see my first cooling tower – a spectacle of concrete and imagination.  The drives also brought me through signs of trouble ahead – everything for sale.  The Mindy’s and Maxes smiling away with a fake plastic, eager to please and eager to gain – come take a business card - You can see my feign before the pain… Homes were abound and eager to be bought!   The madman’s cabaret of high-risk gambling feeding off the promises of ownership to all with the quick signature and zero down was a dance that will not be forgotten.  The crunch locked things up.  The crunch stopped the leaky drain.  The crunch stopped the northern brigade. 


I do blame part of the credit crunch on my current blissful unemployment.  I live in a city that is currently feeling it - a city that brought promises of prosperity and home ownership, only to find out it wasn’t sustainable.  The good times may be gone, but they won’t be forgotten.  The city may dwindle a few transients away, but the boom times have definitely brought a new enlightenment to what is sustainable and what isn’t.  High risk speculation may have drowned a few rats in the city I live in, but rats always seem to endure – at least the people that are somehow tied to the city will stay.  People that still dream of prosperity.    

I once thought to myself, do I really need to own a home?  Or am I just renting it until I pay my toll along the River Ganges?  The method in which mortgages were handed out to anyone passing by worried me at the time.  Pressure being enforced by all, realtor, seller, and buyer.  At no point were renters ever considered.  And I do like this concept – a renter with vested interest to be a buyer one day.  And I do like the concept that this type of transaction can be carried out without the Max and Mindy’s spewing cookie smell from a spray can.  

Couch Potato

I’d love to own a home one day.  My piece of the world.  The ethics that were followed in the collapse of the banking world cannot be a part of my piece of the world.  Housing strategies need to be revised.  They need a clear and concise review of how this happened, and where the leaks were.  A leaky roof sometimes won’t go fixed until the landlord is notified.  Let’s figure out how to get people into homes properly, without loopholes, catamarans, burgoo, bruxer, or brummagem.   Get the housing system fixed before anything else… get people into homes.  


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