Recently, I decided I had had enough of landlords. As I mentioned in a previous post, my capitalist bastard of a landlord had neglected to pay the water bill, as required in the lease, for ten months, our water got shut off, and I had to pay for it. Then, we discovered that he wasn’t paying his property taxes on the house in which we reside, either, and, since then, have discovered that the county is starting to take legal action against him.
Not only that, but the house failed a city rental inspection, as I knew it would, so there’s nothing but silence from the bastard about either repairing what is required or signing another lease. So, for us, the clock is ticking. The writing is on the wall, though we probably still have 6 to 12 months before the county hammer comes down.
So. I decided to get my ass in gear and see about financing a house of our own or, more accurately, entering into a contract whereby I could rent-to-own a house from a mortgage company. We looked at a house and approached both real estate companies and a couple of mortgage brokers. The first thing I discovered was that my credit score wasn’t quite as low as I expected, no, it was 590. Less than a grand in mostly debt which cannot be enforced in court because I don’t really owe it, and one forgotten electric bill. OK, I can take care of that right now if I have to.
But WAIT! No current, active credit lines. Well, that’s because I’ve refused to pay the credit-and-debt slave game for decades and lived within my means. As for as lenders are concerned, however, my long and stable job history, my ZERO debt-to-income ratio, IOW, my very conservative, responsible, old-school approach to managing my money, has ZERO credibility with them. We all know the reason why: They were not profiting off of me.
OK. Again, so. In order to get into a house to which I am on the title, I have to play the finance capital game just enough to raise my credit score by 30 or 40 points. And the only way I can do that is to get some kind of open and current line of credit. So I went to my local credit union.
You see, after the Big Wall Street Investor Bank Bailout of 2008, after there were calls on this site and others to take your money out of the Big Banks and deposit it into local banks and credit unions, I did just that. For over four years, my paychecks have been direct-deposited with biweekly regularity into my checking account at my local credit union. I even have SAVINGS. Not nearly enough to purchase a house outright, nor enough to pay even 10% down, though my and my wife’s relatives are willing to help out enough to do so. BTW, the house we looked at, which is more than everything we need, is only $70,000 or so.
I’m also a first time home buyer in my fifties who has a VA Eligibility Certificate.
Sounds doable, don’t it? Well, it’s not. The FICO score is all. Thus my need, in this perverse system, for an open and current line of credit.
Well, I thought, I’ll just go down to my local credit union and procure such a thing. I went this morning.
I was directed to go into a side office in the small branch office. Not an office, really, a glorified cubicle with three walls and a desk big enough to launch fighter jets from, behind which sat a rather frumpy woman with large, round spectacles who strongly resembled Mr. Turtle from The Wind and the Willows. I will henceforth refer to her as Ms. Turtle.
I explained my situation to Ms. Turtle. When I told her what my credit score was, she peered at me as if I was something that had just slithered out of the primordial ooze. Turns out that my local credit union is willing to let me apply for an unsecured Visa credit card, at a limit to be determined in a couple of days, and I’m sure to get it, so Ms. Turtle informed me. Maximum interest rate on late payments? 18%. No problem. I usually pay my bills on time. So I applied for that.
What really got me, though, was what Ms. Turtle tried to steer me into getting; a particular signature loan. This is how it works: I sign a portion of my own money over to the credit union. In exchange, the credit union gives me a loan for the same amount. Then, I pay the credit union back, in monthly installments.
With interest. And if I pay it off too early, there’s a penalty, you see.
Somehow, this sounded familiar. Oh, yeah! Isn’t that the deal the Federal Government has worked out with the Wall Street investment banks? The government creates money(out of thin air, I know, while mine was actually earned, but never mind that) and then gives it to the banks. In exchange, the banks loan the same money back to the government at interest, which the government must repay. They call it “quantitative easing.”
So. Here’s my little local credit union willing to treat me the same way that Jamie Dimon and ilk treat the Federal Government. No problem, Ms. Turtle said, this is a done deal.
I didn’t apply for that one. I might have to in order to get out from professional absentee deadbeat landlords and individuals who get starry-eyed over the housing market improving because their friends repeat the corporate happy-talk they see on TV, though. In fact, I probably WILL have to do so.
Ain’t capitalism wonderful? And all this for a little pink house, as John Mellencamp once sang, even if it won’t be pink, and will probably be a damned nice place in which to live in spite of that, or maybe because of that(I’m not a pink fan). You see, we want a HOME, with some freakin’ STABILITY, not a property that we can use as an ATM.
Again. So. I looked at Ms. Turtle, and said, “Suppose I do all of this, and I get myself into a house. After 6 to 12 months of regular payments, when I come in here and ask for a car loan, you’ll probably stop looking at me as if I was some creature that had just slithered out of the primordial ooze.”
Ms. Turtle blinked. Then she smiled, and said, “That could very well be.”
So much for local banks and credit unions. At least Ms. Turtle was honest about it.
Then I went to one of the Ohio State Liquor agencies and purchased a small bottle of Mark Twain Bourbon, distilled in Bardstown, Kentucky, which is the ONLY town that knows how to make bourbon, IMHO. I couldn’t resist the brand name, anyway.
The State Liquor Agency employee who processed the transaction didn’t ask for my FICO score, and helped to provide me with some badly needed stress relief. He even wished me a nice day, which Ms. Turtle didn’t bother to do.
Pity home purchases aren’t as easy or beneficial as State Liquor Agency purchases. And have a nice day.