Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gift or guillotine?

Big, BIG things are a-brew over here and I'm not sure if I can handle it or if I even want to try.

I think my parents want me to buy my house from them, the house I'm currently living in. They'd sell it to me for what they owe on the loan, taking a loss, just to get it out of their hands. It helps that as a first-time home buyer I can get a super low interest rate.

When they bought the house for me four years ago, this was my dream scenario. At the time, my credit history was so bad I wasn't eligible for a loan that would afford me a liveable home in a safe neighborhood so the obvious alternative was letting them do all the heavy lifting for me.  Like most decisions in my life it started out because I was bored and feared getting older with nothing to show for it.

I clearly remember approaching my dad around Christmas 2007 with the idea of capitalizing on the plunging real estate market and buying me a house. Little did I know that my one mention of house hunting would have us looking and making an offer in a few short weeks. Maybe a month? We would only look at bank-owned houses so when we finally found one it took forever to jump through all the hoops and get the keys.

In my head I thought we would be in it together, yes they would be fronting the money but they'd done the same thing for my brother years before and my parents have always been unfailingly fair in that respect. It started out pretty well. I went hog-wild with painting. Deep teal for the living room, bright blue in the kitchen, black and grey in the master bedroom. I am not a girl who is afraid of a little color. Aside from telling me I could absolutely NOT have chickens and nagging me about mowing the lawn, it has been a pretty awesome arrangement. Except I was never an owner, just the renter.


Yes, there's always a "but" isn't there?

Here's the deal: do I want to be tied to this house in Lodi for the foreseeable future? Is the chance to start building equity on such a large scale, essentially for free, too big to pass up? I have a terrible financial track record, no savings to speak of and only just started a retirement plan a few weeks ago (after having the same job for the last 9 years). If something terrible were to happen I'd have no money to fix it.

What do I do?



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