Basics: White female, 25, owns home, lives in Akron. Married with one toddler. Household income less than $35,000. She works part time as a waitress in Cleveland and is a full-time student at the University of Akron. Her husband works part time as a cook at the same restaurant. She doesn’t mind the drive (even with the cost of gas) because, she maintains, it would be difficult to earn as much in tips in Akron.
Her home: Purchased a two-story colonial in 2010 for $35,000 while also taking advantage of generous tax incentives for first-time buyers. The house was valued by Summit County that year at $63,340. Her monthly house payment is $362.
“I’m not going to lie about the process of buying a house. I thought they wanted both my kidneys by the end of it. They want to know every little penny and that’s hard because I’m a waitress. … They just dissect and dissect and dissect and it took months … of writing papers, papers, papers, papers, papers.
“By the time it was done, I said ‘forget it.’ But then when I moved in, I was happy that I went through all of it. It really beats having to pay $800 a month for rent.”
An ailing economy not bad for everyone: Had the country avoided a recession, she said, it would have been unlikely she would have gone to college. Though she still had to take out school loans, finding housing as inexpensive as her mortgage would have been difficult, if not impossible. The result would have meant working full time and putting college off indefinitely.
The downside of the economy and who’s at fault: “I guess it just depends on the situation. Some people are at fault for their own situations. And then there are people who work their butts off and still lose their homes — like my parents. They lost their home and my dad worked his butt off.
“Sometimes it’s just bad luck.”
For the first time since the Great Depression, home values on average have declined. How has this affected your short-term plans, and what are your thoughts about the future of home ownership in general?
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