I can remember walking into my own house for the first time as a new buyer. I knew down deep that the bank really owned the house, but I could suspend that reality and still believe it was mine – all mine. It’s not the same feeling when you are checking it out with the realtor. That’s still very exciting, but the feeling just isn’t the same. It’s that feeling you only get when all the paperwork is done, and they hand you the keys. You immediately drive over and park in front of the house, walk up and unlock the door, walk in and look around. It’s yours. It’s pure joy. It only lasts for a few hours or maybe a day, and then it’s lost in the move-in hubbub, but for that short time it’s a feeling of pure joy. This is my home.
In the past, a lot of middle class Americans felt that owning their own home was a sure thing. When I grew up it was natural and normal for a person to finish school, get married, start a career and buy your first home. Your first home was usually a fixer-upper and rarely new, but that really didn’t matter. It was yours. It isn’t quite that way anymore for a growing number of people in this country. The hope of home ownership is getting less and less realistic for more and more of us.
The economy is better now than in the past few years, but qualifying for a loan is still a challenge for those of us at the lower end of the middle class. Yearly incomes that used to be very comfortable are now just barely getting people by, especially if you are a single parent shouldering the entire load. We are all looking for better times to come back, but in the mean time, we do our best and hope. For many of our friends and neighbors in Williamson County, that hope is being met by Habitat for Humanity. [Read more…]