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“Fall in yuh garden”

Clyde Holmes, the husband and father in the TTMF puppet family, has some advice to share about recognizing when you can learn from the situation of others, and the preparation needed to become a homeowner. To help illustrate this lesson, he has a story from a few years ago about his cousin Michael.

Big, shiny new home

I hadn’t seen my cousin Michael in a while, so I invited him to our home for dinner. It was Michael’s first time visiting our new home, so after our bellies were full with Julia’s delicious pelau, we proudly gave him a tour.

A few weeks later Michael called me to catch up. Michael told me that his visit to our home inspired him to own his home as well. He had spent the next few weeks viewing properties and searching for his dream house. He was then given a rude awakening when he found out that he was not able to afford any of the homes he was looking at.

It turns out that Michael had not done much research or preparation at all, and had not even gotten prequalified. I explained to him that getting prequalified can help him understand what mortgage he can afford, taking into consideration any existing debt, so he would then know what kind of price range is within his budget.

“Wait, you mean my car loan can affect what mortgage I qualify for?”, Michael blurted out anxiously over the phone.

I replied, “Yes, absolutely. During the prequalification, they take any existing debt you have into consideration.”

As we continued to chat, I asked him about his savings and told him that a mortgage also comes with fees. I also warned him about many other expenses that come with owning a home, like installing water tanks and unexpected renovations. Well, Michael had not considered any of this and admitted to me that he had very little savings.

Sound familiar, anyone?

If any of you can relate to Michael’s situation, then stop and ask yourself whether “this falls in your garden”. I knew Michael was not in a good position to apply for a mortgage but with some planning and time, he could get there. So I helped him develop a plan for the next few years which would include:

  • To reduce his spending and become strict with his savings.
  • To pay off most of his car debt.
  • To develop a side income doing odd jobs in the neighborhood (painting & repairs)
  • To get prequalified and look for homes in his price range, in neighborhoods that he could afford.

With these adjustments to his life habits and becoming more realistic in terms of finding a home, Michael would able to become a homeowner.  If you can relate to Michael and would like to come in and get prequalified, please feel free to come into any TTMF branch with your ID, job letter and most recent payslip. We look forward to seeing you!