Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our Home


Today is a momentous day for me and Göran. As of today, our home is officially paid off. Our mortgage is paid in full.

The picture was taken in August 1996 when we signed the closing papers. It will be couple of months before we get the nice little piece of paper saying that the property is officially ours. When I scheduled the "pay-off" earlier this week, I was informed that we were paying a $46 fee for the county to re-issue the deed in our names, and that we should be able pick up the new deed at the county registrar's office some time around the new year. Göran is already making plans for a "mortgage burning party" to be held sometime next spring. Y'all are invited!

At a moment like this, it's tempting to go into raptures about "the American Dream." But we live in a neighborhood where a fair number of folks lost their homes a few short years ago, while billionaires were scrambling to make off with their life savings. I have friends and family who were not as lucky as Göran and I were... Who -- in pursuit of "the American Dream" -- took a chance and bought a dream home, only to have things fall apart. An ugly divorce. A lost job. And in the midst of that, trying to sell a home that had lost value in a market gone bust, and losing thousands.

In some larger sense that transcends U.S. law, the land our house stands on isn't ours. We didn't build the house. At best, it and the property it sits on are borrowed. Eventually, we'll pass it on, die, give everything back to wherever it came from. At best, we can only be grateful we have a place to stay, for now.

Göran and I were in the right place at the right time. We bought our house from friends who had bought dirt cheap and obtained grants to renovate, and who -- out of a sense of compassion or equity or whatever -- decided to sell cheap to someone who might not be able to afford a home of their own otherwise. We knew we were blessed. I still consider us more lucky than deserving.

So, we celebrate this moment with a sense of gratitude and hope, and a desire to share the love and sanctuary we've found here with others. If any of you are ever in the neighborhood, drop me a line! Stop by! All are welcome here!

8 comments:

Mind Of Mine said...

I can't even begin to understand how momentous an occasion this must be for you and your family!

J G-W said...

It feels weird that we won't be making that monthly payment any more...

It also is kind of cool in that it is a major accomplishment that Göran and I achieved together.

And we've raised a teenager here, and hope to be parenting again soon... And I work here.

It feels really good! We feel incredibly blessed!

Neal said...

Dream come true indeed! Congratulations!

Beck said...

What a great feeling! Congrats!

calibosmom said...

WOW! Congratulations! That is no small feat.

Matthew said...

Congratulations! That is a big job done.

santorio said...

my daughter is looking to buy a home now; I have mixed feelings. I want her to feel that same sense of accomplishment that you have described, but I worry about the short-term and long-term downsides.

J G-W said...

Hey, thanks everybody!

Santorio - You know, it's funny. When you make that kind of investment, you're usually betting on a lot of things. For example, Göran and I were in essence betting that we'd still be together decades later when we completed our investment. BOTH of our names are on the deed. We needed each other in order to afford the investment. And since we are not -- and could not be -- legally married in the jurisdiction where we bought the house, that investment could have become an incredible burden and a problem if we had split up... We were taking that chance.