Thursday, September 16, 2010

This Is Where We Used to Live: Part 6

This is the last house that I lived in with my parents and brother before moving out on my own. I'm no boomerang kid - I moved out at 19 and never looked back (although I do love my family... just not living with them!)
It was 1996, and the housing market was pretty calm in the Twin Cities. There was definitely not a housing boom yet, so homes were affordable, but loans a little harder to get and interest rates a little higher. But buying a home during that time period was a much more financially savvy move than renting, and so after renting the townhome for a year, my parents embarked on the journey to become homeowners. This story is kind of hard for me to tell. Perhaps it's why I have so many issues regarding homeownership.
I didn't help them search for a house, which is something that makes me kind of sad. I was 16 and dating my first boyfriend, so I was off spending time with him, or my friends, and couldn't be bothered to help my parents house hunt. They chose this little 1950s ranch with a huge walkout basement. I recently asked my mom why she picked this house, and she said because of the big finished basement and the laundry chute from the upper floor bathroom to the laundry room downstairs (that WAS really cool!). The house had two small bedrooms upstairs, one bathroom, and a very outdated kitchen, dining and living room. Downstairs was a bedroom, bathroom and laundry. There was a huge backyard. A lot about the house was really pretty - hardwood floors in my room and my parent's, vintage tile in the bathroom. Two fireplaces. A built hutch in in the dining roomThere was a lot that needed help - there was super old rust-colored shag carpet in the living room and hallway, old appliances, bad wallpaper. It could have eventually been a beautiful home. In fact, it is one now (it was on the market a few years ago, and the real estate listings showed that the next owners had completely revamped the kitchen and ripped out the bad carpet to expose the hardwoods underneath.
Unfortunately, my parents ran into some financial troubles about two years after buying the house, and weren't able to fix it up, or to keep the home. After my brother and I moved out, they moved into a downtown rental apartment. They're actually much happier now, and say that owning a home was not for them. But it still makes me sad sometimes that the one house they owned in all their lives they couldn't hang on to. They lived there just a little bit longer than all the houses we rented growing up.
I actually live really close to this house now, and drive by it fairly often. It seems like a family with young children lives there, and that makes me happy. My family was going through such a rough time during the years that they lived at this house that I find I can't think about it too much.

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