Tuesday, February 26, 2008


My time living with Ingred is almost up. She and I have been roommates for almost two glorious months. Now that I have to move out, I was weighing different options. The first idea I had was to move into a single apartment. That proved silly and expensive. The second and third options came to me at the same time--build/buy a house or move into a house with roommates.

I got very excited about building or buying a house. I have always loved houses and grew up in two my parents built. There are things that are indoctrinated into you without your realization when you grow up, and building a house was one of those for me. I remember my dad coming home from work for years and changing out of his suit into work clothes. He'd get a beer (or, more likely, tell me to get him one) and then begin...tiling, electrical, structural...whatever needed to be done. Over the course of years our house took shape, long nights after work and most weekends. Trips to Tijuana to buy a gate or wrought iron this or that to finish off part of a project. Tiling the floor took some years and allowed me a period of plywood painted floors (it was during the prime of Real World and I think I was the only high schooler whose room looked like it could have been a set with checkerboard avocado green and yellow floors).

I have really always wanted that for myself. A house that I could call my own, and not one that looked just like the neighbors or was purchased through a McDonalds of housing. I want one that I design, that I build, that I fix...mine. I thought I could do it. My friends have bought houses, almost all of them tract homes. Most in the 100-150k range and, with a VA loan, the monthly payments came out to about what I pay in rent. It sounded perfect. I went online and began looking houses. I found some massively decrepit houses in semi-decent neighborhoods for around 50k and some kit homes for the same. I fell in love with one of each and prepared some time tables for when it would be done (in time for me to return from Iraq to my own house, most importantly).

Two days ago, I called a realtor to really get the ball rolling and tonight, we had our first phone conversation. That's when she told me the VA loan can only be used for a house that is "move in ready" and that the Fort Hood area has restrictions against kit or pre-fab houses.

My dreams of owning or building a house sank and died tonight. It hit me harder than I thought, realizing that as long as I'm at Fort Hood, which will probably be my whole first five years, unless I want to live in a tract home (which I don't), I will live in an apartment or with roommates in a rented house. I will not paint my walls, knock down a wall, put in a new sink, tile the floor, rip up the carpet, re-do the backyard or otherwise make where I look look any more like "me" than what I can put on the wall that doesn't leave a permanent pin-prick.

When Dad was 32, he had finished a house and had three kids. I'll be lucky if I move into an apartment with a washer/dryer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll get your half acre and kit home eventually, I'm sure. Right around the time I get my fixer-upper apple orchard and first breeding pair of Angora goats...

1:24 PM  
Blogger Francesca said...

you don't need to use VA loan, why don't you try some other options. I used FHA for example.

3:12 PM  

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