When I purchased my home I thought I’d stay in it around four or five years, give or take a year, next month will make eleven years! I’d never owned a home before, but interest rates were good, I had a condo that I liked and when the rent on my Southgate apartment jumped way up, it sealed this was the deal for me.
The rates on the 5-year Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) seemed pretty decent; I knew rates were down but I like to cover my bets, and any year after five years the mortgage could go up 2% a year. Silly me, I was worried that if the economy got better I’d have a higher mortgage rate; but I never thought I’d live here more than seven years (when it would have the opportunity to have jumped up 2% two times).
Well it’s that time of year again and my mortgage adjusted, it went down 1/8th of a percent. I’m now paying 3.125%, this is much less than my original 6.875%. While I understand the value of my home has probably dropped, at least I’m not paying a higher mortgage at the same time, the lower value means less property taxes.
Year Rate 1998 6.875% 1999 6.875% 2000 6.875% 2001 5.25% (paid $750 to lower rate*) 2002 4.25% (paid $750 to lower rate*) 2003 4.25% 2004 4.25% 2005 4.25% 2006 4.25% 2007 4.25% 2008 4.875% (first yearly adjust) 2009 3.25% (yearly adjust) 2010 3.125% (yearly adjust)
I was paying the higher rate in the beginning when I owed a lot more money, so the higher interest rate did affect me more, but at the time it was a low interest rate. I think the rates were around 7% at the time and I paid a few hundred dollars ($300-ish) to lower it 3/8ths of a percent, which was supposed to take three-and-a-half years to make that few hundred dollar fee back, but since I paid the $750 to lower the rate I lost out on that (I think it was three years to the day) but only the $30-$50 I hadn’t recovered; I still think that was a good decision, who could have predicted a crisis of 9/11 proportions would occur?
I’m living on the East side of Dearborn (Michigan, United States) and they’ve finally removed the old deserted Montgomery Wards building and finishing a new office building which might help (a tiny bit) in revitalizing this side of town…
I made pretty good money decisions on this for my first time. The one big mistake I made was at the time of purchase I did have the ability to put 20% down (I had put down 15%) and I wish I had done the 20%; yes I know that’s a lot to put down these days, but my mother always taught me to be a good saver and I knew I’d want to buy someday. Here’s why: The PMI insurance, this is the insurance that you pay for to guarantee that you won’t default (but only for the first 20%), was harder to drop than they made me believe: you had to pay for an inspection and if the value of the house had dropped it wouldn’t be 20% and it wouldn’t get waived so I was a little nervous and a little annoyed. But it was $35 a month that I was putting towards nothing (for me, at least) that could have been towards my house and I didn’t like seeing it on my statement. It was about $35 for every 5%, so if I’d put down 0%, it’d have been $140 a month (that’s $1440 each year!). But if something had happened at the time and I needed the money, that would have been gone from my reserves (but I’m still kicking myself for it).
So other than my PMI rant, the whole home owning process has gone really really well. I’m still happy with the home. It’s been very centrally located to the three different jobs (Allen Park, Redford, Hamtramck) I’ve had since I lived here.
*Surprisingly, when I paid the $750 for the ARM to adjust adjust the rate, it actually restarted the 5-years over! So when I ended up changing to the 4.25% rate, it held for the next 5 years.