The concept of having a secure and stable home to come to had matter to me since childhood - A childhood that had my family living in five apartments from before my birth, that I can recall, until I entered high school. I needed a place where no one could push me out to the street. When my relationship, at age 50, felt shaky, I started to imagine myself as a bag lady, pushing a shopping cart down alleyways. I owned nothing. I had no investment in a home...just in a home-life.
My three sisters married men, and along the way they all owned home/s, where both names were on the deed. My sisters had a roof over their heads that they could claim as their own, in share at least, if their marriages failed. The marriage of reliable incomes made their real estate experience fruitful at younger ages. Being placed on a deed was never offered to me in my lesbian relationship.
My life partner also had homes previously within her marriage to a man, and before that she always lived in a house with her parents. She had home security through marriage. After her divorce, from a husband who cheated, she eventually bought a home for herself.
It seemed for years, I was surrounded by people who had this wonderful sense of freedom, and independence by owning their own home-space. It was theirs! By 2001, I was ready to be free and unencumbered by the feeling that there was not a safe route for me if my relationship failed. I needed and wanted the security that no one could show me the door. I started the hunt and luckily found a house that would work within my budget.
My budget had always been bare-bones, but I managed to save a little. I thought often, how could I do this? Impossible. Buy a house? You can talk yourself out of anything. It was both a scary, and a brave moment to start looking. Afterall, I was still in a relationship, albeit, a shaky one where I felt little ownership over my own home-life.
Here is what I did for myself: If you doubt yourself, start by taking the first step of assessing your budget. And if that looks low, don't let it stop your forward momentum. Second, start looking for what you may be able to afford. Don't be picky, be ready to do renovations over a period of time, and to do some of the work yourself. Look to the USDA or other agencies for low interest loans if you are a first time buyer, and low-income person. These are loans you pay back but the low interest rates make it doable. There are many online help sites, and there is also your local agencies that can guide you. Just don't let anyone say it's impossible.
I guess my point in writing this, is to help anyone open up your own possibilities to becoming a home owner. Don't let yourself feel trapped. There are many fixer-uppers out there, and when all is said and done, you can rest assure that as long as you make your bank loan payments, and property tax, the house is yours, and yours alone if you so choose. And that knowledge makes one live and sleep in a peaceful state. I no longer worry about becoming a bag lady being cast out of a failing relationship. I own my home, and it has become my sanctuary.
For the record, because I know how disconcerting it feels to not be included, I did place my partner from those years ago on to my deed, when she eventually sold her home and moved into mine. I alone, pay my mortgage, and as it is, it will stay my house, and my house alone until I die. Then she can have it!
Ownership does matter. I equate it with my personal freedom from worry - And remain fierce and protective about my little space. My house. It brings warmth to my heart, and a smile to my face.