Monday, February 20, 2006

Getting up and about after a bad flu is a bit like walking on someone else's legs. After being in that semi-conscious neverland of flu bug when you finally realize you are on the mend you wake up in what, at first, seems like someone else's body altogether. I always can tell when I am coming to the end of a flu because in the middle of the night my body wants to move, not lay still any longer. I know it sounds innane but I am just grateful to be able to do housework today.

In the midst of this flu bug S.O. and I had decided to make an offer on a house. Well, come to find out we may not even be able to find a lender. Not because of our credit or income mind you but because the house is affordable. It is what they are calling a manufactured house. Now, let's get this straight. A manufactured house is not necessarily a mobile home though a mobile home is necessarily a manufactured home. A prefab home has come to mean modern architecture in an off site built, on site assembled home. Not all manufactured homes are considered prefab, but all prefabs are essentially manufactured homes with a hipper name absconded from the industry by hipster architects and enthusiasts. Are you following me?

See, building a house from scratch on the lot where it is meant to live has become very expensive. So, whaalaa, manufactured homes, which are built in pieces in a factory. The pieces are then shipped and assembled at the site and on the foundation where they will live. They are never ever meant to be mobile or in any way impermanent. They are meant to be affordable. And if you look at it logically they might even be better. Because they are built in a factory, enclosed from the elements they will never get rained on or damaged. Because they are built to specific specs on an assembly line, just like, say, your car is, they are built more accurately because the guy who installs the joists does the same thing all day long. Now in a stick built house you have a crew who do different tasks from day to day with varying degrees of expertise and experience. And stick built houses are subject to fudges on site. Someone cut a 2x4 2 inches too short? Oh well, fudge it to save on costs. Manufactured homes cost less because there is less waste because it is a production line not a craft, which essentially building a stick built house is. I mean love 'crafts' all you want, sure that little dent in the vase you bought at the craft fair is charming but the one you got from Ikea that came off the assembly line is more accurate. Is it charming when your doors don't close properly or your house 'settles' in an odd way because of that fudge on site? Not.

And since manufactured homes are built to withstand the many miles they must travel on the back of a truck they are sturdier by design.

So, does the mortgage industry keep up with any of this? Well, why should they! You wouldn't want actual working class people to be able to get into homes of their own would ya? Yuck! How awful would that be? Home ownership by people making less than 100K a year! How unseemly.

OK. To be fair, I am being dramatic and bitter. Apparently with the upturn in interest rates and the foreclosure rates now at, I read this morning, 9% (yikes!) lenders are shying away from what they call risky loans. Which are apparently to people in CA trying to find affordable houses. I am bitter, no doubt. But I am not beaten. I will find a way to buy a house damnit. It may not be the one we picked but I certainly am not going to settle for a 1957 stick built house that hasn't been kept up and is going for $100k more than its worth! Ironically, we could find a lender willing to give us even more for a house that has been so ill-repaired and looked after it should by all rights be torn down! Go figure... how is that not risky?

1 comment:

demondoll said...

Lenders are bass-ackward. I've seen a lot of manufactured homes up here that are more sound and better-looking than the shoddy stick-built homes.