Remember how easy it was to get a mortgage back in 2004? All you had to do was call your loan officer and say Gimme Some Money.
Back then, banks had Money to Burn and as fast as you could say, “Ka Ching,” you could get Money for Nothing – an interest-only, No Money Down loan – based on a signature and a smile. You could almost instantly become a Big Spender with the bank’s Easy Money and own the home of your dreams.
As appreciation continued to soar by double digits each year, a homeowner could become a Rich Girl or King of the Road. An investor could very quickly adopt the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous by buying up blighted properties and gleefully planning new Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money), knowing that with each new deal, The Money Will Roll Right In.
As some lenders continued to tell their clients Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You), owning a home began to be considered Money in the Bank instead of an investment in your future. Many people thought of their growing equity as How to Be a Millionaire or at least, how to live like one.
Home equity loans became Pennies from Heaven and people could Take the Money and Run without worrying about the consequences. After all, When Money Grows on Trees there would be more where that came from next year, right?
James Brown once told us that Money Won’t Change You but, as Cyndi Lauper can attest, Money Changes Everything and soon people were racking up Bills, Bills, Bills and discovering that Mo Money, Mo Problems.
Homeowners who had recently declared, “We’re in the Money” began asking, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”
When the Money’s Gone and you don’t have Three Coins in the Fountain to rub together, there is no such thing as a Bank Holiday. The days of Free Money were over and lending institutions were reaching out to consumers, instructing them to put Cash on the Barrel Head or risk foreclosure.
Some people decided to Sell Out early as requests for short sales grew faster than the ability of the banks to keep up with the demand. Other people endured pre-foreclosure calls and letters from banks and creditors declaring Bitch Betta Have My Money. Still others decided Cash, Money, Cars, Clothes were no longer as important in their lives and filed for bankruptcy. We all learned that there is no Money Back Guarantee in life and were reminded that Money Is the Root of All Evil.
Fast-forward 10 years to 2014 and these days It’s All About the Benjamins. If you’ve tried to get a mortgage loan recently you have already found that Money’s Too Tight to Mention. Many of the low down payment loans have disappeared and there are limited choices for those of us who aren’t Billion Dollar Babies.
Still, I see the pendulum swinging back in the other direction just a bit. While some of my clients are using Daddy’s Money for a down payment and cash buyers are declaring to the banks, “I Don’t Want Your Money,” some lenders are beginning to whisper, “I Will Buy You a New Life.” D.C. has some great new loan programs for mid-level earners, 80-10-10 piggy-back loans are alive and well again and even 80-15-5 products are available from some institutions.
The spring real estate market is rapidly approaching so, For the Love of Money, if you are a first-time buyer or are ready to buy again after a short sale or foreclosure, check with your local lender. You could be Dancin’ on a Dime in the Million Dollar Disco sooner than you think.
And, of course, it beats giving your Money, Marbles & Chalk to the Taxman.
Valerie M. Blake is with Keller Williams Capital Properties. Reach her at 202-246-8602 or Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com. Each Keller Williams Realty office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.