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Money Blogger: Mortgage Blues

Twenty-five years separate us. Yet, we're both having the same problem. We can't get a mortgage.

It seems that the real estate bubble that blew up several years ago has not improved lending practices for the little guy who pays his bills.

My niece would love to buy a house. It would be her first. She's talked to a mortgage banker and been advised she probably won't qualify for a loan.

She's frustrated. Why can't the bank take into consideration that she's paid $1,400 a month in rent, on time, every month for over three years? It seems that should show she could make a mortgage payment, especially one that was less than the $1,400 she pays now.

Her credit's good. It's just that her balance sheet doesn't look so great with student loans and a car loan too.

It's how we live in America. We live on credit. The interest she pays on her loans employs the bankers who then spend money on their lives and keep the system going. (I know that's an oversimplification.)

I'm in a different boat. I've resigned from my job. I want to move to a new city. I have the money for a down payment. I too have paid my rent on time for years. But because I don't have a new job yet and two pay stubs, I can't get a mortgage. I have enough for a couple months of house payments if I don't get a job right away.

The banker told me I could spend more money than I want to and earn less than I do now, but I must have the paystubs. I understand caution and lending guidelines. I'm a teacher. I don't make scads of money. Do you really think I'd throw my down payment away?

When the real estate bubble burst, it was revealed that lenders were loaning money to unqualified buyers for ARMs. Both parties were at fault. The lenders were counting on more interest from the ARMs, and the buyers were foolish for not being more informed about what they were walking into.

Then the government came in with a bailout. I lost money when I sold my house. I had to furnish my own bucket.

Now the government is considering giving money back to those with student loans. Again I'm being punished for paying my bills on time. I went back to school as a single mom with two little kids. I didn't borrow any money. Money was tight; it always is, but we survive.

I won't take a mortgage that I can't afford despite what the banker offers. I've worked loading trucks for FedEx as a second job. I've worked for McDonalds and Walmart; both are hiring.

So you ask, what's the problem? In my case, I'm moving. Do I need to rent an overpriced apartment for 12 months so I have those two pay stubs?

There has to be a better way. Work history and rent history should help.

Usually I have a solution, at least partially. This time I'm stuck. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

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