Debt is Dumb.

Ok, that was probably the most inelegant title I've ever written, but I wanted to clear up any ambiguity about the issue.

I read a frightening article this morning in the San Francisco Chronicle about mortage trends. For you non-link-followers, allow me to synopsize.

  • More than 21 percent of buyers last year took out mortgages with no down payment, soaring from just 4.5 percent in 2000...
  • The number of homes sold in the Bay Area dropped 19 percent last year compared with 2005 and the median home price rose just 2.9 percent to $736,820 after years of record gains.
Translation: 1 in 5 new home owners have zero equity in a slowing market that is admittedly among the most overpriced in the nation.

Later in the article, Steven Levey, Director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy says:

"People are buying above their income level, financing with debt and hoping," Levy said. "They lucked out before. This means that any price downturn is going to put a much greater number of people under water.

And for that sort of analysis, we need an expert? The American Dream has quickly become the American Delusion. We are borrowing more, owning less, and crazy enough to think the system will work long term.

We made a committment a few years back to get out of debt. We've scraped, saved, pinched and tweaked (and been amazingly blessed by some of God's dear friends) and are now out of the hole with the exception of the mortage. Even so, Kelsey and I lay awake and night and dream...could we build an inexpensive house out of shipping containers?

You think we're kidding. That's what I like about you. You always give us the benefit of the doubt. How kind. And clueless.
Video here.

Wiki here.

Bob Villa tells us how here. Oh no. This will inspire Kelsey that we can do this ourselves. This weekend. And still make it to EGS.

Purchase here. Note: Gotta be an ESL company.
Anyone else interested?


Anonymous said...

I have the now how and you have 650 contacts on your phone. Lets make a deal. This beats your "rent a wheel plan" Man we could house seven IHOPers in a 300 sq ft container. I weld, paint, build, and can sell a bag of nothing to anyone. So here is my resume. Lets talk over coffee.


Anonymous said...

Hey, You should show Mr Gary Cooper this. Can ya say classes at a real cheap price. Tell Mr Bob Fraser and he will have a city of refuge. I am as serious as a preacher who is faced with knowing that we will not be raptured before the trib!!!


Marc said...

I am sure a lot of those homebuyers were looking to flip the houses during the real estate boom. Only to find that the real estate market turning downward.

Scott said...

"Even so, Kelsey and I lay awake and night and dream...could we build an inexpensive house out of shipping containers?

You think we're kidding."

Me too, and I'm not kidding either. Real big house, pretty big mortgage... even bigger desire to be as free financially as my heart is free in Christ. I need a little piece of land a big grace gift of guts.

Ronni said...

Well I work a large mortgage company, and I look at documents all day... the average mortgage i'm seeing is 170-500k. Most with about 10k in earnest/down payment. A few no money down... so I don't know where they are getting their numbers but I see peoples assets and I can tell you, people have money in the bank... cd's portfolios... and do draw from those to put down payments down...

...I do want to be totally debt free some day... a part of me wants to get a bigger house, but the other part wants to just be content with what we have and travel the world... outreach is more important than me having a dining room.

Esther Irwin said...

Wasn't the first prayer room built that way, sort of? trailer houses, containers, same concept. Talk about forerunners!!

I think it's a great concept and I'd go for one. What about homeowner associations? Do you think they would accept them, maybe even with clotheslines so you don't use so much electricity? Just think, you wouldn't need any aluminium siding salesmen!!

Maybe you could start a whole new subdivision - or suburb - that only container houses could be built. Make it upmarket to have a container house. Start a fad. Except that would make them more expensive b/c everyone would want one. Get one whilst you can - cheap!

Randy Bohlender said...

Eric - Rent a Wheel was working in Daytona. I still don't understand it though.

The phone contacts are up to 693 now, but of those, about twelve of them have more than fifteen dollars to their name.

Maybe we do some sort of rent-to-own that's so difficult that no one ever really owns and we sell the same one over and over. I also wonder if we could build efficency apartments in dumpsters? Three words: Walk-In-Kitchen!

steven hamilton said...

frightening...but i suppose no more so than your previous post on 'what's happening' in kansas city...ahhh, makes me remember fond memories of my youth in the midwest...


Kelsey Bohlender said...

Eric -- Let's get the Bob Villa video and start this weekend! I'm sure we could just nab some land up at Shiloh.....no one will really notice. And by the time we get done, there will be so many people wanting to buy one, we will have done the Missions Base a favor!!

(Yeah, and I think we could still make the EGS too! This will be EASY!)

shawn blanc said...

I was just thinking about this the other day, but in terms of CC debt.

I read somewhere that if the average american sold every single thing they owned and used the money to pay their bills, they would be standing on the street in their underwear and still $40,000 in the hole.

Once I realized debt was a nightmare I did like you guys and put everything towards it. It is amazing how much more useful your money is when you don't owe it to someone else.

Brian said...

Is this is good idea or just crazy? I think its good and crazy! Go for it, dude!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kelsey, Randy can be the project look out man and you the General Contractor (we watched and read the Home Depot Week Vacation Remodel episode at the Bohlenders) We know you have the know how and the eye for trends so hey sighn me up. I will start clearing trees today!!!