The following is generally about house payments, mortgages, and PMI (Personal Mortgage Insurance).
Definitions: PMI = unless you put down 20% of the price of the home, you have to pay a monthly insurance to the lender in case it were to go into foreclosure. Once you make payments for half the life of the loan, PMI drops away, or if you have roughly 20% equity (give or take 2% based on state/federal laws) comprised of appreciation and improvements. If the property has decreased in value, though, the banks can make you pay all the way down to 70% (75% in Virginia) of the CURRENT value of the home if you try to remove PMI prior to the half-way mark. Oh, and you have to pay for the appraisal of the property. Oh, and the appraiser is chosen by the company that holds the loan...
Yeah, stop for a second and ponder that.
Uh huh. So, yeah, I vented:
I can't even begin to describe how much this pisses me off in such a primal way.
"It's just business" is what the banks would say, but the fact of the matter is that they have taken the fundamental dream of most people (the proverbial American Dream, truth be told) and twisted it into just another scheme with which to line their pockets. And we've bought into it happily by saying, "That's just the way it is."
In truth, what they have done is good for business. They've stripped away any semblance of humanity from the process of buying and owning a home - shelter; one of the most basic of human needs. They've forced the public into a process which not only demands a pound of flesh up front and continued suckling of our sanguinary juices, but also a monthly stipend wherein they have the ability to slowly ingest the spirit by continually changing their demands to meet their own wants.
But, it's all in the name of Business. Feed the machine, follow its rules, and meet its expectations because that is how you maintain the status quo, that is how you keep the economy running, that is how you create Order from Chaos. There's no room for emotions in Business as that just muddies that waters, but how can you remove something so deeply human from a basic human need?
Wait, that's not a fair question is it? This is Business. This is just about money. There's nothing Personal here. All that matters is that you:
A) Honestly meet your contractually agreed-upon payments
B) Conduct your life in such a manner that you achieve personal success and stability so that you can meet (A).
So, you've continued to do everything you've promised to do, but that doesn't matter in the least. In Business, you are always a Liability when it comes to an issue that might benefit you, and an Asset when you quietly and happily continue to pay what they demand. In every dealing you are looked upon with Suspicion and Assumed Guilt. You are Forever and Always the "unwashed masses," a financial serf, a Lesser Being. Forget your track record, your loyalty, your honesty, your proven dependability, because when it all boils down to it, you are their field nigger - trusted enough to sow the seeds, raise the crops, reap the harvest, and diligently place it in massa's hands. You'll never have a seat at his table, though, you're much too untrustworthy, too base, too common. You are to be relied upon only so much as you keep your mouth shut and do his bidding. You are relied upon only so much as you pay him his tribute and align your hopes and dreams to his.
But, wait. This is all too inflammatory. This is Capitalism. This is the way it is, because it's Good and Fair? No, this is systemic enslavement and the only Good and Fair Treatment based on prior performance and basic humanity is reserved for those who make the rules.
Systemic Fucking Enslavement.
If you pay down to this level you are free! Unless, of course, we think otherwise, then we'll just push that goal a little farther out. Oh, you've paid everything on time? You've kept the house up? You haven't turned it into a Den of Ill-Repute? Congratulations! We still don't trust you. We think your beautiful suburban home, your American Dream, is no better than a run-down and abandoned property in the inner-city slums of Detroit. And your proven track record with us? Well, you may as well be an slum-lord for all we care. So, we're going to crush your spirit a little more, but don't worry! Just keep toiling away and in 7 years, we'll set you free (if we feel like it)!
"Chase Bank. We're Here For You."
"Arbeit Macht Frei."
Note: I feel better after having pounded that out. Of course, I'm sure some of you will think me a budding Communist, Marxist, Anarchist. That's not the case, as I actually dig on Capitalism. But to remove every shred of humanity from a process does nothing but demean those tasked with jumping through every hoop real or imagined that the lending companies can devise to impede your progress. I find that disgusting.