How Did You Afford This, Scott L. & Jen D.?

We’ve all seen it: a Facebook or Instagram photo of someone we know showing off a big purchase. Sometimes we’re happy for them, sometimes we’re resentful, but one thing is usually true — we don’t know the whole story. In “How Did You Afford This”, we ask readers to let us know how they were able to afford big purchases in their lives. In this installment of the series, we are starting with one of the biggest investments any of us will ever make: home ownership.

Background

  • Location: Urban in Concord, CA (East Bay)
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Type of Residence: Single Residential
  • Down payment percentage of home cost: 3.5% (first home), 25% (second home)

Details
CH: How old were you when you bought/when did you buy?
SL: We bought our first townhome in Oakland, CA in June of 2011. I was 26 years old and my wife was 25.

CH: Why did you decide to buy?
SL: We bought at a downturn in the economy a few years out of college. I come from a real estate family and believe real estate is one of the best long term investments. Paying rent monthly for us was the equivalent of throwing away money and we wanted to avoid that as quickly as possible.

CH: How long did you save until you started your home search and what percentage of the value of the home was your down payment? If you have a partner, did you split the down payment?
SL: We were very fortunate and qualified for an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment. In 2011 Bay Area homes were surprisingly affordable and we had enough money on hand (it was about $9K) to purchase our town home. Our process from home search to closing escrow was approximately 6 weeks.

In the summer of 2015 we saw an Eichler home come up for sale in Concord about a half hour away from Oakland. My wife and I both come from architectural backgrounds and fell in love with the home instantly. We were not looking to sale/move but decided before viewing the home we were going to go for it. We sold our town home in Oakland and bought our Eichler in a span of 4 weeks. Given the increase in home values over the 4 years we owned our first home, we were able to put down 25% on the new home.

CH: Did anyone else contribute to the down payment? If so, what percentage of the down payment?
SL: No.

CH: Is there anything else you want to share?
SL: You’re awesome, and I want to meet your new puppy.

 

Did you enjoy figuring out how the fuck Scott afforded this? Find more stories in this series HERE.


all my flowers grew back as thorns

Chimera: a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusionary or impossible to achieve.

Hurt. It’s an emotion that rarely shows up online. When it does, it’s often in the form of a passive aggressive Facebook status, never really explored until it’s been processed and packaged for consumption.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.  Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

“I recently photographed a project that has grown over the course of the past five years for me. I wanted to find a way to express some of the pain and emotion I’ve gone through — that many of have gone through — but don’t generally show online. I wanted it to be rough, ugly, and truly raw, but also to expand on the “beauty in the breakdown” cliche. This shoot finally came to fruition after I went through a recent hardship and needed a way to channel that pain in a healthy way.” — Kate Jacobson

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture. Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture. Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

“I started by collecting images for inspiration that resonated with the emotion I wanted to portray. I sat on this project for such a long time because I wanted to make sure I had the right person to model for the photos, but I also really wanted to find a makeup artist who could make realistic wounds.”

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

” ‘Chimera’ resonates because it’s impossible to always be 100% well, and social media —more often than not— can give the illusion of someone’s life being so much more than it actually is.”

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.  Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Photos: Kate Jacobson (@kate_rosee)
Model: Lina Skrzypczak (@damnlina)
MUA / SFX: Marlene Jimenez (@hello__marz)

Antebellum to Beyonce: Black Erasure in the Time of Twitter Receipts

Photographs by the talented Danielle Webster.

The erasure of black people, black culture, blackness is a hallmark of American life.

About 2 years ago I started seeing Charleston, SC everywhere. It was all over Instagram, and multiple friends were taking trips there. It soon became clear that the city of Charleston was in the midst of a revitalization campaign, complete with a high dollar blogger singing its praises.

Every photo had a beautiful simplicity, an ease on the eye. I wanted to go to Charleston.

I wanted to go to White Charleston. I wanted to go to the unburdened version of a city that can only be achieved through burying its own history deep down and throwing a filter on it. I wanted a town whose plantation homes were simply a pinterest-worthy aesthetic. Cobblestone streets, magnolia trees, fried chicken — all part of the Southern “rebrand”.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

The South that I know is greatly abridged — my time there was only a year and a half tip-to-toe — but in that time I became very familiar with the feeling of being a walking secret. The feeling that my very existence in my black body was an affront to the daily story that the white people around me were trying to tell about themselves. I also remember the feeling of disdain from my black academic peers, as though they could sense the lack of adversity in me. Sure, I had been to a very affluent white school, but I felt like they could tell I hadn’t truly lived under the cloud of a white retelling. They could tell I hadn’t yet struggled to form myself in a place with such a rich history of people trying to blot me out.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

The Southern rebrand seeks to be wholly devoid of blackness. In that regard, it is really not a rebrand at all. Charleston, the only major antebellum American city to have a majority-enslaved population. Charleston, where nearly half of all Africans brought to America arrived. Charleston, a city that blackness built.

Black people built the South with blood, sweat and tears. An industrial revolution fueled by black horror, a thorough and sustained subjugation.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Today, there is a version of the South that exists apart from, and yet layered directly on top of, the house that blackness built. In this version, Southern Living magazine calls Charleston “the most polite and hospitable city in America.” It’s noteworthy though, that the stories we tell ourselves today can also warp the past. It is quite nearly impossible to arrive at the most hospitable city in America on the scar tracks of whips.

It is in this culture of retelling that Sofia Coppola can make a movie like “The Beguiled”. A movie adaptation by a white woman, who erases the presence of a black character’s narrative in order to center the experience of a cabal of white women, set during a war fought by white men over the material worth of black bodies. A version that totally guts its black innards to make more room for the dominant whiteness.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

And then there is Beyonce, a Southern woman, a black woman who thrusts blackness upon us even as she makes her own empirical points about womanhood. A woman who is processing and externalizing a South that made her, as much as her forefathers made it, producing new media that scribbles into the lines already drawn instead of rubbing them out, and somehow finding new uncharted places to go.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

But today, there is Twitter and there is Black Twitter, the way there is America and Black America. Run on the same systems, occupying the same space, one within the other. The black one creating and constantly churning out culture, a vibrant and kinetic processing of everything around it into memes, hashtags, and political movements. The larger one getting all the updates, the innovations, the room.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

It is a tricky thing: to rob and rebrand, to claim with the intent to smother.

It’s a big game of catch & kill, like those news outlets that buy stories just to bury them.

It is not by accident that you do not see black people rejoicing on your television screen.

It is not by accident that black people are only excited on your screens when they are made into GIFs for others to use to express themselves, or when we are being positioned as too unruly to bear.

It is not by accident that you never see black people unburdened or free.

It is not by accident that you do not see black people in ownership of the things that they built.

It is not by accident that you never see black people in period pieces.

It is not by accident that you do not see black women in plantation homes.

But now you have.

And now you cannot unsee a version of history where blackness has ownership of the house that blackness built.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

*Photos taken in a historic Georgia suburb, not Charleston.

Find more of Danielle Webster’s fascinating work at DanielleWebster.com


How Did You Afford This, Emily & Denton T.?

We’ve all seen it: a Facebook or Instagram photo of someone we know showing off a big purchase. Sometimes we’re happy for them, sometimes we’re resentful, but one thing is usually true — we don’t know the whole story. In “How Did You Afford This”, we ask readers to let us know how they were able to afford big purchases in their lives. In this installment of the series, we are starting with one of the biggest investments any of us will ever make: home ownership.

 

Background

  • Location: Suburban in Denver, CO
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 3.5
  • Type of Residence: Single Family Home
  • Down payment percentage of home cost: 50%

Details

CH: How old were you when you bought/when did you buy?
ET: I was 28, Denton was 32.

CH: If you have a domestic partner, are you both on the deed/loan? If not, why?
ET: Yes, we both are on our title and loan.

CH: Why did you decide to buy?
ET: We both owned homes before we got engaged because we knew that we want to live in Denver for the rest of our lives and it felt like the right time to invest. Denton’s house was far away from our jobs and friends and my house was too small for us both to fit (one car garage, built in the 1940s, low ceilings- Denton is 6’5″) as we began our married life. So we agreed that neither of our homes would work for our future and began to decide what was important in a home to us and look.

CH: How long did you save until you started your home search and what percentage of the value of the home was your down payment?  If you have a partner, did you split the down payment?
ET: We decided to sell my house as it had a higher value than Denton’s and used that sale for our down payment on a new house. It was really hard getting my house ready to sell. We had to get it repainted, staged and maintain that high level while we had showings. We have kept Denton’s house and are renting it out. We make a small profit off of it that we have put into a savings account for maintenance on both of our houses.

CH: Did anyone else contribute to the down payment?  If so, what percentage of the down payment?
ET: No.

 

 

Did you enjoy figuring out how the fuck Emily and Denton afforded this? Find more stories in this series HERE.


How Did You Afford This, Kim C?

We’ve all seen it: a Facebook or Instagram photo of someone we know showing off a big purchase. Sometimes we’re happy for them, sometimes we’re resentful, but one thing is usually true — we don’t know the whole story. In “How Did You Afford This”, we ask readers to let us know how they were able to afford big purchases in their lives. In this installment of the series, we are starting with one of the biggest investments any of us will ever make: home ownership.

Background

  • Location: Urban in Denver, CO
  • Bedrooms: 2
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Type of Residence: Condo
  • Down payment percentage of home cost: 20%

(Scroll for media)

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Details
CH: How old were you when you bought/when did you buy?
KC: We were both 36 when we were finally able to afford a place on our own.

CH: Are you both on the deed/loan? If not, why?
KC: The condo is under my name only, mostly because my husband was still new at his job and we were worried that his year off from work after we moved would increase our loan rates.

CH: Why did you decide to buy?
KC: We’re originally from metro NYC and Suburban Long Island, NY where the housing markets have been out of our range ever since we were old enough to hold real jobs. We knew that if we were going to own a home we loved and didn’t feel house poor in, we’d have to leave our hometowns. When we moved to Denver in 2015 we were surprised at how – comparatively – pricey home ownership was. Because we’d been priced out of homes back east by the time we started looking, we didn’t want that to happen to us again. As soon as we figured out that we liked Denver enough to live here for a few years, we started brainstorming creative ways to buy something in the downtown area.

CH: How long did you save until you started your home search and what percentage of the value of the home was your down payment? If you have a partner, did you split the down payment?
KC: Crazily enough, we didn’t actively save specifically for a home. I’ve been lucky to have had one great paying job in my mid – late 20s that had matching retirement account benefits, and my husband had some investments his parents started for him when he was young. We made the hard but ultimately right decision to nearly liquidate all of that savings to put into our down payment and closing costs. We figured we would have better, happier lives overall if we risked a little bit of the far off future to take the next big step in our lives and relationship.

CH: Did anyone else contribute to the down payment? If so, what percentage of the down payment?
KC: Nope – we did it all ourselves! We didn’t ask our parents for help – we’re sure they would have chipped in what they could, but it’s something we wanted to do ourselves.

CH: Is there anything else you want to share?
KC: It still feels weird to say I own a home – full stop. I’m a city kid, but my parents owned my childhood home in Flatbush Brooklyn… my mom and I both still daydream about what life would be like if we’d held onto that amazing 3 story brownstone… it hurts, lol! They were able to afford that on their own as immigrants in the 80s. Contrast that with the fact that I never thought I’d own a home because the housing market where I’m from has been unattainable for years. Now that I’m someone who was only able to buy after moving to a ‘smaller’ town, I think a lot about housing equity, displacement of local and real estate opportunism.

 

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

 

 

Did you enjoy figuring out how the fuck Kim afforded this? Find more stories in this series HERE.