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peterme, Abnormal American. Posted on 08/23/2002.

So, I'm looking to buy property. I moved to Oakland a little over 6 months ago, and I quite like it. I'm committed to the Bay Area, and want to settle in a bit. Also, even in this crazy market, buying a home still makes financial sense. Building equity, not throwing money away in rent, likelihood of further appreciation, etc.

My mom is a real estate agent (in L.A., she's great, work with her if you want to buy down there). She hooked me up with a very friendly agent up here, who in turn connected me with a loan officer. See, before you start looking seriously for a house, you need to get pre-approved for a loan. That way, you know how much house you can buy.

The loan officer came over a couple of days ago. Before coming, she had run a credit check. Pretty standard stuff. Thing being: I have no credit. It's not that I have bad credit; I have no credit.

Now, I thought I had credit. See, last October, I went in on a property purchase with my parents (their new condo), and I had no credit then, either. But I thought that being on the loan and the title would give me credit. Well, it turns out that since I'm listed third, I don't show up on the computer.

And if you don't show up on the computer, there's nothing you can do.

It's also not that I don't actually have credit. I do have a credit card. It's just that I have just one. And it's through Schwab, where I do all my banking and investing, and for some reason, Schwab doesn't report my credit to the credit report people.

The fundamental problem here, see, is that I'm not a typical American. And by typical American, I mean, "Living beyond my means." Well, maybe I'm taking that a bit far. But you get the point.

The fact that I've made a good salary for the last three years? Meaningless.

That I have cash saved in the bank? Eh, who cares.

That I have no debt, have never defaulted in anyway, etc. etc.? Not interesting.

See, I lead a fairly simple life. I rent an apartment. I don't own a car. I don't make extravagant purchases on a bunch of different credit cards. And because of this, "the computer" doesn't know what to make of me.

It's really frustrating, really. I am perfectly suited to get my piece of the American Dream, but The Man won't let me. (Well, he will eventually, but only after I game the system through a means that my loan officer informed me.) It's fucked up that there's seemingly simply no way of dealing with this on a human level. My loan officer could tell I'm good for it. It doesn't matter. The system doesn't have a category for people like me, and so, instead of risking it, would just as soon keep me out.

This will all blow over, I'll get good credit, and I'll buy property. I'm just upset that my un-self-consciously simple existence is a bane in others' eyes.

If you want to avoid having no credit, do things like:
- have at least three credit cards, with good high credit limits, and no late payments for the last two years
- buy things like cars that require loans (prove that other people are willing to loan to you)
- not being the third person on a title for a house

Rant over.

38 comments so far. Add a comment.

Previous entry: "Two Amazing Nights with The Night of the Hunter"
Next entry: "Off to D.C..."


A friend and (former) finance professor at MIT knew the value of a credit history.

He would borrow money every once in a while just so he could pay it off quickly. He would go to the bank for a loan to buy a new hi-fi system; it was only a few hundred bucks and he did have the cash but a credit history is a credit history.

Once while we were strolling through Kendall Square, he asked if I minded if we stopped at a bank; he explained that he wanted to get a loan. I asked what he was buying. He said, 'nothing.' I asked how he was going to explain his need to the bank. He said, 'I'll tell them that I am using the money to pay off a loan at another bank. They love that. They'll say, "Here is a person who is so consciencious about paying off his loans that he'll borrow from someone else to do it. He is a damned good risk!" '

By the way, Peter, let me know the next time you are coming to Boston and we'll have Indian food in Harvard Square again.
Posted by Richard in Cambridge @ 08/23/2002 10:56 AM PST [link to this comment]

my mother brought me up (in norway) to know not to spend beyond my means. basically, her one piece of financial advice was, "if you don't have the money, don't spend it." i thought this was very sound advice, and have lived by it all my life.

when i came to the US, i continued my no credit lifestyle. this proved to be a bad, bad mistake, for exactly the same reasons you cite. it really annoyed me, too. i didn't have bad credit, i simply didn't have credit. this caused me so many problems you don't know the half of it. in my mind, i was being punished for being more responsible with my money than most people. the biggest problem i encountered was searching for my first apartment here in new york. with no credit history, landlords demanded payment in advance - 12 months worth of rent!

because i had no credit history, i also wasn't offered any credit cards. it was as though i did not exist. finally i did manage to get a card, and with that i have managed to build good credit over the last 2 years.
Posted by Bard Edlund @ 08/23/2002 11:52 AM PST [link to this comment]

Your Schwab card is likely a debit card, not a credit card. It draws stright from your Schwab account so no credit is actually being extended. I'm not aware of Schwab offering a credit card.
Posted by pb @ 08/23/2002 07:36 PM PST [link to this comment]

I agree that this is frustrating, but given the high default rates and generally poor money management of most Americans, what should banks use to judge whether someone should be given a hefty (house-sized) loan? Cash and a steady job can both vanish quite quickly -- a long history of paying bills on time is (presumably according to the actuaries) a better indicator of likelihood to pay off future loans properly. Banks have risks to take into account, too.

I advised a friend of mine with very little credit history to get a loan for (part of) her first car, even though she had the cash to buy it outright, for this very reason. She can pay off the loan quickly, but the point is it establishes a record that she's responsible and makes payments on time.

Again, I understand that it's not the greatest system, but I'm not sure what a better solution would be.
Posted by Medley @ 08/24/2002 12:55 PM PST [link to this comment]

I guess BARNEY MILLER is my all-time favorite TV series. In one segment, Harris, the nattily dressed Black detective is booking a twelve-year-old Black kid for running numbers--or some such crime--and begins to lecture the kid on the value of honest living, but the kid pulls out a huge roll of cash and mocks Harris for working for a puny little cop's salary. Harris puffs himself up with moral indignation and tells the kid that: "I have something you will never have, punk--I have credit!"

Let's face it, Peter, you are un-American. Our total economy will collapse and we will become a Third World country if our true and patriotic citizens do not buy more goods than they need with money they don't have. Honest debt is the American Way--love it or leave it.
Posted by BJMe @ 08/24/2002 03:36 PM PST [link to this comment]

Ah, yes.. Credit.. I was taught from a very early age by my mother about the importance of paying, before there were all these credit cards there was gas, electric, phone, rent, a running tab at the neighborhood grocery store.. in short the necessities of not being a hermit living in a cave in the wilderness..
At that time (somewhere from my mid to later first decade) I was unaware of house or car payments, although I was told often that money didn't grow on trees, and I couldn't have things that weren't practical.. But as I entered the adult world of a becoming a wife and mother way too soon, I became enlightened about loan companies as the need presented itself.. Furniture, appliances, even clothes, for a little down and small weekly/monthly payments... I built good credit, lost it, rebuilt it again over the years.. I have had no credit cards, to way too many, just because I could..( pick a card any card) With age comes credit maturity when open it (some never learn or mature about money, real or on paper)
I have credit limits that are considerable on the three cards I keep, I personally do not carry a balance on any of them for myself any more.. I know and appreciate the value of money..
Could I buy a house on my own? possibly.. My personal credit rating is fantastic.. I don't work and my husbands income is considered mine..
I know it is far different in many places abroad..
My son in law is from England and until coming to the states didn't have a credit card, a friend living in Switzerland is amazed by our system of credit here.. She and her husband save their money and buy their needs with cash.. I'm talking new car when needed, major appliances, all.
Bottom line? Unless you are very rich, you need a credit rating to get big ticket items in the good old U.S.of A..

Out here they start sending credit applications to kids when they are seniors in high school.. Something most really shouldn't apply for. The schools don't educate kids for that part of life.. And it would seem most parents either don't, or their kids are to dense to uderstand it..

As for you Peter, consider a co-signer to get you started..

(Or perhaps a mortage company for a house? I don't know how it works there, but my stepson says he can go thru one in Tn., he has no credit to speak of, and no down payment..)

There's nothing wrong with that( co-signer), but let me clue you in.. Any place you get credit from, whether it's credit card companies, or whatever, they want you to take months to pay.. If you charge and pay off a balance each month, that doesn't show them you can sustain over the long haul for a house or car payments.. Trust me, I know these things... Also they make their money from your interest as well as what they charge any business for accepting a card..
(did you know they charge places to accept a credit card? sometimes over 4%)

It's a real bitch to have to pay for becoming established, isn't it?
Posted by meturn @ 08/25/2002 07:19 AM PST [link to this comment]

My understanding is that when it comes to credit cards, the bank sees two things.

1) If you had any late payments over the last 18 months or two years.
2) The largest monthly payment you had on the card.

So, the theory then was to charge up your cards a lot in one month every year or two and pay it off right away and to do that on more than one card.

- Elan
Posted by Elan @ 08/25/2002 09:51 AM PST [link to this comment]

Peter, you're missing the point. There's nothing you can complain about here. You live your life buying things you have money for, and then suddenly, now, you DO want to live beyond your means, you want to buy a house with a huge sum of money that isn't yours. You don't see that this is a major shock to your system, that you're the one who's changing here?

If you were still the same atypical American you profess to be, you would buy a house with a big pile of your own cash, and you wouldn't have these problems you're having, where you think your piece of the American Dream is for someone to loan you $X00,000 before they've loaned you $100.

I feel like I'm making a BJ-style point here, but since he's already chimed in, maybe that means he doesn't agree with me, in which case I'm sure I'll hear from him.

Living below my means is one of my favorite hobbies, as Peter well knows. I don't want anyone to read this and think that they need to go out and buy a bunch of shit with other people's money. Please don't buy stuff you don't need. Instead, if you think you'll want to borrow money someday, do these other tricks that everyone's commented on: borrow money you already have, pay it off with another credit card, etc., soon you'll be getting offers of 0% for a year that you can take and dump into CDs and then pay back.

That way you can still be atypical -- if everyone did that, the credit industry would collapse, wouldn't it? -- but you'll be prepared if someday you change your mind and want some debt.
Posted by Trav @ 08/25/2002 12:51 PM PST [link to this comment]

Good thinking Trav, but I don't think this is just an either/or, or dialectical proposition. I don't know that there is only one really good way of life for everybody to aspire to.

Julie and I have enjoyed fabulously good credit now for over fifty years. Between us, we have purchased a shitload of cars, clothes, furniture, travel and even a raised a couple of high ticket kids. We used the system, including credit and cash, to live this pretty good life without ever paying a cent in interest. Until last year, that is, when we bought this condo. This purchase not only allows us to make a lower payment each month for even better accommodations than the same amount of rent would provide us, but this loan for housing arrangement is a better investment than the stock market, lottery, horse racing, and yes, even poker playing.

Only in poker must a player ante up and bet before he can play. But poker is not a metaphor for life. In life, depending on your earning power and trustworthiness, there are other people who are happy to ante up for you and bet on your ability to lay down a good hand.

When you buy on credit, you are not using other people's money. A lender is only giving you your own money in advance. A person's earning power is money in the bank. It is a legitimate asset. Insurance companies have to make payments to injured parties based on their actuarially determined potential earning power.

Other people (lenders) are actually making money and living off of the earning power of the borrower, not the other way around as you suggest.

And remember, "Neither a borrower or a lender be," is a line of dialogue in Hamlet spoken by a foolish old man, Polonius. It was not intended to be taken as sage advice by the author.
Posted by BJMe @ 08/25/2002 08:58 PM PST [link to this comment]

Bj, how did you manage to never pay a cent of interest on any of your previous credit accounts in fifty years? I only get that 0% with offers to balance transfer, or on new purchases.. and only for a certain number of months.. And definitely not 40, 30, 20, or even 5 years ago..

When we bought our first house on contract from the owner, there was still a small amt. of interest..

You are correct about your investment in your condo, as long as your area stays as is..
location, location, location..
Posted by meturn @ 08/26/2002 06:26 AM PST [link to this comment]

Upon presentation, I always pay my bill in full. But my instinct told me when I was very young to buy my clothes and toothpaste, and whatever with charge cards at department stores, drug stores, etc. As a result, even as I was on line to collect my Unemployment Insurance Compensation at the Hollywood office, Bank of America was begging me to become one of their very first BankAmercard holders. You can be sure I negotiated some very favorable terms for myself.

Trav, as you may have surmised from my previous comment, is a poker player, and I understand he plays his cards very well. I like to think I play my (credit) cards as well.
Posted by BJMe @ 08/26/2002 10:47 AM PST [link to this comment]

Get married, have spotless credit for years, get divorced and watch it go to hell while the husband neglects his side of the cards. Lose your job and overextend yourself, get a job that doesn't pay enough to cover and watch things get worse. They don't care that you had spotless credit for years - you're a deadbeat, like everyone else.

The problem with the credit industry in the US is that credit = prestige and you aren't "cool" until you have a credit card. That is wrong, so totally wrong.

It used to be that you could borrow money for large purchases simply because you had a relationship with your bank - you had a history of being a responsible account holder, never bounced a check, and had a buttload in savings. Obviously, someone willing to build that type of account can handle a large loan.

Not so now. Bank loyalty is not encouraged; instead, you give your loyalty to "The Big Three" credit reporting agencies. Your goal is to build good credit, even if that means buying something and paying it off in installments (paying off everything at once doesn't "look" as good) that you can easily afford otherwise.

Frankly, I don't think you ranted enough. The system is skewed, and it is only going to get worse. One of the comments above suggested you should have your money in a big pile if you want to make a big purchase, but people had been borrowing money for years for big ticket items w/out needing a credit score. Credit is an extremely recent thing - it was almost unheard of in the fifties and early sixties.

I hope you don't change your ways, Peter. Too many give in when they are told that they "have" to have credit, and then everyone is shocked and amazed that America has such a problem!!
Posted by Anonymous @ 08/26/2002 11:53 AM PST [link to this comment]

And remember, "Neither a borrower or a lender be," is a line of dialogue in Hamlet spoken by a foolish old man, Polonius. It was not intended to be taken as sage advice by the author.

Hey, that made my day. Most people quote that passage literally, failing to realize that Polonius is a buffoon. (Though it's sometimes hard to argue with brevity as the soul of wit.)

Posted by Gene @ 08/26/2002 01:37 PM PST [link to this comment]

It wasn't all peaches and cream in the 50s and 60s, either. Back then, most women couldn't even get credit without a man (husband) to vouch for them. Let's not overly idealize the past.

In addition, American society has changed dramatically since the 50s and 60s. We are more mobile, we switch employers more frequently, education is more expensive, divorce is more frequent (with all of its attendant financial complications), and so on. It would be absurd for the banks to assume that everyone still lives in the same town they grew up, married to their high school sweetheart, with their parents down the street, so oh look, let's give everybody all the loans they want.

Again, without a history of paying off smaller loans and managing lines of credit responsibly, how should banks make the decision to loan someone large sums of money?
Posted by Medley @ 08/26/2002 03:39 PM PST [link to this comment]

You do not need to live beyond your means to establish good credit. So, yes you are "taking that a bit far." I never had any loans, never spent extravagantly, but did use 2 credit cards instead of cash for convenience (like paying my ISP bill each month and getting pay-at-pump gas) but my average monthly payment was pretty low and always paid off. I paid all my utilities and rent on time. I got a mortgage loan in CA in 1995 without any problems. I guess having a couple credit cards helped me out since that's the difference between my and your situation. But you shouldn't feel you need a huge lifestyle change to get a credit rating established. Try putting a few monthly bills (ISP bills are what I did) on auto credit-card payment and always paying those off.
Posted by Lilly (aka girlhacker) @ 08/26/2002 04:48 PM PST [link to this comment]

To Medley's question in 14, I think it's straightforward (and maybe I'm naive).

If someone has shown themselves to be a good saver and investor, and an earner of a steadily increasing salary over, oh, 10 years, it suggests that person is responsible with money and on a trend to continue earning more (or, at least, as much), and that thus they would be a good loan risk. just because i've never taken out a loan doesn't mean i'm not a good loan risk.

it just means i've never taken out a loan.

i guess, what i'm saying, is that ability to pay off such a loan should be the overriding factor, and my earning, spending, and saving history suggests that i exhibit behavior that i will have the money to pay off the loan.
Posted by peterme @ 08/26/2002 08:12 PM PST [link to this comment]

Fair, Isaac is the leading merchant for credit scoring. Some consumer information is at

Business Week: "How fair is Fair Isaac?"

The Street on the transformation of FICO scores from deep secrets into marketable services:
Posted by Edward Vielmetti @ 08/26/2002 09:36 PM PST [link to this comment]

You are not naive, Peter, except in your solipsistic view of the world. You know where you stand in the financial world, but why should a stranger know all about you?

Would you hire, or associate with some one in your company without seeing the bona fides of that person's experience, commitment and ability?

For some people, making money, squandering it frivolously and even declaring bankruptcy is a preferred way of life. What are you showing a lender that demonstrates that you are a responsible, not a profligate person? The same lenders that are giving you a hard time are also rejecting plenty others that you yourself wouldn't lend the price of a double latte; not if you wanted it paid back.

But hey! If you ever need anything, call me first. I know you're good for it. But then I raised you from a pup.
Posted by BJMe @ 08/26/2002 11:33 PM PST [link to this comment]

I don't recall idealizing the 50's and 60's. I'm just saying credit reporting agencies and credit cards were almost unheard of then and credit was given for different criteria. And since when do you have to live in the same small town and marry your high school sweetheart to stay with the same bank, or trace your account history? That is what paperwork is for.

The idea of building a bank account, making regular savings deposits, never bouncing a check and never dipping so low that you rob Peter to pay Paul has gone out of fashion. That IS how banks used to determine whether you were worthy of loaning large sums of money to.

Of course, this usually meant that you borrowed money for collateralized items such as a washer/dryer, a car, or a house where the bank could seize the item if you didn't pay them back. The risk was relatively small if you look at it from that perspective. Great account history, collateralized loan. Go for it! The closest anyone got to a "line of credit" was to use a house or business to secure the line. The prevailing opinion was that you should save your money for pretty much anything else. If you couldn't afford the latest geegaw, save until you could or forget it.

The only reason banks need to know if you are a good credit risk is to give you unsecured credit, and that is the problem. Unsecured credit is highway robbery, and far to many are hooked on it and are being dragged down by it. The problem is so bad that they are changing bankruptcy laws so consumers can't dissolve debt as easily as before because too many people do it when they just get tired of making revolving payments. Bankruptcy has, apparently, lost its stigma. Why not, when you get credit card offers within a year of filing?

Meanwhile, people who would have formerly been called "responsible" are now being called "chumps" and are out in the cold, or at least struggling to arrange something that would have been a no-brainer before unsecured credit was all the rage. It's sad that a system that makes good people feel like dopes is allowed to persist and even flourish.
Posted by Anonymous @ 08/27/2002 05:22 PM PST [link to this comment]

in my case, when looking for an apartment (see comment #2), i did have enough money in my savings account to cover 2 years of rent. in addition, i had paid all my bills on time for the four years i had lived in this country, including rent in another city. on top of that i had a job with a good, steady income. it seems to me that it would be stupid of anyone to intentionally NOT pay their rent, since this will only punish yourself - so if i'm trying to get an apartment, and i generate more than twice the amount of money i need per month, and i have enough for 2 years of rent in the bank... that still should count for nothing just because i don't have a credit history?
Posted by Bård Edlund @ 08/27/2002 08:00 PM PST [link to this comment]

and, i agree with just about everything Anonymous said. unfortunately it does seem like a hard chain to break.
Posted by Bård Edlund @ 08/27/2002 08:03 PM PST [link to this comment]

It wasn't Barney Miller, it was WKRP in Cinncinati. It was Venus Flytrap, not Harris. It was a 16 year old who was going to drop out of high school to join a gang. And Venus saved the day by explaining the structure of an atom to him.
Posted by Just another fact checker @ 08/31/2002 01:41 PM PST [link to this comment]

I don't see why so many are having problems with credit cards. I started using one in college and have paid it off each month, staying within my means.

Even with very few "big" purchases, I have earned excellent credit, enough to buy a home before I turned 30.

Of course credit card companies want the customers that make big purchases and pay the minimum each month. But that will actually lead to a lower credit score as it factors in how much you are currently in debt.

Also, I don't see why anyone wouldn't use a credit card (especially one with no annual fees) to make some purchases. It's equivalent to a 30-45 day, interest free loan. That amount could be earning you interest in a savings account...
Posted by AEB @ 08/31/2002 06:44 PM PST [link to this comment]

Australian perspective...

I got a mortgage without any credit history, to buy a $400K apartment in Sydney.

This was fiddly, but my understanding was that the key factors were:
1) I provided over 20% cash
2) I had been at the same job for over 3 years
3) Job was well paid

(Three month contract, kept getting renewed :-))
Posted by Aussie @ 08/31/2002 10:22 PM PST [link to this comment]

In answer to the person that said not buying on credit is unamerican....

From what I could see, when I was a little kid, there were only a few "credit cards" available. I don't remember seeing visa OR mastercard, and CERTAINLY not discover, JCB, or any department store cards! As I recall it was diners club and carte blanch(BOTH are from the same company). American express didn't count, as it was ONLY the ORIGINAL american express which was used only for convienience. You had to pay IN FULL each month. There were also some gas cards. ALSO, as I recall, they weren't accepted very many places. They are a pretty new concept!

The fact is that BUYING ON CREDIT is unamerican! Americans used to buy with CASH! The average home cost about $3000, taxes were low, if they even existed. In short, the average American got what he was promised, and could save for even a HOME! What happened to that proper pride Americans had?

Today, you can't even rent a car without a credit card. Some other places have the same restriction.

Today, due in great part to "credit", everything is more expensive and taxes are higher. And that is WITHOUT the defaults that make some things even higher.

I have seen schemes used to trick the system into giving bad people good credit. Once, an entire town had all the good credit risk home owners listed as bad credit risks(because they listed the people who defaulted on loans as having not defaulted and vice-versa.) One time I was turned down for credit at a store because someone INSISTED on spelling my name Estephen. Once I got her to spell it correctly, I got the credit. The system obviously has holes. I was once turned down because I had three inquiries. Once they understood WHY, I got the credit. Inquiries can occur when someone previews your credit. This often happens when looking for a car, renting an apartment, raising a credit limit, lowering interest rates, or getting a new credit card or loan.(good things) This can ALSO happen, unfortunately, when being investigated for fraud, car accidents, lawsuits, or late payments.(POSSIBLY bad things) It at least WAS possible, and likely, to have a half dozen queries just by looking for a car, and buying it.

OH YEAH, lest you think I am some kid who is unable to have credit, etc...(And thus badmouthing those that do) I have credit cards, etc... almost a half million in credit, and about a quarter million in outstanding loans(I just bought a house). Think of it! A HALF MILLION dollars. And a million used to be considered a lot of money(you can't even buy a decent home on a 1/2 acre in an urban area in CA for a half million).

WHY did I get the "credit" and the home? For the reasons you and I state. You need "credit" to show up on the reports, and rents are now so high that I could buy a home for the same amount, and the home is expensive due to the credit spiral.

BTW, in a good market with a good home, you can probably get a home in the US as well for 20% down without credit. The feeling is that the home could always be sold for enough to cancel out the debt, AND you have a LOT to lose if you let that happen. Some banks might do that even today if you are also willing to pay a higher interest rate. It is not unusual for a bank today to charge almost another 2%(almost 30% more interest) just for a "low doc" loan.
Posted by SK @ 09/01/2002 04:55 AM PST [link to this comment]

Here I am, in the complete opposite situation; I've got banks falling over themselves to lend me money. I have a car which, thanks to losing my job, I managed to pay off with the pay-out. Losing my job gave me a good credit rating. Meanwhile, I had pumped all my remaining money into my fairly small mortgage. 1 mortgage = fantastic credit. Now we are buying a bigger house, the banks are falling over themselves to lend us money. Want $600,000? sure! You won't be able to pay us back, but we'll lend it to you anyway! We had to restrain ourselves from accepting the handouts they were offering. Egads!
Posted by Neale @ 09/01/2002 11:42 PM PST [link to this comment]

I thought this was the way every good cypherpunk wants the world to work. The bank doesn't know anyone who trusts you, so why should they trust you? Think of your credit as a PGP key. If nobody has signed your PGP key, nobody will trust you. But if A trusts B, and B signed your PGP key, A will trust you. Translate that to the credit industry. A is the bank and B is the credit reporting agency. You are the guy with the unsigned PGP key. You have to get out there and hustle a little to gain some credibility.
Posted by jwb @ 09/02/2002 11:32 AM PST [link to this comment]

Wow, interesting that there are so many comments. Thank you Peter for your post. I had the exact same problem when buying my house. I've always been afraid of falling into the credit card trap so I've never gotten one. Fortunately for me I was not buying the house alone. The whole getting a loan occasionally just to build credit thing seems inherently ludicrous but probably is a good idea for me.
Posted by tish @ 09/03/2002 08:52 AM PST [link to this comment]


I bought my house here in Las Vegas about 15 months ago. I didn't have any credit, but was able to establish 'alternative credit':

1) bills payed on time such as my hosting bill, electric bill, rent, etc.

2) same job description (though not the same job) for over three years, with a salary history.

3) no debt.

4) ante up more $$$ for the down payment (though not 20%).

Finally, all this worked because I was a first-time home buyer, and it was an FHA loan.
Posted by Michael Bernstein @ 09/04/2002 06:53 PM PST [link to this comment]

After doing a little research, it seems that Oakland is particularly difficult city in which to arrange a home loan. Because of various issues that impact on local real estate possesson, financial and credit standing can undergo stricter and more complex scrutiny in some communities than in others. There is no doubt in my mind, however, about your ability to meet these qualifications by following conventional procedures. It may take an unusually knowledgable, persistent and creative loan broker, however, to help make it happen sooner than later.
Posted by BJMe @ 09/06/2002 11:06 AM PST [link to this comment]

Wow, what a stream of comments this has provoked. I am actually somewhat relieved that you, peterme, paragon of financial stability that you are, and I have this in common. I grew up with the idea of not spending more than I had. Credit, all seemed like legalized gambling to me. I also didn't like being told that I *needed* to own a credit card. They weren't even invented 'til the '60s and people managed to secure loans and rent cars before that. So when I went to college and started being offered credit cards left and right, I didn't sign up. Now that I've changed my mind about the whole thing, I can't get a card.

I relieves me that I'm not the only one with credit history (as in "no credit history") problems.
Posted by Spidra Webster @ 09/13/2002 02:19 AM PST [link to this comment]

Wow, what a stream of comments this has provoked. I am actually somewhat relieved that you, peterme, paragon of financial stability that you are, and I have this in common. I grew up with the idea of not spending more than I had. Credit, all seemed like legalized gambling to me. I also didn't like being told that I *needed* to own a credit card. They weren't even invented 'til the '60s and people managed to secure loans and rent cars before that. So when I went to college and started being offered credit cards left and right, I didn't sign up. Now that I've changed my mind about the whole thing, I can't get a card.

It relieves me that I'm not the only one with credit history (as in "no credit history") problems.
Posted by Spidra Webster @ 09/13/2002 02:19 AM PST [link to this comment]

hey peter, what means might that be (excerpt below)? i'm in your same shoes.
thanks, chris

(Well, he will eventually, but only after I game the system through a means that my loan officer informed me.)
Posted by chris borden @ 10/28/2002 07:57 AM PST [link to this comment]

hey peter, what means might that be (excerpt below)? i'm in your same shoes.
thanks, chris

(Well, he will eventually, but only after I game the system through a means that my loan officer informed me.)
Posted by chris borden @ 10/28/2002 07:58 AM PST [link to this comment]

hey peter, what means might that be (excerpt below)? i'm in your same shoes.
thanks, chris

(Well, he will eventually, but only after I game the system through a means that my loan officer informed me.)
Posted by chris borden @ 10/28/2002 07:59 AM PST [link to this comment]

hey peter, what means might that be (excerpt below)? i'm in your same shoes.
thanks, chris

(Well, he will eventually, but only after I game the system through a means that my loan officer informed me.)
Posted by chris borden @ 10/28/2002 08:00 AM PST [link to this comment]

hey peter, what means might that be (excerpt below)? i'm in your same shoes.
thanks, chris

(Well, he will eventually, but only after I game the system through a means that my loan officer informed me.)
Posted by chris borden @ 10/28/2002 08:01 AM PST [link to this comment]

Here is a list of
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Posted by zip code @ 11/07/2002 04:18 PM PST [link to this comment]

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