Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

The Rent is Too Damn High in Washington, DC. How the Hell are People Affording It?

A few years ago, the Washington Post dropped a story that still makes the rounds on the internets even today about just how much it costs to live comfortably in the District of Columbia. Their suggestion: Roughly $108,000 per year. This was their household “happiness” estimate. According to that same article, DC has the third most number of households making over $150k a year in cities with a population over 500,000. To further the “we rich, bitch” pathos, apparently Maryland has the most millionaires per capita in the nation, Virginia ranks number 6 on that list, and Washington, DC, ranks 10th.

The entire point of that first paragraph was to illustrate how “rich” the DC area is to people who don’t live here. For people that do live here, most of that is old hat, old news, and it’s made ever more clear by the amount of new construction happening in our nation’s capital and the insane costs for apartments in DC. According to RentJungle.com, in April 2017, the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in DC is $2,081, and the average price for a two-bedroom apartment in DC is $2,741. In summation, if you live in DC and are renting an apartment, you better literally think that you’re Big Meech or Larry Hoover, because you will be blowin’ money fast.

According to another Washington Post article, based on U.S. Census data, the average median household income in Washington, DC, in 2015 (I’m assuming this is the latest data available that’s been parsed) was $75,628. The average national median was $56,500. But that’s a household. So how does personal/individual income fare? Glad you asked. According to BizJournals, in 2012 (I know, it’s old as fuck at this point), the average per capita income in DC was $74,733 (before taxes, etc.). I think we can only assume this number has gone up. Not too shabby since the national per capita income average back then, when you didn’t want me, was around $43k.

DC, again, is rich as fuck. Though we do also have a hefty poverty rate, and people who live along the stops of Metro’s Green Line, also known as the Soul Train, have the lowest household income in the area. Clearly everybody ain’t rich, which should come as no surprise to anybody.

Let’s switch gears for a minute. I live in southeast D.C., east of the river (DC code for Black and less well off) in a neighborhood called Congress Heights. I live in the poorest of the city’s eight wards (I live in Ward 8), and all of the TWO grocery stores located east of the river (the Anacostia River if you’re asking), are located within a mile of my home. It’s a high crime, high poverty area, and doubles as the city’s most affordable housing market. For now. Since I bought my house in 2012, my value has increased as you-know-who comes looking for affordable housing.

As a point of contrast, in 2012 (this is about to get real personal), I paid $299,900, for a three story, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, roughly 2k (a lot for DC) square feet, new construction townhouse in the city’s poorest area. Let that sink in. Ask anybody in DC, and they’ll tell you that’s cheap. My daughter goes to a private school in Alexandria, Virginia. On our drive in in the mornings I always take note of the houses that are for sale. I couldn’t afford any of them if I wanted to, but I like to see what housing prices look in general.

There is a house for sale along the route to her school that is going for $674,900, that has 816 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, that was built in 1956, and according to the pictures, the only upgrades to the entire house SINCE then are the kitchen, because you cannot demand that kind of money without a new kitchen. That house was more than TWICE the price of my house with less than half the space. But location, location, location. Assuming a 20 percent downpayment of $135k (who the fuck has that just sitting around), the mortgage on that house would be about $3,400/month, MORE THAN DOUBLE my mortgage.

On my way home from work everyday, I drive by Nationals Park, the home of our Major League Baseball team, the Washington Nationals, in the Navy Yards area and neighborhood. This area used to be terrible and now includes a destination in the city, Yards Park. Yards Park is surrounded, now, by SEVERAL high-end new apartment buildings, similar to those popping up all over DC. One of these new buildings is called Dock79, located literally across the street from Nationals Park.

As I watched Dock79 be built, I wondered just how much would it cost for a one- or two-bedroom apartment in such a location with such nice views. Keep in mind, this building is LITERALLY across the bridge that separates most of DC from the “east of the river” DC. I can see my daughter’s old charter school from this building and that school was in what felt like a war zone at times. It’s as close as you can get to the water without swimming in it. The most inexpensive unit is a studio with 500+ square feet going for $1,875 (more than my actual mortgage). The most expensive, at least according to the site, is about $4,100, for a 2BR/2BA with 1200+ square feet. This is more per month than the tiny house for sale in Alexandria, which doesn’t even have the best school system in the area. Bang for the buck, eh?

I checked rental costs for several other buildings in the area, especially those located adjacent to Yards Park and the costs varied but were largely similar. To live in DC, you’re paying out the ass.

Let’s do some income breakdowns because this is ultimately where the rubber meets the road. Let’s assume that we’re talking about a person who makes the DC area average per capita income, which in 2012 was about $74k. We’ll plus that up to account for inflation since then, so let’s say the average income is around $80k. I’m assuming, here, that we’re going to talk about a single person with no children since I’m guessing most people in this city with kids are moving out to the burbs leaving it to the rich people with kids where they paid $700k for a house and there is a stay at home parent, which, is insane.

Anyway, the take home pay on an $80k annual salary or $6,666 gross per month. is say, $4k NET per month (after accounting for taxes, benefits – assuming you pay them – and social security, plus some retirement). According to LendKey.com, here’s the rule of thumb on housing:

The general recommendation is to spend about 30% of your gross monthly income (before taxes) on rent. Therefore, if you’ll be making $4,000 per month, then your rent should be $4,000 x 0.3, or about $1,200. Another way to calculate this number is to divide your annual income by 40.

However, if you’re a college senior with student loans, you will want to factor your student loan payments into your calculations. The 30% rule doesn’t really account for a high debt load. Instead, consider using the 43% rule, which is borrowed from the mortgage lending world. With this rule, your monthly housing cost plus all monthly debt payments should not exceed 43% of your monthly income. If your student loan payments are very high, this might not leave much money left for rent.

So it’s recommended (by people that recommend shit) that you spend roughly $2,000 to $2,866 on housing, respectively, according to those figures. Hmmmm. We already know that the average one bedroom is over $2k, so you’re SO straight, right?! Wrong. Your net is looking at your gross like it’s stupid because who takes home their gross? After accounting for for (again) taxes, benefits – assuming you pay them – and social security, plus some retirement, your NET is (again) $4k per month. There’s a good chance that you’re going to end up paying more than half of your ACTUAL take home on housing. Now let’s assume that you have a roommate which would be helpful…on average.

If the average 2BR is almost $2,800, then you’re in much better shape. Except, $80k is the AVERAGE. Which means you have many people, especially young upstarts moving to DC in their early 20s making way less than that. It’s probably offset by lawyers coming into the city to work in lobbying jobs who are making way more than that but are also likely to not be living with anybody else because they don’t have to. And since most of those “affordable” 2BR apartments for less are probably in less than desirable locations in the city, I’d wager most people are finding ways to pay more to live in areas they’re happy with.

Of course, this also assumes that your only expense is housing. What if you have credit card debt, car loans, student loans, etc.? In a city full of so many working professionals and government employees – who get paid better than one might think, but are absolutely not raking in millions per year in salary – and non-governmental organization employees, and non-profits, how in the hell do people who make less than the average afford to live here? I mean, there’s only so many years you can reasonably live with somebody else in a roommate situation.

I look at these super expensive houses and these irrationally expensive apartments that somehow manage to get tenants and I wonder just who in the fuck lives in DC? What jobs are they taking? Are these all lawyers? OR are they already rich kids coming into DC to get some Capitol Hill experience and pad the political resume before they go back home to run for office and take over the family business? Do their parents have THAT much money?

I’ve been at my current job for well over 10 years. My salary is comfortable as hell and if I didn’t have any children or debt, I could easily afford one of those one bedroom apartments and not stress TOO much about the cost. But again, I’ve been at my job for more than a decade. My salary at this point has more than doubled and because of the nature of my job and because I had a Master’s degree when I started, my salary was significantly higher than I’d wager most folks coming to DC with a Bachelor’s degree.

Does everybody have a roommate? Is everybody rich? Is everybody rich and white? Who the fuck lives in DC right now? How is a city full of government workers and millennials trying to make a difference also full of apartments costed at a rate that would offend people who live in other places not named San Fran, LA, or NYC.

Just who the fuck lives in DC?

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Spicy Kas

    First

    • Lmao!

    • tgtaggie

      this is the first time I’ve seen a person claiming “first” on this site in a few yrs lol. Liz used to delete it with quickness. Lol

      • Spicy Kas

        Silly question, but why would she give a fuck?

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Q: “Silly question, but why would she give a fuck?”

          A: “To show who really had the juice”

          • Spicy Kas

            But last I checked Comment Section ran this bish, no?

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Liz retired from VSB before you got here.

              • Spicy Kas

                I know she predates my arrival. I’m just talking shid for fun.

    • you win 1 internet sir

  • GeeKayGee

    Government contract workers is where a lot of the money is in DC. People say lobbyists. There is truth in that. Many lobbyists are paid handsomely. But those well above 6-figure salaries are in government contract work. In Maryland, there are a LOT of super duper wealthy business owners.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      I can’t figure out where it is. And I have no idea how Glover Park and Cathedral Heights people make cash.

      • GeeKayGee

        I’m confused. Cannot figure out what is where?

        I think a good portion of it is government contract work. Working directly for the government is decent pay and benefits, but the salaries for government work is crazy high. In my revised reply, I think a sizable portion is also related to people living beyond their means, too.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Where are those job postings?

          What buildings are they working in?

          My offline professional people are mostly federales, ngo’s, techs, and lawyers.

          Contractors don’t seem to go to Oddissee shows, lol

          And Cleveland Park folks – “old wealth” DC – they can’t all be law firm partners… Or can they?

          • GeeKayGee

            Oh, you looking for the cheat code. lol

            I don’t have the answers. :(

            I lucked into mine.

            Old wealth, I think, is a small percentage of the people filling up these overpriced homes.

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              Trying to get in on that minority set aside…

              • GeeKayGee

                My guess is getting on DC listservs and listservs for your field. Maybe joining all these professional orgs here can give you an inside connect. There’s always Indeed, too. Basically, throw things til it sticks.

          • anon

            This area of the city is old and since it’s always been safe and quiet, a lot of people haven’t left the way you see in other parts of the city. Many people bought when it was much cheaper, albeit expensive for DC at the time. This area is also more international, lots of diplomats and others. The young law partners are gentrifying and driving up costs in other parts of the city.

    • Yahmo Bethere

      I’m in the govt contracting field. 100% agree.

    • Spicy Kas

      Not just DC as it relates to your edit.

      • GeeKayGee

        True, Suze Orman showed me how widespread this phenomenon is in this US. But DC and similar cities (LA, NYC, Miami to a degree) have a city/metro-wide culture around showing off.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      They are. I thought about it for 2.5 seconds but the thought of housing and private school had me like nah bruh.

    • Wild Cougar

      Let them stunt their dumb behinds right into poverty

      • GeeKayGee

        Man, I have been around some truly wealthy people in my life. They stunt too, but it’s in a very different way.

        Best way to have a lot of money is to keep it and act like you don’t have much.

        • Wild Cougar

          If you’re not stunting with money you can afford to throw away, youre doing it wrong

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Hey Lady where have you been hiding?

            • Wild Cougar

              I told you last time. Lol. I’m working on my world takeover. It’s labor intensive

          • GeeKayGee

            Idk about that.

            Just because you can afford doesn’t mean you need or should buy it. That’s a conversation for another day, though.

            • Wild Cougar

              Didn’t say should but if you’re going to stunt, do it with disposable funds. I’m not the stunting type cuz zeroes in the account make me happy but everybody don’t roll like that.

              • GeeKayGee

                Gotcha.

                We are seeing eye to eye.

        • Spicy Kas

          The 6 figure, understated watch, has been known to give it away.

    • Giantstepp

      Facts about the Govt. contracting jobs. Thing is, most require security clearances where one has to be squeaky clean to pass. That eliminates a lot of people.

    • DOOM

      True indeed, I’m in the field as well and the stipulations
      (requirements) are often vast and/or strict but once you’re in the door,
      you’re OK given the circumstances. Consider this, for the individuals
      who do get clearance there are those who are granted clearance who often
      drop out of the running or hiring process due to how long of a wait it
      is just to obtain it (initially). Patience is a virtue for anyone who can afford to wait.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    The rent is too high everywhere but let’s talk about it. I have grievances.

    • Quirlygirly

      Rent too high, Property taxes is high too..They don’t want people to live

    • Maniajania

      I feel like people in DC love to say that. That’s not true. There’s actual data that shows DC is among the top five most expensive cities to live in. Not just rent, but food, car insurance, etc. It’s ridiculous. And people can’t keep making excuses for it because it may not affect them. There is also major income inequality here. It’s not good.

  • i was in your town last week for the people’s business, my bad for not hitting ya up.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    I have this convo at work every day. Just yesterday we were talking about apartments on Thomas Circle.

    I got a basement apartment in Congress Heights. Loving it.

    But non Mormon whites are getting off at my train stop. They aren’t Americorps either.

    If I end up moving toward Branch Avenue, I’ll have to buy a car.

    It’s not government, it’s not big law firms. Some of it is tech, the rest of it ? Contractors?

    I think it’s a bubble to be honest, and a lot of parked money from dark and possibly illegal pools (like NYC, like Miami…)

    • Yahmo Bethere

      *dead* at “non Mormon” and “Americorps”.

    • kingpinenut

      Lol @ non mormom whites

      • panamajackson

        Listen, he’s saying that because we have a lot of Mormons that live in SE, and particularly Congress Heights. There are a few houses in my…hmm…subdivision (?) that are occupied by Mormons.

        • kingpinenut

          Oh I know…if I wasn’t on a gaa!hdamb train I’d type a proper response.

          I grew up out west around Mormons…

        • Jennifer

          They built a church in SE and families have moved there in the past several years. I have a Mormon friend who lives with her husband around Eastern Market. I’ve gone to their Mormon picnics. The food is good and they are nice folks, but I’m always ready to run should someone ask me to join up, lol

  • You want the rent to go down in DC? Spread the government departments across the country. Ex: Have the Department of Agriculture in a place where they actually grow food like Iowa or Kansas.

    • she

      decentralize…I like it, but won’t those government officials start taking more advantage of taxpayer money with travel expenses?

    • Bah Debo

      They tried that already…It was called BRAC. Not sure if it’s technically still ongoing or complete, but I am pretty sure it was eventually a giant waste of money.

  • DCFem

    Please know that mommy and daddy are paying at least some of the rent for the “new” people. I see parents everywhere when a new building springs up in my DC suburb with their offspring having the nerve to complain about some of the spots their parents are willing to pay for.

    • she

      YUP! I know a girl with two apartments, one across from the staples center in DTLA and in the SOHO area of New York…aint never worked a day in her life

    • A coworker’s son’s girlfriend (mouthful…) is 24 ish, college graduate, working full-time…and her parents pay her rent. Even here in Minneapolis, prime near-downtown 1 bedroom is pushing $1,800/month.

      I’ve decided I blame the parents for the “millennials” who are difficult to work with. The parents seem to think that their 22 year old should come out of college living like the 50 year old parent.

      I’m here for all manner of moral support and may throw you a bone here and there, but I ain’t paying your rent.

      • Zil Nabu

        And that on time rent payment every month also sets up the “kid” to get an A1 mortgage when they decide to buy.

        • Bah Debo

          With assistance on down payment from said parents…which reduces payments making a larger house more affordable

          • Zil Nabu

            My grandma helped me with the down payment on my first house. It was only a few thousand but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her. It doesn’t take much to set up the kids really well in many parts of the country.

            • Bah Debo

              You’re right. That’s a big step up to be able to provide any assistance on a house down payment to anyone. That one down payment makes a big difference when comparing what type of payments you could be making for the same house.

              • Zil Nabu

                You know what makes the biggest difference in the monthly payment? The interest rate and property taxes. People were put out of their homes during the crash not because of principal, but because their interest rates went from 4% to 8% and their monthly payment exploded. Gentrification does it to people on the property taxes. A big increase can raise your monthly payment by hundreds of dollars.

  • Yahmo Bethere

    Govvie lawyer. I work and live in the city. I pay too much rent (which affects my savings rate); but the location is a quality of life feature. Multiple transportation mode commutes and tight transition times are stressful as f/k.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      The quality of life in northwest isn’t worth it to me. Not after living in Manhattan.

      • Yahmo Bethere

        ??
        It takes me 6 stops to get to work.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Takes me 9 from southeast. But I used to walk from 14th down. There isn’t enough good stuff in DC imo, to justify the rent.

          I need a cool set of bars and clubs, good restaurants, grocery store, park, gym, dry cleaner..etc

          For me, D.C. just doesn’t have that package.

          Let’s say I had 3k to spend on a U Street place.

          No more Liv, Bohemian caverns, just Marvin’s and Lounge of 3. Maybe Busboys and Poets.

    • D-Nice

      Do the people actually making the “comfortable lifestyle” salary in the DC area constantly complain about it? My sis lives in San Jose and she and her boyfriend rent a nice, but unspectacular apartment for $3100 per month. Visiting her, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many people making between 125k and 200k complaining that “it’s just not enough.” It is true that many people in that range cannot afford a house with the real estate prices out there. But, they can still have a “comfortable lifestyle” (decent pad, car, disposable income, some savings, etc.) Yet, they complain endlessly. I mean, I get it – you’re making good money, but aren’t getting ahead as much as you like and don’t own a home when you could easily own a home in all but a handful of cities. But, still, big picture. Their “struggle” isn’t THAT severe in the larger sense. [In all fairness, many know this, yet they do tend to present their situation as if they’re orphans from a war-torn country.]

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        I’ve made 6 figures in the big city. After taxes and rent, you can put cheese on the Whopper – but you can’t cash out.

        Like my man Medici was saying, unless you’re in something that can pay out 100% commission (scales big, or passive) – you’re just in a rat race.

      • Zil Nabu

        My friend group stays crying broke and no one is under $150k. There are levels to six figures.

        • Spicy Kas

          9 levels to be exact. 1, 2, and 3 a sneeze can put you right back to clipping coupons if you haven’t managed your money well.

          • Zil Nabu

            No lies told. And in those first 3 levels you’re just trying to figure out how to keep your money from the tax man only to realize that keeping it out of the IRS’s reach also keeps it out of your pockets for a long a$$ time.

        • she

          HAHA I know this to be true, my friends say I cry broke because in my mind I’m not rich unless I can afford to lose my job and maintain my current lifestyle.

        • I used to make “so much money” but I was a single mom with two kids and basically no tax liability. The amount of taxes I pay now is offensive. MN has offensive personal income taxes!

          I’m no longer that excited about crossing the threshold into 6 figures. ;-(

    • Wild Cougar

      Y’all pay a LOT of money and deal with a lot of bull to avoid getting behind a steering wheel and I’ll never understand it. I’d rather deal with car traffic than people traffic and metro shenanigans . I’ve done the numbers and it doesn’t add up for cost or time. But y’all can have it.

  • MsSula

    When I lived in Texas, I always had sticker shock when listening to my “DMV” friends talk about housing. My friends bought their house in Bethesda in 2006 for $300,000… while I was renting my nice 700 sq. 1 BR apartment on Westheimer with covered garage for $499. DMV housing is too d@mn high.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      Westheimer went up though.
      I wonder how much a single family is in Montrose?

      • MsSula

        True that there is inside or outside the Galleria. Montrose, the Heights, Greenway, Kirby, Medical Center, Rice etc… have higher prices. I don’t even think there are rentals in River Oaks. Lol.

        But the good thing is, due to pretty lenient zoning laws, Houston have great neighborhoods all over. If you don’t live in the aforementionned enclaves, you can still live in a nice, safe and vibrant neighborhood.

        Working in Oil&Gas, I moved around the Energy Corridor/Eldridge area. Apartments were nice and you could stay in your neighborhoods for all your needs.

        • KeciB

          This is good to know. We’re contemplating a move to Houston next year.

          • Valerie

            I plan on moving to the Medical Center.

            • KeciB

              Is that area up and coming? I haven’t been to Houston outside the airport, in 15 years.

              • Valerie

                I wish I can answer this but I can’t. I don’t have any children and biased to my high school.

    • kingpinenut

      It was bad in the 90s too

    • Spicy Kas

      Houston was the only place I rented where the rent was lower than my mortgage in Cali. NYC was always higher.

      • Valerie

        Well with all these startups and oil companies we are starting to feel the pressure lol

        • Spicy Kas

          I was there in 2005. I paid 1300 for a loft downtown.

          • Valerie

            Not anymore lol

    • Valerie

      1 BR apartment on Westheimer with covered garage for $499
      Not anymore. That’s in the $800 – $1,300 range now. Rent is increasing in Houston. I hate Westheimer btw.

      • MsSula

        You must be from the North side to hate Westheimer. Lol

        Yes, rent increased even before I left (5 years ago). People have been discovering the great secret that is Houston and there was an influx of folks. I think it’s still reasonable though. My sister and her husband were renting a 3BR house for $1300/month. Granted it was close to HWY 6 but it was a great neighborhood.

        • Valerie

          I’m from the southwest. All my friends live on Westheimer and it’s so darn busy. I would need peace and quiet lol

          • MissRosé

            That’s why I stay my happy a$$ in Friendswood, I’ll come visit yall and go back home to my “old” neighborhood. Seriously, we are the youngest on the block. We had an audience when we moved in.

            • Valerie

              An audience? How so?

              • MissRosé

                It’s a very “old” people neighborhood – we just look like we should be visiting parents. They’re also nosy :)

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              I-45 in the house! You can catch your boy at that Wal-Mart on El Dorado Blvd. Technically in the Whataburger.

              • MsSula

                Like I never went to the north side for fun at all. The day I was to meet a friend on Kuykendhal? I almost died looking for what I thought I heard. I worked on 290 and Beltway 8 for a minute and I knew nothing over there.

                • Valerie

                  There is nothing on the nawfside but men that will break your heart and change your life.

              • MissRosé

                Ayyeee!! I pass you on my way home everyday.

              • Looking4Treble

                El Dorado! You near Clear Lake? I used to live in Seabrook, and I was HATING LIFE driving on 45 North bound coming into town to the Galleria area every day. At least an hour each way on a good day.

                • MsSula

                  45 traffic will have you murder someone. Whew!

                  • Looking4Treble

                    You know it! I bet that the phrase “I’ll bust a cap in that a$$” came from one of the Gheto Boys after being caught in rush hour traffic on 45!!

      • MissRosé

        There’s levels to Westheimer though. Westheimer/Hwy 6 =/= Westheimer/Sage area.

        • Valerie

          Girl too busy for me. I get exhausted when I drive out there (introvert). My friends live in the Westheimer/Sage area. They think Sugar Land is far though lol

          • MsSula

            Sugar Land is a nice enclave as well. I think it’s far, but what do I know. Lol.

            My first apartment was on Westheimer and a street after Gessner, right next to Kroger. I liked it a lot.

            • Valerie

              They like to mess with me because there really isn’t much of a night life in Sugar Land.

          • MissRosé

            LMAO @ Sugarland is far. My best friend is moving to Richmond. I told her we will have to schedule vacation. I am not about that drive right na

            • MsSula

              Richmond is the other side of the world. Dude.

            • Looking4Treble

              Richmond is really growing, though. I’m looking to buy a house there in a few months. Hoping to take advantage of the appreciation of the area.

      • Looking4Treble

        I paid $1500 a month for a one bedroom with a garage on West Little York. Rent is higher than some might think in certain places in Houston. Get a low-rate mortgage if you can.

        • Valerie

          I think people think that because we’re in Texas that it is supposed to be cheap.

          • Looking4Treble

            Yep. Ain’t always the case.

  • Jennifer

    Barely.

    • Valerie

      Becky and Todd didn’t buy that townhome in Capitol Hill on their actress and program assistant salaries.Thanks for this. People are getting help.

      • Shortstack & Firecracker

        Yup! It is infuriating how Becky and em pretend like they didn’t get help. When I wanted to buy it was me, myself and I. I had to be creative with my hustle. My salary was low at the time so I qualified for the low-income down payment assistance program (I applied to every program, like it was my full-time job!) As I was nearing the end of the buying process, I began to apply for higher paying jobs. (Had gotten the job sooner, I would’ve had to turn in paystubs and possibly jeopardize my eligibility for the program….and that wasn’t happening!). My mortgage ended up being less than the amount of my rent. We just gotta keep sharing the knowledge and helping each other out!

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