Acacia Lane

Inspired by the Family Spaces and Cubao projects, a family friend asked me to photograph a home she inherited but unfortunately will have to let go of soon. I wasn't quite sure if I could convey the emotions of a place I had never been to. So I asked questions and I listened to her stories while she showed me around.

"I was in tears," she wrote when I shared the images a few weeks later.

The ability to make a connection, to touch someone, is at the heart of why I make pictures. Thanks, M.

The Persuasive Mortgage Broker

As the media bombards us with the grim news on the economy, I am reminded of a phone conversation I had with a very persuasive mortgage broker four years ago. The mortgage company was partnered with the home builder and the salesperson we dealt with suggested that we check with them first before seeking other companies for financing. After we exchanged pleasantries, I inquired about applying for a loan with a 30 year fixed rate and a 25% down payment. We had done our homework and we knew exactly how much we could afford.

"Why would you want to do that?" the gentleman smugly replied to my request. I wasn't pleased with his tone. He sounded as if I did not know what I was talking about.

"It works for our situation." I replied. He ignored my request and began launching into a passionate explanation on the advantages of creative financing. "You don't have to put that much money down. Why would you want to do that when you can use the rest of the money to buy furniture?" He pushed for adjustable rate mortgages and clearly emphasized that as home values rose that we could refinance our loan. He definitely painted a rosy picture.

I was not buying it. Our salaries would not rise dramatically in the next several years so we knew that locking in a decent rate made the most sense. And, it was very important for us to be able to sleep at night and not worry about losing our home if the market conditions changed. The risk was not worth taking. I repeated myself and my request for the fixed rate mortgage. Again, he pretended not to hear me and made another attempt to change my mind. Exasperated, I cut him in mid-sentence and thanked him for his time.

As I hear and read the stories of homeowners who are in the brink of foreclosure or those who struggle to pay their mortgages by getting a second job, I am so thankful that we stood our ground and refused to go with the trend. Upon a friend's recommendation, we ended up with a mortgage broker who understood our concerns and processed the loan we wanted. Sometimes, it really pays to be prudent.