David: [00:00:00] Welcome to Home Ownership Stories. I’m David Boye. And I’ve got today with me Mendee.

Mendee: [00:00:05] Hello, David.

David: [00:00:07] Now, we closed on a home with you that you purchased in Montana. I believe it was like 2018.

Mendee: [00:00:12] That’s correct.

David: [00:00:13] Okay. But before that, you owned a home. So I wanted to go back a little bit and just talk about that. So you were in what, California?

Mendee: [00:00:20] I was in California.

David: [00:00:22] So tell us about your first home buying experience and then getting into Montana. And I’ll ask you a couple of questions when they come up.

Mendee: [00:00:29] Okay. So I was married and bought my first home in 2003 in Burbank, California. The house was well over $500,000. I was 23 years old. The interest rate was like 8%.

David: [00:00:43] You know what your interest rate was?

Mendee: [00:00:44] I do because I was like, Wow, that’s a good deal. It’s under 10.

David: [00:00:48] Nice, great, great. And that was 2003.

Mendee: [00:00:53] 2003, right, when everything started spiking and people were just, you know, inflation and getting loans everywhere. So I got the loan really easy due to probably wasn’t…

David: [00:01:04] They were all easy back then.

Mendee: [00:01:05] Yes. Yes. Yeah. I don’t know. But it wasn’t great for the mortgage companies. But I got a loan. I did it, I got the house, I sold it in less than seven months and purchased a house out here. And then I got a divorce.

David: [00:01:25] Oh, bummer.

Mendee: [00:01:26] Yeah. So I moved back to Texas with my mom and the kids, and he let the house go into foreclosure up here.

David: [00:01:35] Oh, no.

Mendee: [00:01:36] Yeah.

David: [00:01:36] So that was on your credit?

Mendee: [00:01:38] It was on my credit because I was married. Correct. So.

David: [00:01:42] Extremely discouraging thing to go through.

Mendee: [00:01:44] It is. It is. It’s a lot on your plate and your credit doesn’t look good and your foreclosure. So I never thought about buying another house, at least on my own.

David: [00:01:51] So what changed? When did you decide to re-consider buying a house? Because we met on the next house.

Mendee: [00:01:58] Yes, we did.

David: [00:01:59] So how did it change for you?

Mendee: [00:02:00] So 2018, I moved back up here to Montana. We have children together. So he lived in Missoula. So it was a good idea. I got a great job offer, moved up here. Even my boss found the house for me to rent. It was great. And then three months into moving into there, they’re like, We’re selling the house.

David: [00:02:17] Oh. Oops. So then what happened?

[00:02:21] Well, I don’t have a down payment. I have all this credit issues. I’m like, I don’t and there’s no place to move.

David: [00:02:27] Had we started talking?

Mendee: [00:02:28] Yes, I just called you.

David: [00:02:29] Okay. So when we first talked, were you immediately able to buy the house?

Mendee: [00:02:33] No.

David: [00:02:34] So then what happened?

Mendee: [00:02:35] I cried.

David: [00:02:38] I’m sorry.

Mendee: [00:02:39] And then I was like, okay, this is going to work. You came up with several different options. You introduced me to a credit guy who not only fixed my credit for the time being, but has done an amazing job keeping creditors away from me. And I got a really good I mean, it was 2018 think the price of the house was like $270k.

David: [00:03:01] Well, if I remember correctly, it was going to start creeping up.

Mendee: [00:03:04] It was.

David: [00:03:05] There were some pressure to try to hurry up, buy this house because you were worried that it was a good option for you, but you weren’t quite ready to buy because of the credit.

Mendee: [00:03:14] And I didn’t have a down payment. I didn’t know what else I could do right now.

David: [00:03:17] When you were having to get your credit fixed, that was probably annoying and frustrating even though you had a good guy to work with. It’s not fun to get the credit fixed.

Mendee: [00:03:27] No, it’s not. And it brings a lot of anxiety and a lot of like, is this worth it? If I just ignore it, it’s better.

David: [00:03:37] Like digging up things that you had hoped had gone away. They keep coming back and bothering you.

Mendee: [00:03:41] Yeah, exactly. Especially from a bad divorce or anything like that. You still have to kind of relive that part to to get it fixed.

David: [00:03:47] So I do remember we we had to take a run or two at it, and then we finally got it to close.

Mendee: [00:03:52] It did close.

David: [00:03:54] So looking back, it’s 2023 now. Are you glad you did all that work?

Mendee: [00:03:59] My house is tripled in price.

David: [00:04:01] Wow. So now when you did it back in 2018, did you think it was going to triple in price that quickly?

Mendee: [00:04:08] No. And actually, at that point, we had it was like a 5.7% interest rate and then we refinanced when…

David: [00:04:17] Because the rates went down. Yeah. So what we had to do to get you into the house, it ended up getting a little bit easier to deal with the house after you bought it.

Mendee: [00:04:25] Yeah. And then the interest rates dropped and I refinanced. I had great equity in it for you. And now it’s one of the homes that I own.

David: [00:04:34] One of the homes. So tell me about that. So what’s changed? So you you fought hard. You got your credit fixed. You bought a home in 2018. So you’re planting some roots in Montana. And then and then now you just said homes, plural. So what happened after we got that house?

Mendee: [00:04:50] That’s correct. So some of the equity that I had in the house from it going up and the interest rates being so low, I was able to rent that house out and I purchased 20 acres here in Whitefish.

David: [00:05:02] Wow.

Mendee: [00:05:03] wWith a much higher rate than it was when I refinanced from closing.

David: [00:05:08] Oh, yeah. Is that? So, was that a factor on whether you want to buy the second house or not?

Mendee: [00:05:14] It had nothing to do with it because you don’t keep the loan. I’ve never kept a loan for even the one on foreclosure. I never had a loan for 30 years.

David: [00:05:21] So you’re smart enough to know that because you’ve done a few things. So you now look at it more like, I want to get this home and I’m going to rework things over time.

Mendee: [00:05:29] I’ll make it happen especially with someone who can support me.

David: [00:05:32] So right now you own the house you bought in 2018 where you fought hard and got it. And now that’s a rental.

Mendee: [00:05:38] That’s a rental.

David: [00:05:39] And then you have a home on 20 acres, you said. And then I think when we were chatting just before we got started, you said maybe you’re not done buying real estate.

Mendee: [00:05:49] I’m not done.

David: [00:05:50] So what’s what’s on the horizon?

Mendee: [00:05:52] Well, hopefully I’ll get to do my dream. Dream home. I’m not quite ready to retire yet.

David: [00:05:57] Describe the dream home for us.

Mendee: [00:05:59] Oh, I would like not 20 acres. That’s a lot. Some would bring it down a little bit. I would be happy with five acres. Personal home, 5000 square foot house.

David: [00:06:10] In Montana?

Mendee: [00:06:10] In Montana.

David: [00:06:11] Okay, so you’re living here, working here. You made a tough decision to fix your credit in 2018, but from what I heard, you said you ended up providing you a lot of equity, which helped you make a jump to a bigger property.

Mendee: [00:06:25] It really did. And even when I thought the interest rate was high, it’s still it all fell down and it comes up. It goes down. But if I would have never invested, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

David: [00:06:36] So do what you can do to acquire what you want to acquire.

Mendee: [00:06:40] I’m paying money over time. Wait for me either paying somebody else’s mortgage or going to pay my mortgage, because that’s what that person who’s in my house now, she pays my mortgage.

David: [00:06:48] Yeah, Sometimes I like to refer to it as there’s a chessboard and you want more pieces and you can move them around. You can get things to happen.

Mendee: [00:06:55] And it really does. And if something happens, whatever, you still have all the equity. You have a piece of land that most people don’t have that you can either borrow against it to do better things or keep it for your children. I mean, it’s it’s harder and harder to get there. But if you have a mortgage company that’s willing to work with you, a credit company who’s willing to go in there and fight the fight for you, you just have to show up.

David: [00:07:17] So you’ve recovered from a divorce and a foreclosure. And now you got two properties in your eyeing more property in the future. So things have really turned around.

Mendee: [00:07:28] They really have.

David: [00:07:29] Any words of encouragement for Peters 2023? Some people have never bought a home before and they’ve heard about things like what you’ve done and they’re like, Well, yeah, that would have been easy if I could have done it the way Mendee did. What do you have to say to those people?

Mendee: [00:07:43] Nothing’s ever easy. Nothing’s ever easy. Buying a house isn’t easy. Relationships aren’t easy, friendships aren’t easy. Nothing is easy. But the more work you put into it, the more that you desire it, the better it becomes for you.

David: [00:07:57] Wow, that is great advice. Thank you, Mendee, for sharing your story.

Mendee: [00:08:01] Thank you, Dave. Thank you for the opportunity.