40 Reasons You Still Don't Own a Home

I've compiled a list of 40 reasons, from online comments I've received and what I've learned in conversations with prospective buyers and renters. The reasons fall into two main categories: Life Circumstances which are outside your control (12) and Personal Choices (28) which you can control.

Personal choices outweigh Life Circumstances more than two-to-one, which tells me the outcome could be different for many... if difference choices were made. If you truly want to buy a house you may want to consider new choices.


1. You have medical bill debt: Unless it's elective cosmetic surgery, medical expense is unavoidable.

2. You've had periods of unemployment or layoffs.

3. You've co-signed on another's loan, then they defaulted: You co-sign to help someone then find yourself 100% responsible for repaying the loan.

4. You've had one or more car accidents: Sometimes not everything is covered by insurance.

5. You've experienced the loss of the family breadwinner: Unless you have an emergency fund, for whatever reason much or all of your household income is lost.

6. You've had a messy divorce: Not counting the legal expenses, two households create an extra financial burden that can deplete savings.

7. You'e experienced the death of a spouse: As a result there us not only income loss, but also extra bills: medical, funeral,

8. You are, or you've been, responsible for the long-term care of a parent or an unwell or special needs child: The responsibility can keep you out of the job market and drain savings.

9. The property taxes + home owner's insurance add another $280 - $350 a month to the mortgage payment, which may not have been anticipated.

10. The cost of utilities to run a home, that were once included with rent payments, are now added to the mortgage payment ($250+) making the purchase prohibitive.

11. The closing costs (transfer tax, lawyer fee, tax adjustments) can be prohibitive if they are not planned for, even if there's no down payment required.

12. You've had an inability to reach a better pay scale. Training or education may not be available or affordable, keeping you bound to a lower-paying job.


1. Experiencing a loss of money to crooks and your reluctance to go after it.

2. Incurring student loan debt that could have been avoided by saving up first or working while studying.

3. Being unwilling to supplement your income with a second job.

4. Being unwilling to consider self-employment in addition to full-time employment.

5. Having the mistaken belief that only men should work, not women, thus depriving your family of a second income that could provide a home faster.

6. Going out to eat several times a week rather than saving that money for a down payment.

7. Paying for tattoos and piercings rather than investing that money in the future.

8. Getting hair colored and styled at salons regularly instead of paying off debt or saving.

9. Having your nails done in salons (mani + pedi) instead of doing it yourself at home.

10. Buying late model cars and having car loan debt equal to half your take home pay instead of buying a "beater" with cash and saving for a down payment and closing costs on a home.

11. Staying home to have children right after college instead of working to repay student loan debt.

12. Taking expensive vacations instead of having stay-cations until a down payment is saved.

13. Having addiction to shopping and frivolous spending instead of making do with what you have.

14. Having an addiction to cigarettes which, if you smoke a pack a day, costs $2,500 a year or half a $5,000 down payment.

15. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis could cost the same as smoking or the other half of a $5,000 down payment.

16. Owning an extensive collection of DVDs and movies. (I once interviewed a possible housemate who couldn't pay the rent but he had a collection of 250 DVDs. At $10 a disk, he had paid $2500 which is equal to 5 months rent.

17. Paying $200 a month for cable TV and all the premium channels. At the end of a year, that's another $2500 including taxes.

18. Buying expensive ($600) cell phones + service instead of a cheap Tracfone at $99 a year.

19. Volunteering full-time instead of getting a paying job. Volunteering is a good thing, but not when it deprives you of a home if that's your ultimate goal.

20. Purchasing things – expensive clothes, jewelry, toys, and electronic games – instead of investing in a home and building equity.

21. Insisting on an expensive wedding, reception and honeymoon instead of eloping. Some weddings cost the equivalent of a modest house.

22. Not having knowledge of, or refusing to learn how the how buying process works to become an educated consumer.

23. Maintaining a low credit score because your debt ratio is too high and you rely on credit card usage too much instead of cash.

24. Being unwilling to reveal your complete financial picture to those who could help you finance the purchase of a home.

25. Being unwilling to do free work for the seller in lieu of a down payment.

26. Being unwilling to consider taking in a boarder to defray costs of home ownership.

27. Being unwilling to commit to live in one place permanently.

28. Being unwilling to look into programs set up for first-time home buyers.

If any of the Personal Choices listed apply to you, and you want to own a house, highlight those choices you are willing to change, starting today.
Copyright 2016, Andrea Reynolds, PO Box 9124, Erie PA 16506. (814) 520-5548, All rights are reserved. Ask about reprints and licensing.
Be my patron for as little as $1 a month. Send your comments and future blog post requests to Andrea Reynolds, crisiswriter@gmail.com

$10,000 Reward: Will You Claim it?

On Saturday morning, July 16, the price on my 3 bedroom, Erie PA Cape Cod style house will return to US $115,000... from the much-too-low $89,000.

Anyone – agent or not – who refers a buyer to me whose offer of $115,000 or better is acceptable to me and successfully closes, will receive US $10,000 from me (check) shortly after the closing.

I will do the showing and negotiating. You get a reward – a finders fee – simply for the referral (not a lead).

IMPORTANT: You must tell me the name of the person who you are about to refer to me – before they contact me – so there is no question about who deserves the $10K reward. It's simply a safeguard so the right person receives the reward. Email: crisiswriter@gmail.com

What's included (see below photo):

3518 Post Avenue, Erie PA 16508. All details: www.BitangoHouse.com

Included in the $115,000 price:
  • Lennox gas furnace
  • Bradford White gas water heater
  • Lennox central air conditioner
  • Dish satellite dish
  • Garbage disposer
  • Frigidaire dishwasher
  • Whirlpool gas range
  • Broan range hood
  • Frigidaire refrigerator
  • Igloo upright freezer
  • Haier European size clothes washer
  • Haier European size clothes dryer
  • GE dehumidifier
  • Everstar window AC unit (5,000 BTU) for second floor
  • Craftsman self-propelled lawnmower
  • NordicTrack treadmill
  • Ethan Allen Mahogany china cabinet, 2 piece, with glass shelves and light
  • Storage shed: 8' x 7.5' (Lowe's current price is more than $2,200)
  • 3 Rain barrels + 3 hoses
  • Extra wall paint for touchups
  • Extra kitchen cabinet pieces
  • Extra replacement tiles for kitchen and bath
  • Extra shelves for closets
  • Smoke and CO detectors
  • Sheer curtain panels (14)
  • Blackout drapery panels (8)
  • Drapery rods (4)
  • Curtain rods (8)
  • Solar path lights (8)
  • Shower curtain and rod
  • Closet clothes rods
  • Survey of the property showing boundaries.
  • All appliance use-care manuals

Copyright 2016, Andrea Reynolds, PO Box 9124, Erie PA 16506. (814) 520-5548, All rights are reserved. Ask about reprints and licensing.
Be my patron for as little as $1 a month. Send your comments and future blog post requests to Andrea Reynolds, crisiswriter@gmail.com

6 Ways I Use Finders Fees in Business

© Andrea Reynolds Adapted from a newsletter article I wrote in 1984.

Are you turning away opportunities to earn additional income or benefits? Well, stop that.

One way to generate business is to offer finders fees.

If you're a consultant or professional, or own a business, and you have many business contacts, why not let those contacts earn rewards for helping you increase your business income? So long as there are no conflicts of interest and you're not violating your profession's code of ethics, you can generate goodwill by helping others increase their income as they help you increase yours.

For example, I'm looking to return to the world of public speaking again after a long absence. I'm willing to pay anyone 10%, 15% or 20% of my future speaking fees, depending on the degree of your involvement. (Higher fees for greater involvement.) If you're a member of organizations or a corporation and in a position to refer speakers, this could be lucrative for you.

If I'm offered a $2,500 speaking fee as the direct result of your referral (not a lead), and you actively promote me to the hiring committee or chairperson, You could earn $250, $375 or $500. And if I book another speaking engagement or private consultation as a result of that event, you'll receive an additional finders fee. As my fees increase so can yours... all for making one successful referral.

I've had nice people say, "No, I don't need compensation." But I learned something years ago from an expert on how to stop underearning, Jerrold Mundis,
"Don't say no to money." Why work for free? Karma is nice... but it doesn't pay the bills.

Finders fees are a small price to pay to have someone bring you a corporate account, a speaking engagement, or include you on a team for a large project that results in additional in income for you.
Giving finders fees creates goodwill in your community.


1. Here's my first experience with finders fees. Decades ago I gave a colleague a $70 reward for helping me land a short $700 speaking engagement with a prestigious company. He had already successfully negotiated a contract with the company and had the presence of mind to ask if they needed more speakers for their event. When they said yes, he handed them my brochure. That's all, but it got him 10% of my fee.

2. I gave finders fees to clients who brought me new clients.

3. I received a free photography session for bringing the photographer 5 of my clients.

4. I received a free hair cut after referring 4 continuing clients to a hair stylist.

5. I discount my fees to other consultants who invite me onto their client projects. Then they bill me out at full price, making a profit.

6. When I didn't have time to take on a new client or the work was outside my competency, I deferred the project to colleagues, and sometimes, even competitors, who agree to pay me a finders fee.

For a free tip sheet on how to structure finders fees arrangements to increase your income,
send me your email address and I'll send you a PDF. It won't be spontaneous.

Copyright 2016, Andrea Reynolds, PO Box 9124, Erie PA 16506. (814) 520-5548, All rights are reserved. Ask about reprints and licensing.
Be my patron for as little as $1 a month. Send your comments and future blog post requests to Andrea Reynolds, crisiswriter@gmail.com

22 Things I've Done to Sell My House

To attract house buyers to my 3-bedroom, Post Avenue, Cape Cod home in southwest Erie PA – www.BitangoHouse.com – I have:


1. Beautified the house by adding landscaping, painting the front porch and steps,
2. Fixed the basement rain seepage by adding 3 rain barrels outside to divert water,
Installed new appliances: dishwasher, gas range, refrigerator, range hood,
4. Added central air conditioning,
5. Gutted and renovated the second floor,
6. Built an 8’ x 7.5’ storage shed in the side yard,
7. Retained the services of 3 consecutive real estate agents (Fail),
8. Reduced the price from $121,000 to below what I paid 5 years ago before additions and renovations: $99,000 (Fail),
9. Advertised the house For Sale By Owner (FSBO),
10. Promoted a home giveaway essay contest: 10 sentence “essay” + $10 entry fee that would give all non-winning entrants $20 worth of my books (Fail),
11. Promoted a second home giveaway essay contest to businesses: 3 sentences + $1,000 entry fee that would give all non-winning entrants $2,000 worth of my marketing services or lectures (Fail),
12. Promoted a third home giveaway contest: 3 sentences and no entry fee and I would raise $150,000 by working to compensate me for the house (Fail),
13. Included dehumidifier, upright freezer, NordicTrack treadmill in the $115,000,
14. Buried a St. Joseph statue in the front yard,
15. Advertised to rent the second floor to one LECOM student (Fail),
16. Advertised to rent the whole house to LECOM students (Fail),
17. Offered seller financing with no down payment (Fail),
18. Offered an evening seminar to first-time buyers: Seller Financing: How you can afford to buy Andrea’s house even when banks say no, and make a legal offer (Fail),
19. Offered a $500 finders fee to any non-agent friend who sends me a buyer (Fail),
20. Offered a 3% commission to agents who referred a buyer with no involvement (Fail),
21. Reduced the price from $99,000 to $89,000 as a short test (July 6 until July 15 only). Cash sale or bank financing only, no agents, no commissions; letter showing pre-approval only.
22. Offered agents a $10,000 finders fee if they refer a buyer to me who closes successfully on the price of $115,000 or better (after July 15).

Copyright 2016, Andrea Reynolds, PO Box 9124, Erie PA 16506. (814) 520-5548, All rights are reserved. Ask about reprints and licensing.
Be my patron for as little as $1 a month. Send your comments and future blog post requests to Andrea Reynolds, crisiswriter@gmail.com

24 Potential Revenue Streams So Far

Don't expect your income to come from only one source. That's "putting all your eggs in one basket." Drop the basket and all the eggs break. To protect yourself diversify your income portfolio. In other words, create multiple streams of revenue.

After my father died I discovered he invested 100% of his money in the stock market, nothing else. Had he diversified, he would not have lost more than a million dollars (85% of his portfolio) when GM went bankrupt. The Lesson: Diversify.

I screwed up, too. I invested all my savings in two houses. I have no mortgages, but I haven't been able to sell or rent them either. Like father, like daughter.

So, as of today, I've given up trying to sell the houses. (They won't sell themselves; that's magical thinking.) For now I will stay where I am. Instead, I'm putting my efforts and energy into creating multiple passive income streams, no matter how small.

I thought you would like to see how I'm creating income for myself, starting from 'way below poverty level. Let's see where I am at the end of 2016.

Andrea's Revenue Streams
Keep in mind I'm only now starting over after full-time, unpaid parent care, estate administration (2008-2015) and full-time attempts to sell my house (2014-2016). You'll see I have a long way to go to begin to cover basic expenses on two houses... but I will.

CURRENT This is my total income for the first half of 2016:
Bank Interest: $9.00 ($1.50 per month)
Stock Dividends, 3 shares of Apple:
$3.33 ($1.65 average per quarter)
Canada Pension + Old Age Security Pension:
$1396.00 (Average US $349.00 per month)
Property Tax Rebate for Seniors:
$650.00 one-time per year.
LIHEAP one-time heating grant: $
$20.00 one-time fee.
Contents Sales:
$719.00 www.AndreasEstate.com Click here.
Book sales:
$228.54 www.BitangoBooks.com Click here.
Selling one-of-a-kind jewelry:
$37.00 www.GilliansGems.com Click here.

FUTURE I'll start work on these next; nothing yet:
Public speaking Click here.
Private consulting
Click here.
Classes, lectures and seminars in my home
Click here.
Guests at Authors Bed & Breakfast
Click here:
Click here.
Ghostwriting: www.BitangoBooks.com
Click here.
Voluntary Patrons:
Click here
Editing + proofreading: www.BitangoBooks.com
Click here.
Collecting from companies what I've "overpaid" them: www.RestitutionService.com
Click here
House for sale or rent: www.BitangoHouse.com
Click here
Amazon Affiliate: Not set up yet
Clickbank Affiliate: Not set up yet
Bluehost Affiliate: (web hosting) Not set up yet
Amazon Kindle sales: Not set up yet
Social Security benefits: Not eligible

Today's recommended resource: Start Your Own Personal Services or Concierge Business Buy it, read it, act on it.
Copyright 2016, Andrea Reynolds, PO Box 9124, Erie PA 16506. (814) 520-5548, All rights are reserved. Ask about reprints and licensing.
Be my patron for as little as $1 a month. Send your comments and future blog post requests to Andrea Reynolds, crisiswriter@gmail.com

9 Things to Know About Seller Financing

If you're selling your home FSBO (For Sale By Owner) and have a buyer who is not able to get conventional bank financing, and you’re willing to be creative and flexible… and take a risk, you can make whatever terms you want. As the seller, you become the bank.

This is the 3-bedroom house I have for sale. Make an offer!

Perhaps your buyer has too low a credit score to meet bank criteria, but has cash for a down payment and can make good-sized monthly payments. If they have steady employment that pays well you may consider offering them non-traditional terms. Everything is negotiable.

Risks: Some other risks to be aware of: The buyer is self-employed. The buyer is employed in a high-risk profession where his/her job could be cut. The buyer is in a dangerous profession: military, law enforcement, car racing. The buyer is a single parent who doesn’t work but receives alimony and child support. The buyer is older and on a fixed income. The buyer is a full-time student who also works. The buyer doesn’t work but has a trust fund or inheritance. The buyer won a big settlement or lottery windfall.

Purchase Price: As the seller you can make the purchase price whatever the two parties agree upon. If you’re selling FSBO you could lower the selling price somewhat since you won’t need to give a 5-6% commission to a real estate agent.

Chattel: As the seller you can raise the price by including appliances, furniture, furnishings, window treatments, additional buildings on the property, above-ground pool, vehicles, and even livestock, if you choose. Or you can ask for cash for these rather than have them included in the mortgage; or if the buyer doesn’t have much cash you can add these to the purchase price. You can also subtract items.

Down Payment: As the seller you can make the down payment any amount you want. You can lower the percentage from 20% to 10% to 5% to 3% or even 0%. A down payment doesn’t have to be cash, but could be a vehicle, a boat, an RV, artwork, or even a cabin in the woods… if you’re willing to trade. You can even require the buyer to perform services for you in lieu of cash. Of course the service must be legal. No "funny business."

Interest Rate: As the seller you can increase or decrease the mortgage percentage rate, but be careful of usury laws in your state. You cannot implement a rate of interest that is excessively high. For example: Pennsylvania caps the interest rate at 6%.

2016-05-30 17.20.11
This is my other house for sale. Feel free to make an offer.

Amortization Schedule: As the seller you can make the amortization 10 years, 15 years or 30 years if you wish. You may wish to go with 15 years with a balloon payment at the end of 2 or 3 years. By that time the buyer will have made 24 or 36 on-time payments with a lower amount to be mortgaged at the end and can then secure bank financing.

Other Terms: Both seller and buyer can negotiate the closing date, possession date, and almost anything you can think of. If a buyer is creative he/she may want to make multiple offers – high, low and middle – so that you can pick the one you prefer. Some buyers even include a letter to the seller explaining their intentions with the house.

Who keeps the title? Just as a bank would you, the seller, keep the title until the entire amount is paid off. If the buyer is able to get a conventional loan at the end of the 36 (or 24 or 48 months) you, the seller, relinquish the title to the bank when you’ve been paid in full at the closing.

What happens if the buyer defaults? If the buyer defaults on payments, you as the seller can foreclose on the buyer and take back the house. This requires legal assistance; you cannot do this alone unless you are a qualified attorney. Choose an honorable buyer and you won’t have to foreclose.

CANCELED DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST: Seminar, June 30, 6 PM www.BitangoHouse.com/class.html

OUTCOME: Failure. No potential buyers signed up for my class to learn how to buy a house with seller financing and how to write a proper offer. After a few discussions, no offers were received to buy or rent the house. I won't be offering the class again.

Today's recommended resource: Sell Your Mobile Home in Fewer Than 60 Days Buy it, Read it, Act on it.
Copyright 2016, Andrea Reynolds, PO Box 9124, Erie PA 16506. (814) 520-5548, All rights are reserved. Ask about reprints and licensing.
Be my patron for as little as $1 a month. Send your comments and future blog post requests to Andrea Reynolds, crisiswriter@gmail.com

4 Spinoffs from Selling My Mobile Home

© Andrea Reynolds, From the archives: July 29, 2010

Eight years ago, when I needed to sell my second mobile home and realtors were only complicating my life, I created
a website to advertise it myself. I found a domain name that clearly defined the site’s purpose. I’d already sold my first mobile home without a realtor in 6 days, so I had some credibility.

On the website I posted a long, bulleted description of my home, a list of contents I could include in the sale, a dozen color photos of the interior and exterior, a map of the area, directions to the front door, the price, and what it would cost to live there.


To add more content I posted other mobile homes for-sale-by-owner in my neighborhood for a small fee. If someone wanted to buy nearby, but didn’t want my home, I figured I’d help others who wanted to sell their mobile homes. Then I started receiving payments from mobile home owners in other states who wanted me to advertise their homes. Suddenly I was operating a business.

I discovered most sellers didn’t know how to market their homes as well as I did to entice buyers to make an offer. How could I help them? I created two digital products to sell: a
booklet of 120 tips I used to sell my first mobile home in 6 days, and a set of purchase agreement forms to sign when a verbal offer came in. People started buying them.

Once my home sold and I didn’t need the website, I decided to sell it. I held out a year for a reasonable price and received an offer for more than I expected. This turnkey operation included the right to sell my two digital products for the life of the website, but I kept affiliate and resell rights for myself. I won’t say what the selling price was, but it was enough to cover my truck payments for 18 months.

Do you have a no-longer-needed web site you could sell?

Comments? crisiswriter@gmail.com

Money blogger Andrea Reynolds took back the website she sold (BuyMyMobileHome.org) and is offering it for sale again along with licensing rights to her booklet, Sell Your Mobile Home in Fewer Than 60 Days. Make her an offer: crisiswriter@gmail.com

Want to republish/reprint this blog post? First let's talk about a licensing agreement. I'm a professional writer and I sell my writing.