Activity and Handouts: Buying
the Fictional Account of Angelo Rodriguez
Recently, we bought a house in the town
of Malden, Massachusetts, about 20 minutes from Boston.
My wife, Maria, and I looked a long time for a home we could
afford near public transportation and good schools for our
daughter, Angela. I am very glad we took the time to search
thoroughly. Our new home is on a quiet street not too far
from Malden Center. We like the big kitchen even though
the bedrooms are small. In the spring, well plant
a garden in the backyard. My daughter already has a playmate
My wife Maria and I both came from the
Dominican Republic 11 years ago. We worked hard at two or
three jobs to save enough money for a home and other expenses
such as school. My wife and I now manage the Store 24 in
Malden Center. We have worked for the Store 24 as managers
and clerks for about six years. For 10 years we were living
in small apartments on or near Main Street with no yard
and near heavy traffic. We desperately wanted a safe place
for our daughter to play. We also wanted to have another
child someday. Before we started to look seriously, I made
sure that our credit was OK. We had only two outstanding
debts, a car and my college loan. We were first-time
home buyers in the market for our dream house.
We collected fliers and advertisements
of homes in the Malden area, where we wanted to live. For
about three months, we saw this house, the one we eventually
bought, listed in the paper. We drove by it every once in
a while to get a feel for the neighborhood, the traffic,
and the businesses. We looked into the prices of houses
in the surrounding neighborhoods so we could make a comparison,
and we went to open houses in the neighborhood almost every
Sunday. Finally, we realized that this was the house we
really wanted. The only problem was that the owners were
asking $125,000, much too high for us! We had about $10,000
in our savings account and could not afford to spend the
whole amount on the down payment and closing costs.
On Sunday morning the phone rang. It was
the realtor. My English is pretty good, but I thought I
was having a bad day when she told me, Your dream
house went down to $101,000. I couldnt believe
it! Maria and I packed up Angela and went to take another
look. We met the realtor there, and after spending a day
or so checking again to see what other homes in the area
were selling for, we decided to offer $100,000 for the house
of our dreams.
We submitted our offer to purchase with
a $750 deposit, and the owner accepted. This first payment
would go toward the down payment of $5,000. Before we made
the offer, however, Maria said to check the dates: 10 days
to get an inspection, 14 days to apply for a mortgage, 21
days from application to approval, and 7 days to closing.
The offer we made was in writing. We then found a home inspector
who was certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors
(ASHI) and recommended by a good friend. This inspection
cost us $200.
Then came the purchase and sale contract. Maria and I were
concerned about some of the details, so we hired a lawyer
to look over the contract and help us negotiate with the
sellers attorney. We negotiated with the lawyer to
pay him $500. We also wrote another check for $2,250 toward
the down payment.
Next we had to apply for a mortgage. We
called several lenders and asked if they had a special loan
for low-income or first-time homebuyers. We then decided
to go with the one that had the best mortgage for us. Our
mortgage lender asked many questions, keeping us there for
over two hours! We found out what the interest rate was
on that day and decided to lock in at that rate
because it was the most favorable. During the next two to
four weeks we kept calling them to make sure our application
was progressing. This made us very nervous, but we got through
Finally, we received our loan approval.
We read the letter through carefully and returned it to
the bank. Fortunately, we were able to receive a 5 percent
down payment and a soft-second mortgage, which reduced our
expenses. We were on our way!
We next had to buy fire and hazard insurance
for $700. We were given an insurance binder to take to closing.
We went to visit our new house one more time to check to
see that everything was all right before the closing. Maria
and I decided that things were OK. Two days before the closing,
the bank attorney listed what to write our final check for:
|Balance, 5% down payment
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
(We received a soft-second mortgage, a special program
for first-time home buyers that covers PMI costs.)
Writing that last check felt scary because
we were using up almost all of our savings. Thank goodness
we had dependable jobs. At the closing, we brought our certified
check for the final amount. Then we sat down and signed
so many forms, our fingers went numb. At last, the keys
were turned over to us and we could open the door to our
Reading Comprehension Questions by
1. What do Angelo and Maria think of their
2. Why do they want to buy a house of
3. What kind of work do they do? How long
have they been working?
4. What did Angelo do before he and Maria
started to look seriously for a house?
5. What is a first-time home buyer?
6. How did Angelo and Maria shop
for a house?
7. Why was the first price of $125,000
too high for them?
8. What was the amount Angelo and Maria
eventually offered? What did they do before they made the
9. How much did the house inspector charge?
How did they find the house inspector?
10. Why did Maria and Angelo hire a lawyer
to check the purchase and sale contract? How much was their
second check? How much had they paid already toward the
11. When they were looking for a mortgage,
what question did they ask?
12. When Angelo and Maria found a good
mortgage, they locked in the interest rate.
What does this term mean?
13. How much was their down payment?
14. How much did they pay for fire and
15. What does the term closing
Reading Comprehension Questions by
I. Put the following events of the home-buying
process in chronological order. Refer to the story if you
are not sure.
a. ___ save money for down payment
b. ___ receive keys
c. ___ look at houses/check neighborhoods
d. ___ make offer to purchase, along
with a deposit
e. ___ go to closing
f. ___ find house that you like
g. ___ get home inspection
h. ___ get mortgage
i. ___ collect fliers and ads for houses
j. ___ review purchase and sale contract
k. ___ buy homeowners insurance
l. ___ receive accepted offer from owner
m. ___ apply for mortgage
n. ___ do final check (walk-through)
o. ___ go to open houses
II. Vocabulary: word search. Find synonyms
for the following words from the reading:
|5. real estate agent
||13. without feeling
||14. given (find two
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