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'Buying First Home'

May 19, 1991

I take exception to the article by Ellen James Martin of the Baltimore Sun ("Buying First Home Takes Sacrifices," April 14). Unlike the renters that Martin alludes to, I do not own an expensive car (I drive a 10-year-old economy model), I don't take vacations (costly or otherwise), I don't eat out at restaurants and I don't give (or attend) parties.

I make all the sacrifices she accuses renters of not making, and I still do not have the down payment necessary to achieve the American dream of owning my own home. By the time I have sacrificed enough to buy a home at today's prices, inflation will have pushed the dream out of reach once again.

Martin implies that renters spend their money frivolously and that that's why they can't save enough to buy their own home. She shouldn't make such sweeping generalizations. Most renters rent because they lack even the 3% down payment required for FHA loans, not because they want to afford expensive cars and expeditions through sub-Saharan Africa.

And it's not just the down payment one must come up with, you also need about 3% closing costs. And don't forget about paying the movers, and the costs involved in switching utilities and the phone company. And you need to have the equivalent of at least two months' mortgage payments left in your savings account.

Perhaps forgoing a two-week cruise around the Caribbean makes the difference between owning or renting in Baltimore. It doesn't in Los Angeles.

ROBIN CALLOT

North Hollywood

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