Moved to Tower Grove East

Now that I was making a nice salary, it was time to pursue the American Dream and buy a house. But after years of poverty neither of us had good credit. I researched assistance programs that might help us secure a mortgage.

Ironically, I found a Federal loan guarantee to incentivize high earners to move into poorer neighborhoods. This was based on your current salary without regard for your earning history, and classified neighborhoods by census data that was then 9 years old. We found an affordable but spacious “fixer upper” in Tower Grove East, a neighborhood that was gentrifying quickly. The outdated census income data provided a loophole that allowed us to qualify.

With that one stroke of fortune and some careful management, I was able to quickly transition from a credit level of “pariah” to “outstanding citizen” quite quickly.

The primary feature of the house was a huge pin oak tree in the center of the back yard. It was two stories with a basement, and a detached garage on the alley that fit both Miatas. The increasingly hip neighborhood of South Grand and Tower Grove Park were a block away. The house didn’t need serious work except some rewarding DIY projects.