why is it so hard to buy a house

Real Estate 101

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There’s a transcript of the comic at the bottom of the post for viewers using text only browswers.

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Script:

Every scene in the comic uses the same picture of a young, scrawny white hipster and a well dressed business man standing across from each other in a bland office. There’s nothing on the walls, and the only piece of furniture is a bland, wooden desk between them.

Man: How can I help you?

Hipster: I just turned 18, and my parents kicked me out of my home that I’ve lived my entire sheltered life in.

Man: So you need to rent an apartment then?

Hipster: I’d rather buy than rent. I’ve been saving all the money I made working at my high school job. You can run my credit check.

Man: That won’t be necessary. I can tell you right now that you can’t afford to buy property. Your only two choices in life are renting and dying homeless in the streets.

Hipster: Those are my only choices in life?

Man: Well, no. You could go to jail or join the military. Both are very popular choices for people like you.

Hipster: I guess I’ll rent. How much does that cost?

Man: It costs as much as possible.

Hipster: I can only afford $100 per month. What can I get for that?

Man: You can’t rent a parking spot in the city for $100 per month.

Hipster: So how do I survive?

Man: Not that anyone cares, but you could rent a room from someone who can’t afford their mortgage and has been forced to sub let.

Hipster: That sounds confusing. Which government office handles that?

Man: It doesn’t really work that way. You just have to look in the classifieds.

Hipster: What if I’m not good at this?

Man: Then you deserve to die in the streets.

Hipster: Well, I’d rather have my own place anyway so I can live by my own rules and establish my own space in the world. I don’t want to live with psychotic strangers. Isn’t there some kind of low cost government-owned young professionals dorms I can live in? I don’t need a space bigger or fancier than a prison cell.

Man: You mean like projects for white people? No, that doesn’t exist, and even if it did I’d sponsor a politician’s career and get him to privatize it.

Hipster: Why would a politician privatize a social service?

Man: Because he owes his career to me. Of course, he’ll tell the voters who think he represents them that I’ll be able to provide a better product at a cheaper price.

Hipster: Will you?

Man: Of course not! There’d be no point. I’d charge the highest price possible for the cheapest product.

Hipster: Why?

Man: Obviously, so I can keep as much money as possible for myself personally.

Hipster: Huh. I guess it’s a good thing the government doesn’t offer affordable housing to young professionals.

Man: Come to think of it, maybe I should get my representatives to have tax payers build those so they could privatize them and then sell them to me for pennies on the dollar….hmmmm.

Hipster: At least if you ran a slumy privatized young professionals dormitory then I’d be guaranteed to have a place to live.

Man: No, you’d still be in the same position you are today because I can’t get exorbitantly rich without charging exorbitant rent.

Hipster: But you won’t get any of my money if I can’t afford rent.

Man: But I’ll get more from the people who can pay. So the cost/benefit analysis adds up.

Hipster: I’ll just rent from someone else.

Man: Everyone charges as much as possible.

Hipster: What the hell? Is everyone evil?

Man: Most property owners have to take out a 30 year loan. So if you’re renting from someone you’re probably paying their mortgage. And the banks have set the interest rates, taxes and meaningless add-on fees for buying a house so high that everyone ends up paying twice what their property is worth in the current housing bubble.

Hipster: So since everyone got charged twice what their stuff was worth they have to charge twice what it’s worth when they sell or rent it.

Man: …to break even, but it’s standard procedure to try to make a profit.

Hipster: So the system is designed so that everybody has to shank their neighbours just to get by?

Man: See? It’s nothing personal. Your land lord’s not evil, just stupid.

Hipster: Now that that’s settled, you mentioned earlier that we always pay twice what a house is worth in the current housing bubble.

Man: If you take out a standard 30 year mortgage, yes.

Hipster: But what do you mean current housing bubble?

Man: Nothing costs as much as its worth. Everything costs as much as people will pay for it. So as long as you’re living anywhere worth living you’ll pay more than what your property is worth.

Hipster: Why does this process have to be so confusing and complicated?

Man: Businesses exist to make money. Banks are businesses. The only way banks make money is by taking it from their customers. So it’s in their best interest to take as much money from their customers as possible. That’s why it’s so hard to buy property.

Hipster: How do banks get away with that?

Man: Because that’s the way the entire economy works. Every time you open your wallet to take money out or put money in someone is going to take as much of it from you as they can.

Hipster: That sounds like a recipe for poverty and homelessness.

Man: Well, you don’t become the richest man in the world by factoring that into the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.

Hipster: What about Bill Gates? He’s like the richest man in the world, and he cares about people.

Man: Well, after I earn my first $70,000,000,000 selling the cheapest product for the highest price while paying my workers as little as the market will allow I’ll give away a few billion I’d never have used anyway to buy my way into Heaven too.

Hipster: With that much money you could sponsor every politician’s career in the country.

Man: With that much money I’d be above the law and wouldn’t care what politicians do, but yes. If the need ever arose I could make the government dance.

Hipster: I guess I won’t hold my breath on getting those government-owned low cost young professionals dorms.

Man: Well, if you can’t afford to rent in my economy then you can count on going to jail. So in the end, you’ll get a room after all.

Hipster: At least you won’t make any money off of me.

Man: Actually, I own the prison, and the company I own it through is traded on the stock market. So the government pays me for every person I have in prison, and the more people I have in prison the more my stocks go up. It’s a win/win situation!

Hipster: The prison system is a privatized social service? Does that mean you provide the cheapest product at the highest cost?

Man: Let me put it this way. There aren’t enough vitamins in a prison meal to keep a sea monkey alive, but my kids eat steak and lobster twice a week.

Hipster: At least when the police send me to your human kennel I won’t have to work 40+ hours at an unfulfilling job I hate for minimum wage.

Man: Actually, I got your political representatives to waive the basic human rights of prisoners. So inmates work in sweat shop conditions that would otherwise be illegal.

Hipster: I don’t remember voting on that.

Man: Why would I put that up for a vote? That’s not in my best interest.

Hipster: Well, I’m not going to work in your sweat shop. It’s not like I’ll need money in prison.

Man: You’d think that, but I’ve made it pretty damned hard to live without money…even in my prisons.

Hipster: So it’s even expensive to live in a prison?

Man: …as expensive as it can be.

Hipster: Damn. How much does it cost to die?

Man: Ha. Ha. It’s like anything else, as expensive as it can be.

Hipster: Can I ask you one more question.

Man: Sure, but if this takes much longer I’m going to start charging you. Ha. Ha.

Hipster: What do you think the meaning of life is?

Man: It’s like anything else…

Hipster: …to pay as much as possible because life is as expensive as it can be?

Man: Ha. Ha. Well put, but I was just going to say, “Fuck you.”

The End