We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

About a week ago, I brought home your Dec. 6 issue. Today, I read the cover story, “Lien Times.” And as I read the story, a few tears fell from my eyes.

As a homeowner, I went in over my head. I made a lot of mistakes. Despite having the funds to fix various parts of my home, I overlooked one important thing before considering buying it: I did not take a hard look at my job security before signing on the dotted line. I lost my job several months after I bought the house.

Thank goodness, I had a few friends and relatives who helped me stay afloat. Even so, I exhausted all of my savings paying the mortgage. This left very little money to go toward food, clothing, and other essentials. As for the number of things in need of repair, I was on my own. During my first Christmas in my home, I didn’t have a Christmas tree, the front door fell off the hinges, and one of the bedroom windows fell out. I did not have any money to pay anybody to fix anything in my house.

With the help of the Internet and the few carpenter skills I had, I quickly learned how to do different things to the house, such as painting, plastering, and various odds and ends. About a year later, I sold the house. I am thankful that I had the sense to get out before foreclosure.

David Morton’s lengthy story is a sad one, but it is also a serious reality check. It should serve as a reminder and a warning to those who are interested in buying a house. It is important that prospective homebuyers take a serious look at their job security, the real reason why they want to buy a home, and if they are financially prepared to buy a house and take care of any surprises that arise.

Many real-estate agents and lenders, as well as other professionals, will give you the spin about what you can and cannot afford, but only you know what your comfort level is.