My biggest financial goal in life was to invest in property in my twenties. Owning a home is a great way to set you up for your future goals; markets go up and down, but if you stick it out you could earn a nice profit. I will preface this by saying, buying a home is not easy. I almost got cold feet, before Chris reassured me it was a smart decision. You are putting years of savings and your credit on the line. So be prepared to do tons of research and find a knowledgable real estate agent you can trust. But enough of my upfront advice! Let’s answer your questions from Instagram, Facebook, and some curious friends.
Q: Why did you choose the town you did?
A: Well, to be honest, price. It is not a surprise that LA is outrageously priced. Being from Texas I was even more sticker shocked. But I also know that where you live is what you make it. Chris keeps telling me that he is happy I didn’t grow up in LA, because none of the stereotypes about certain areas bother me. So we embraced areas we never thought we would, and we were presently surprised.
Don’t let peoples’ perceptions sway you. You know your finances and situation better than anyone. Most areas just need people like you to come in and be a thoughtful neighbor!
Q: How much do you really need to save?
A: Do not empty out your savings! I would say you should have double whatever your down payment and closing costs are, in savings. My house was “turn key,” but moving also has hidden costs.
Q: Any help out there for people with bad credit to buy a home?
A: Chris and I worked really hard for about two years to make sure our credit scores were high before looking to buy a home. Even if there are options, they usually have insanely high interest rates tied to them or they are very restrictive on where you can purchase a home.
But don’t give up hope! First, create an emergency savings fund with atleast 3 months of living expenses. Then give yourself a reasonable timeline to pay off some of your debts and get your credit score up. Once you get a good credit score, that can open some doors when it comes to low down payment mortgages or even no closing costs. The road to owning a home is all about the little goals you reach to prepare yourself. Always ALWAYS, live a little below your means. It is recommended to only spend 30% of your income on rent or a mortgage, but could you aim for 25%? Take that 5% and put that into savings!
Q: What were (are) you looking for in a house?
A: We had the usual minimum bed and bath needs. We really juggled getting a fixer upper or a turn key house. At first, I was all for a challenge! But after realizing the true cost of completely overhauling a home, we decided against it. Our realtor was super honest with us too, and told us our first home shouldn’t be such a risk. Unless you have tons of cash flow, find something as turn key as possible. Taking out credit is lot of people’s enemy and downfall once they get into a home.
Aesthetically, we wanted neutral paints and classic fixtures. These are also easy changes, so if you love the bones, go for it! What drew us into the home we bought, was the eye for detail that the contractor had. He framed the windows, chose similar fixtures and tiles throughout the house, and opened up the floor plan.
Thank you all for the questions! I know this was a little different from my typical style and design posts, so I hope you enjoyed it. I am happy to answer any more questions in the comments below.
Good luck on your road to buying a home!