Buying our first home was one of the most exciting (and nerve wracking) experiences of our lives. At 26, my husband and I were just starting our lives together and began to make serious plans for our future. We quickly decided that purchasing a home was at the top of our list. Very uncertain about what we would discover in the home buying process and/or if it was even a possibility, we tried anyway and here’s what happened.
For my husband and I, the true propeller of buying a home was our engagement. Shortly after we got engaged we started getting a ton of questions from curious friends and family. One being “where would we live?” This got us thinking about renting vs. buying. Working in the real estate industry as an ops manager at the time, I knew how realistic homeownership was even at our age. We didn’t have a ton of savings and coupled with all of the wedding expenses, some would say we were a little insane to throw buying a home into the mix.
Nonetheless my husband (fiancé at the time) and I had committed to spending the rest of our lives together and we also committed to buying a home. Whether it was that year, the next year or even the next, it was something we were determined to do. Even though I worked in the industry I had no idea if we would get approved for a loan and for how much. But the fact that we committed to purchasing a home led us down a path to find out that we were just a few weeks away from fulfilling our dream.
We contacted our lender and put in an application for a home loan. After going through this process, a few AHA moments occurred:
1) We didn’t need 20% down to purchase a home. In fact, because we were first time homebuyers, a 3.5% down payment was sufficient. This was a BIG one. With Joey (my hubs) and I starting our lives together our cash flow was all over the place so this made the idea of buying a home very doable and real!
2) We were approved for a loan that was WAY more than we intended on spending. We actually didn’t even need both of our incomes to qualify.
3) Homeownership provided tax savings. The government promotes home buying by offering many loan programs to make home buying more affordable, but also by giving you a tax break off of the interest you pay on your mortgage.
4) We could accept “gifts” that are applied directly towards the down payment and/or closing costs from direct relatives and relatives by marriage. In this digital age I’ve seen many couples use websites like honeyfund.com to receive a cash gift towards their downpayment instead of a traditional gift registry.
5) Have you ever known someone who bought a home and wondered “how can they afford that?” Buying a home in today’s economy is very realistic. Interest rates are very reasonable and, like I mentioned before, there are several government backed loan programs that require a low down payment and cut down on additional fees.
After running our credit, verifying employment, and checking our bank statements, our lender pre-approved us for a home loan. Our lender was awesome and ran a few scenarios for us on how much we could put down, how that would affect our interest rate, and monthly payment. He was super helpful and very knowledgeable. There are a million lenders out there that offer different programs and have different qualifications for home loans. I worked in the real estate industry and had an amazing referral source to turn to. Finding a great lender is essential to having a great home buying experience so please let me know if you’d like the name of the lender we used 🙂 If my husband and I hadn’t been approved for a home loan the first time, our lender would have created a plan for us to achieve homeownership eventually.
Buying a home has truly set us up for future financial success. Knowing that we are building equity by paying a mortgage gives us peace of mind that we have a forced savings account. Not to mention the investment you are making as home prices rise!
Let’s Make It Happen For You
If homeownership is something that you want to achieve, it is possible at any age! I was very fortunate to understand the home buying process and work for a real estate team that guided me through the transaction. Not everyone has that advantage so I hope that we can be a source of information for you if you’re thinking of buying a home.