Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Hey girl, hey!
If you follow me on snapchat (if not, follow me: mselle21), I’m sure you’ve heard this story before. But for those of you who are new here, you’re in luck… because here it goes again. I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, single grad student with a very naive outlook on life (I’ll admit it). I had my whole life plan already mapped out, which included buying my very first home at the prime age of 23. Knowing I wanted to build a home from the ground up, I searched for the house I thought would fit the idea that was in my head. The thought of being a bo$$ and owning a home at such a young age was the image I thought would make me look, be and feel successful, only problem was... I didn’t quite do all my research and there were some things that I had to find out the hard way.
But since I love you all so much, I’m sharing my lessons with you... so you can be well informed when you decide to take that home ownership leap!
To purchase or not to purchase... that's the ultimate question!
Being a Financial Coach, I often have a plethora of people coming to me asking for financial guidance and many of them have the same request: “Help me get my money right, Elle, so I can buy a house!” Now I’m not here to tell you to buy (or not to buy), because the final decision is ultimately yours to make... but I am simply here to state the facts, share my own experience, and let you know that sometimes buying a house isn’t really all that you imagined it would be. So here’s what I learned when purchasing my first home:
1. The Paperwork is Unreal! BOOM… That was the sound of the monstrous pile of papers the selling agent dropped on the desk in front of me... then casually handed me a pen. Looking at her over the stack of documents that stopped just underneath my eyeballs (well maybe I’m exaggerating just bit, but you get the picture… it was huge) made me feel like I was literally about to sign my life away. The most important thing to do before signing any paperwork is to make sure you read and understand everything…and I do mean everything, even down to the little fine print. You never want to find yourself surprised in the future by something you signed because you got caught up the in whirlwind of excitement. 2. Your Credit Report will Show Massive Debt. As soon as all that paperwork you just signed is processed… BAM, the total amount of the home you just purchased lands on your credit report. Now this can be both a good and bad thing. For one, at least you’ll have diversity on your credit report (if you don’t already) by adding an installment loan to the mix. But, if you have any additional loans already on your credit report such as a car loan, student loans, or anything of the like... that new loan is just added on top of all of that, girlfriend. It can be pretty gut wrenching to later pull your credit report and see the mountain of debt you’ve accumulated and the thought of becoming debt free may seem like a long ways away.
3. Maintenance can be a B*tch! In an apartment, you pay for the luxuries of maintenance. There’s usually staff on-site that work to keep the grounds nice with freshly planted flowers, regularly scheduled lawn mows, and even valet trash at some places (it’s so easy to get spoiled). But with a house, you’re responsible for all of that and I must say… it’s a lot of effin’ work. Now unless you have a boo thang to help you out with the maintenance of your property, you will personally have to go buy your own flowers to plant. You, yourself, will have to take out your own trash. And unless you plan on hiring a lawn service company, you girlfriend… will be mowing your own lawn. And in my opinion, it’s no fun! All it took was one time for me to have grass flying up my nose and in my eyes during hay fever season to know that this mowing thang was completely for the birds. I gave it my best effort... it ain't for me. Not only that, let’s not forget the cleaning. If you’re used to living in a one or two bedroom apartment, cleaning up your place up may not seem so bad (then again, who really enjoys cleaning), but then double or maybe even triple that square footage and you’ve got a whole part-time job just keeping your place tidy.
4. Things WILL Break… No Matter What! Whether you purchase an older home or build one from the ground up, one thing is guaranteed… things will break! It never fails, something is going to end up leaking, something is going to end up going out, and something is going to end up falling apart. I’ve been down this road girlfriend, I tell you no lies! That’s why it’s so important to make sure your incidental savings is stacked for these inevitable events that will take place. 5. There’s More Expenses Besides the Monthly Mortgage. In addition to the maintenance I mentioned earlier, there’s a huge possibility you could have even more expenses you’d be responsible for. Items like Home Owners Association Fees (HOA), property insurance, and property taxes will all have to be factored into your budget. And let's not forget about furnishing and decorating your place. I mean... what's the point in having this whole house if you ain't got nothin' in it? So you definitely want to make sure you have enough money stashed away so your guests (because you will have guests) are not all sitting on the floor. 6. It’s More Permanent than Not. If you’re anything like me… you won’t find me in one spot for too long. I tend to get bored quickly and I like to move around a lot to get a change of scenery, but home ownership is definitely a more permanent move. Not to say that you caaan't move... it's just a much more complex process than not renewing your lease at an apartment. So if you plan to purchase a house, you also want to plan to be there for a while to at least get your down payment's worth and build some equity. So what happened to my house you ask? I sold it... It was really far out in the suburbs (like really far), and no one came to visit me because it was literally like taking a road trip to get there. But I enjoyed the experience, because it taught me a lot of life lessons and it was also an investment that I paid into for 5 years. When I finally sold it, I was able to make about $13,000 off the deal since my home had increased in value. I used some of that money to furnish my new apartment in the city, but the majority.... went straight to savings (you already know). So with that being said girlfriend, take your time before making the home-ownership commitment, do your research, and stack that cash... because you're definitely going to need it! Drop a line and let me know what you think of this post? Do you share a similar experience? Let's chat! Until Next Time, Elle Are you ready to start your budget to get yourself financially aligned with your goals? Check out our Budgeting for Beginners Guide to help you get started.