Learn How I Purchased My First Home: At The Age of 24
I recently became a homeowner at the age of 24 and to have accomplished this is a blessing from God, but the process was difficult. Although I work in the mortgage industry and have gained knowledge of the housing market, I still struggled trying to find my dream home. With that being said, I would love to share my experience and take away from this.
Prior to going into this, I knew I needed to be mentally and financially stable to endure this overwhelming responsibility ahead of me. I chose to save a year in advance and took the pandemic to my advantage and started looking while the rates were still low.
The first step I took was knowing what I wanted - the features of the home, location, and price range.
This helps the realtor find homes that are best suited for the buyer. Thankfully I was blessed to work with the man who sold my parents their home. He connected me with a loan officer who drafted my loan estimate in order to start the search and make offers on homes. It took me a little over 8 months to find my dream home. In hindsight, this may seem like a long time, but buying a house is not like buying a phone - one cannot settle with the first thing they see. Every weekend, I was going out to different locations looking at every design, color, and size each house had to offer. Over time, I had to take into consideration that within the process, everything will change from the initial expectation I had. I changed from one county to another, became more open to townhomes and condos rather than just single homes, and so on.
Being open minded and positive were two key factors that kept me going.
Once we started making offers, I realized after the first 3 outbids that a change needed to be made. Therefore, my realtor and I knew that either our offer had to surpass my loan amount or adjustments needed to be made with the offer - whether we accept the home as is, waive some stuff, or so on. After a couple more tries and some adjustments made to the offer letter, I was blessed to have my offer accepted to a beautiful townhome that had everything I asked for and more. Throughout the whole process, I did learn and gain a lot of tips and tricks that will benefit anyone ready to embark on this journey.
First things first, be mindful of how expensive buying a house is. It can become a financial burden on someone who has not taken the proper steps to build an adequate savings account to cover all the expenses during and after closing.
A rule of thumb I followed was to save 20-30% of the home price you want to buy. That way you will always have enough money for closing costs in addition to any fees after. Similar to buying a car, you should also do your research first. Explore the market to get an idea of what kind of home you want. This makes it easy to pinpoint your price range, location, and features of the home. In addition to that, review and analyze the market rate – this can determine if it’s a good time to buy a house or if you should wait until the rates drop a little more before hopping on the search for a home. Aside from that, you should also delve into grants. Many states offer grants to first time homebuyers that can assist with the down payment or closing cost. Not only does this save you money, but it can allocate funds you once saved for closing cost to other more suited needs.
One thing people tend to forget is the importance of credit and how your credit score plays a factor in your qualification for a substantial loan amount and lower interest rate.
Once you build your credit, things start to play in your favor and you become more likely to obtain a wonderful home with a low rate. When you finally decide that you are ready to buy a house, get yourself a realtor. They will be a huge asset throughout the process. Their knowledge and expertise in the field will guide you in the right path, answer all your questions, and assist with finding everything you are looking for in a home. Their job is to make sure you are happy and confident with your final decision. However, be open minded to their advice because what you may think is good for you may not be as great as what they have to offer you in your journey of purchasing your dream home.
My last piece of advice is be patient with yourself and the ambiguous duration of the process. It's not an easy task nor will it be a smooth sail so be kind to yourself and aware of the work it requires. As the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait and with that, I’ve learned that patience is a key virtue to unraveling the dream home meant for you.
Mortgage Processor from Washington D.C. Through her time in the mortgage industry, Rahiel has grown an interest in real estate investment. She lovesto give back to people especially through her passion for fitness. She desires to one day open a women's only gym to offer a safe and welcoming space for all women in their health journey. She hopes her determination to achieve big things will inspire other women to demolish societal expectations against women’s potential and accomplish anything their heart’s desire.