How people shop for and purchase homes has changed a lot in the past 10 years, and even though I work in the housing industry, I didn't know what it took to become a homeowner. I learned a lot going through this process. I want to share my journey and insight into the homeownership process. This is what worked for me. It is important to know your personal situation before diving into this process. I spent more time figuring out my situation and educating myself than I did in the actual homebuying process.
First things first. A year ago, I had no desire to own a home, immediately. Like many of my peers (dare I say it...Millennials), I have grown up in uncertain economic times. I do not have the same views as my parents on the urgency to own property. It was, simply put, not the top priority in my life. I do not believe that renting is a waste of money. It has certainly allowed me to live the life I wanted in Washington, D.C. And quite frankly, the freedom to do what I wanted to do with my money in my 20s. Living in a city like D.C., means a large chunk of your income is devoted to living expenses. I can understand what owning property can represent, but I was in no rush to make that investment. I still stand by this idea, but when multiple opportunities presented themselves over the last six months, it became much more realistic that I could maintain my lifestyle and live in a place that belonged to me.
Working in the housing industry has exposed me to a lot of different avenues to owning a home. Thanks to several programs, including one at my local housing finance agency, I discovered several available options that led to buying my first condo. This program recognized there is more than one way to build a responsible financial lifestyle in today's economic environment.
I plan to use this space to share some of the things I've done over the last several months to set myself up to become a homeowner. And shockingly or not, it didn't include totally paying off my student loans in order to do so.
I'd love to hear from you too. What was the most important element that allowed you to buy your first home? If you are not a homeowner, what is the one thing you need to tackle before diving in? Or, if you're a happy renter, tell me about that too.