I Can’t Buy a House!
By Andrea Updyke
I loved my apartment. I lived in a fun, walkable area. I had a washer and dryer in my unit and I didn’t have to do yard work. What more did I need? It seemed like enough, but year after year I dreamed of owning my own home. The idea of home-ownership seemed overwhelming. But the longer I rented, the more I had this pit in my stomach that my money was just getting spent. I wanted an investment. I’ll admit, there was a certain amount of convenience and safety in living under someone else’s roof, but it just wasn’t enough.
Me? Buy a house? As a recent college graduate with a pile of student loans and a mediocre income, I certainly didn’t feel like I would be eligible for any kind of quality loan. However, I didn’t want to get a risky loan either because even though this was before the housing bubble burst, I knew enough about bad credit to read the fine print.
Once I started to really consider home ownership, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Maybe it was the desire for more space, or staking my claim to a small piece of earth. The American dream? Perhaps. All I knew was that if I was going to make this happen, I was going to have to roll up my sleeves and jump in with both feet. I learned a few things in those first few months of consideration that might be helpful for those who may be timid about taking the leap.
Don’t Make Assumptions Based on Assumptions
As a single woman, I think I was programmed with a certain expectation of the order things should happen in my life. Go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house. In my head, I knew things didn’t have to happen that way. I just assumed it would. I didn’t really even consider it any other way. That is, until I found out about a lending program through my city. This changed my mindset completely!
Many cities have programs for first time home buyers that can make all the difference in whether or not you can afford a home. My city for instance, has several different options in which they team up with trustworthy lenders to provide low or no-interest second mortgages. These mortgages assist in reducing closing costs considerably. My assumption was that because I didn’t have a lot of money to put down up front, the only option would be to acquire a risky mortgage with high interest. In fact, this was not the case at all! What I needed to know was where to look for the right information.
It’s no surprise that women often have to be resourceful to get where we want to go. Despite the advances our gender has made in the past 30 years, we still face obstacles of habit. I am often shocked at how little people are willing to ask questions and do their homework. This doesn’t have to be a gender issue, but it definitely can be.
Dig deeper. Utilize every tool you can get your hands on from search engines to city websites and trustworthy news sources. Do you have any friends in the business? As questions! Take charge! Home ownership is an investment of time and heart even before you get the keys. If this is what you want, you can make it happen.
Enjoy the process
There is nothing like working hard and having an end result. Home ownership is the ultimate give and take. From the very first step of finding out if you are eligible to buy a house, to the search for the perfect home and finally moving in your belongings in on closing day, the roller-coaster seems endless. But on that sweet day when you walk in to your house and realize that every decision is yours, every lightbulb is yours, and even the thought of taking the trash (in your very own trash can) to the street excites you, all that effort becomes less of a hassle and more like a gold star congratulating you for achieving your goal.
I have a file. It’s a huge file containing all of my research, quotes, reports, listings, etc. I keep it because I worked hard to get my home. It serves as a reminder that it took a lot of effort to get here and it makes me realize that nothing comes without effort.
That of course, was just the beginning and home ownership is much more than simply closing a deal. But the process of attaining my home is something that I never want to forget. I made this happen. I worked hard and achieved my goal. No one can take that away from me. We have so many resources literally at our fingertips. Make it work for you!
Andrea Updyke is a proud homeowner. Buying her first home as a single woman was one of the happiest days of her life! She is now a wife and a mother and can be found blogging at Lil-Kid-Things