My husband and I have a goal to be homeowners.
We made that goal not far into our marriage, and it’s one that we earnestly work towards. Some regular readers may be surprised to know that despite the details we have carefully parsed through in many areas of our finances, our homeownership goals are rather vaguely defined.
Here is our homeownership goal: We want to be homeowners within the next 2-3 years, and we want to start looking once we have $30,000 in a downpayment fund (past our 6 month emergency fund and any other savings funds we have going). At $15,000, we will start going to open houses to really see a ton of homes to get a good feel for what we want.
And that’s pretty much it.
There are a few little specifics - we will look in both Washington and Utah (where our respective families live), we want to not live further than 10 minutes from where we work/our kids go to school (we truly hate commutes) and we don’t want to deal with HOAs because I like to garden in my backyard, hang a clothesline up in the warm months, and I believe in trampolines and letting kids play in copious quantities of dirt.
We are also undecided on how long we want to be in that home - do we want to plan on this being a “forever” home? If so, a master suite on the ground floor will be essential in old age, and we would want to plan accordingly by either purchasing a home with one built in or purchase one that would be easy to remodel. Among the things that we don’t have as major considerations are square footage - we care much more about functional layout and being able to use space effectively than the amount of footage we have. Likewise, we are not attached to specific acreage amounts, as we are not convinced that we would want to exclusively homestead (although we may check zoning requirements for a few small farm animals, such as chickens or rabbits, and would want adequate space for a few high quality raised garden beds).
We might look for a fixer-upper if we really like the location or a house’s potential, but overall my husband and I are not very handy. For that reason, if we do buy a fixer-upper, we will almost certainly purchase the assistance of some remodelers/repairers shortly thereafter. Small projects, like painting a room, we can do, but without some serious change, neither of us have the necessary skills to tackle pipework or other repairs, and there are a few things in life we feel are genuinely worth paying someone else a lot of money to do. We are far more likely to buy foreclosed as a way to save money.
What kind of loan will we get? No clue. How much of a percentage will we put down? I hope at least 10%, but for the right house I could go lower. Yes, this means we will probably pay PMI insurance for the first few years, but PMI insurance is less than rent, and the thing about rent is it never, ever, comes back to you. Renting is giving away free money. We like to invest in something that will build our net worth, and for us that definitely includes our own home. While we certainly will not be able to purchase a home outright, or even have a full 20% downpayment to avoid PMI charges, we have the grit necessary to pay extra on our mortgage each month, which will drastically reduce the amount of interest we pay over the course of 10-30 years.
While our plan is still a little vague, we are both committed to figuring out the details as we go along.
Have you ever purchased a home only to regret it? Did you start out in your dream home or a starter home? What would you have done differently in buying your first home?
I spend most of my spare time playing with spreadsheets, my violin, or planting vegetables in my garden in hopes of bringing new insights into frugal living. Please enjoy, and don't forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter here.
Disclaimer - Mrs. FB is not a financial advisor. Nothing in these articles should be construed as investment or other professional advice, but rather personal opinion. Some links in these posts may be to affiliate sites - no products are advertised through this site that have not been personally used by the FB family unless expressly labeled.