My First Time Homeowner Experience
I like to share my first time homeowner story with others because I think they can relate some way or another. Before I purchased a home, I rented an apartment in an upscale part of our city. Back then my rent was $600 per month for a one bedroom (725 sq ft) apartment. Sure it was appealing…I had a nice balcony overlooking the city, fireplace and even a place to put my kitchen table! But, after two years of renting I began to assess my assets...that didn’t take long because I didn’t have any!
I began to grow restless in my apartment and knew that I couldn’t continue to give away $600 each month. I did a dreadful exercise one day. I calculated “how much” I’d spent in rent for 2 years...the amount was ASTOUNDING! I had spent $14,400 in 24 months to rent a one bedroom apartment! I was “literally” ill.
During this same time I had been receiving Home Buyer Workshop invitations in the mail from local churches and organizations. I always kept them as a sign of confirmation that my renting days were coming to an end. One day I was reading a local publication and found a workshop to attend where I knew the instructor. This was my first step to pursuing homeownership.
Step One: I attended a home buyer workshop to begin educating myself about the home buying process. As a first time homeowner, it is essential that you educate yourself "before" beginning the process.
I still had my doubts, but this workshop increased my faith! I believe in God and had certainly shared with Him that I wanted to stop renting and was ready to purchase a home. My doubts crept in when I thought about the loan process and pre-approval. At the time my hourly wage was $10 per hour. In my eyes, $10 wasn’t nearly enough to qualify for a home mortgage (not to mention my credit card debt, car payment and other normal necessities). My debt-to-income ratio was pretty high (I had too much income going out for bills versus the amount that was coming in each month). However, my credit scores were pretty good (which showed my integrity to pay my bills). So, armed with my faith and the knowledge I gained from the workshop...I took the plunge and applied for the loan!
Step Two: I took action by moving forward and applying for a mortgage loan despite my doubts!
I WAS APPROVED! I was incredibly happy, but slightly disappointed by the approval amount of $72,000. I wanted to at least start at $150,000 for my first home. As a first time homeowner, I had a lot of pride and thought that I should "start" with a mansion! Today, I look back at my attitude towards my approval amount and laugh! At $10 per hour I couldn’t afford a home for $150,000! Had I been approved for that amount...I’m sure in the next sentence I would be telling you how to bounce back from FORECLOSURE!
But, God intervened (stepped in). He knew what was best for my budget for my first home. My interest rate is 5.1% fixed and the mortgage payments are $496 per month with a backyard, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and much more! I went from 725sq. ft to 1300 sq. ft for less money! Four years later, I’m still living in my first home and plan to purchase another home this year (up to $175,000).
Get this...I also plan on “keeping” my home as an investment property and one day for retirement savings! That’s how you build “real” wealth for yourself and your family.
Resolve in your heart that it's God’s will for you to own your own home. His word says that we are the “lenders” and not the borrowers. Once your spirit is settled and you’re encouraged move forward! I purchased my home being single while making $10 per hour with debt obligations, but I did it and so can you!
Step Three: I didn't focus on my external circumstances.
I hope my first time homeowner experience has inspired you to keep your dreams of owning your own home alive. Everyone has challenges, but don't let those stop you from achieving your goals.