How I Bought My First House at 23
Ahhh home sweet home! So, want to know how I was able to buy my first house at 23....and by myself? It's a question that I've been asked quite a bit, so I thought I'd write a post about it.
Before I dive in, I will say these three things:
First, I was blessed to be able to live at my parents’ house to save. I know that's not a luxury for everyone, but it was part of my story that I'm so thankful for.
Second, there were days I wanted to give up on my goal of saving for a house. It felt like such a HUGE goal and was very intimidating. It was hard work but wow, I'm so thankful I kept working towards it.
Third, it is doable for anyone to do this. Dream it, do it, become it. It is amazing what you can achieve with hard work, support, and just some good ol' time on your side.
Keep reading for all of the details!
#1 - Local College
I still remember the day I sat down with my parents as a senior in high school and I asked, "Do employers really care if you graduate from IU, Purdue, or IPFW (a local college)? My dad was a principal at the time and my mom is a trust officer still to this day, so I figured I could lean on their professional opinion and experience from hiring employees. After a good conversation with my parents, I decided to go with the local college route.
"If I can just save my money now, not have any student loans, and still get the same degree, I'd rather go to IPFW and live at home." And that's just what I did. I was blessed to be able to do this as I know this isn't always an option for everyone.
I contemplated going away for college. I almost even played basketball in college, but things work out the way they're supposed to. Sometimes I look back and wish I had some of the experiences of being away to college, but when I think of the friends I met, the money I saved, and look at the home I've been living in for some time now, I quickly stop looking back. :)
#2 - Save, Save, Save
I used to be SO INTENSE with saving and I'm so glad I was. I am still a pretty good saver, but whew, I used to just put money away and never touch it! Any chance you have to save money, do it! Have a goal paper with "Dream House" as the title to track your progress and stay motivated or do whatever is needed reach your goal. Visuals really helped me along the way.
Click on the link below for a freebie savings goal page I created:
On a personal note, I had $40,000 saved before I bought my house. Let me tell you, it was WORK to get to that point, but I did it!
"If you want something you've never had, you're going to have to do something you've never done."
#3 -I Lived At Home My First 2 Years of Teaching
I decided it was in my best interest to live at home and build a nice savings before I found my own place. I thought about getting an apartment, but once I looked into how much rent was, I realized rent was more expensive than some mortgages. I opted for the investing route.
As I lived at home, I started buying items for a house. I bought pots and pans, other kitchen supplies, toiletries, office supplies, and as it got closer to moving into my house, I went crazy buying home decor items! It was a blast. This allowed me to slowly start buying items while saving at the same time. I'm so thankful for my parents allowing me to do this and giving me a place to stay. I couldn't have done it without them and their support.
#4 - Hard Work & Lots of Prayer
Truly, it was a lot of hard work to save up $40,000. It took patience, dedication, and commitment. At one point, I opted out of buying a new car and decided to keep the car I got when I was 16 just to continue saving money. No car payment? That's just money in the bank! I didn't mind driving my clunky SUV around if it meant saving some dough.
I prayed a lot. I trusted that God was with me through the whole process and I just leaned on my faith when I became unsure of myself. I took the road less traveled with college and buying a home by myself. It was intimidating to do it on my own, but it just felt right. During my first couple years of teaching and even my first few years of living in my house, it seemed like everyone around me was getting married and buying their first home together as a married couple. A lot of times, I would find myself in my early 20's feeling pretty jealous and almost a feeling of "Ugh...they don't have to do this alone and here I am doing it all alone." Even though I was happy for my friends, it was tough to see that my story was playing out differently than I envisioned.
Now that I've moved past that stage in my life, I am so freaking proud of myself for doing all of that alone! I truly think it was such a kickass thing for me to do as a 23 year old by myself to:
#1 Save money and make decisions to put me on the right path
#2 Get a realtor (Mine was AMAZING! She helped me so much through the whole process!)
#3 Go on house tours
#4 Make TOUGH decisions on offers
#5 Go to the closing and buy my house :) That was fun! And yes, you do feel like you're signing your life away! 🤷🏼♀️
#6 Set up a mortgage, insurance, and all that fancy stuff
#7 Take on paying lots of bills by myself
#8 Decorate and maintain my house...going on 7 years now
I know my time will come to get married, have a family, and I won't be doing so much on my own (maybe I'll write a blog solely dedicated to this later), but it's so cool to see how my perspective has changed on this. I used to be so envious of others who didn't have to do it on their own and now...I just look at my situation and think, "Woah, you did the dang thing!" I'm just really thankful for all of the life lessons I've learned buying this sweet little home.
#5 - Trust the Process & Write a Letter
Lastly, you just have to trust the process. Know that your journey is not going to look like everyone else's and that is OKAY! You have to take it one step at a time and don't become too impulsive. Save, save, save first. Then move on to the next steps.
**One more quick tip! If there are multiple offers on the house you put an offer on, the best thing you can do is write a personal letter to the homeowner as to why you love their home and why it is a perfect fit for you. Trust me, it made a huge difference for me and was actually what helped me get my house out of 11 offers total!**
Pictures of the Process
Packing, planning, buying...
I spent SO much time during my last few months at my parents coming up with design plans, buying items to fill my home, and packing! I had so much fun doing this.
Time to Decorate!
I absolutely fell in love with my new home. I loved the beginning stages of decorating and still have so much fun decorating to this day! I still remember being enamored with the way the light filtered into the house at different times of the day. I would often find myself just walking around my house crying happy tears because I couldn't believe what I was able to create for myself by working hard. Such a humbling experience and I have immense gratitude!
Time to Get a Doggo!
These are my early days of having Kai! The picture of her with the green leash is actually the day I got her! After being in my house for a couple of months, I needed to find a buddy and that began the story of me adopting Kai (the absolute best dog). She makes my house even more of a home. Love that pup!
Keep on Keeping On
In the end, I am so thankful for how everything worked out. It wasn't easy but it sure was worth it. And what do I do from here? I keep on keeping on! Keep maintaining this home, keep decorating, keep hosting, keep saving, and keep counting all of my blessings. The next goal is to save up to build a home (trust me, I have so many ideas!), but for now, I'm very content with where I'm at.
Thanks for reading!