Friday 30 December 2016

How we bought a house before 25

Hi Everyone, I hope you are all doing well! 💗

So in August 2016, Preston and I BOUGHT A HOUSE. It's definitely one of my biggest accomplishments so far.

I've had so many questions on how I was only 19 and Preston was only 23 when we bought by house and I have some answers and I guess tips on how I did it.

Preston and I originally moved out to a rented basement suite in April 2015 and stayed there until December that year. It was basically a test on if we could live together or not. It didn't surprise me at all that everything turned out more than perfect, it definitely made us grow stronger as individuals and as a couple.
I don't think I have any photos of the basement but it was seriously in immaculate condition when we moved in. It was only lived in for 6 months before we moved in, absolutely brand new - with stainless steel appliances, all facilities in the house, it couldn't get any better than that! The only downside was that we didn't realise after a couple of months was that it was $1200 a month in rent (including utilities). We both looked past that while we were looking for a place as we both just wanted to move in together as soon as possible. Lucky enough, we both had amazing jobs at the time (still do) and could afford it no problem.
We didn't realise until a couple of months down the road that we could never move forward at the pace we wanted to if we were paying $1200 a month alone on rent. So we started planning on how we could get away from this basement suite and plan to start saving for a house. We still planned on going on Vacation that Christmas to Hawaii to visit his parents who actually live there, but that still didn't stop us. We gave in our notice before we left and would officially be out of the suite on February 1st.
My parents were always super supportive on our decisions and suggested us moving in with them (before we were even engaged) to save for a house. I will be forever grateful towards them for helping us in a way not many people can. So as soon as we got back from Hawaii, we already had mostly everything packed (again, thanks to Pres), so we could start moving in with my parents right away. Lots of people will say that we had it easy and that's the only reason we were able to bought a house and I would say that's not true at all. Pres and I worked our BUTTS off to buy our house. We saved almost three quarters of both of our paychecks every time we got paid and put it into savings. He was going to school for two months as soon as we got back from Hawaii and it was hard for him to find a quiet place to study in the house. Don't get me wrong, living with my parents was definitely short term pain for long term gain, there was a lot of arguments and stress put on us both, even my parents. Obviously it would've taken us longer to get to where we are if it wasn't to my parents but it was definitely the hardest 8 months of my life. There was a lot of personal things going on with our family at the time and it put a lot of stress on Preston as he was in the middle of all of it but Thank the Lord - we got through it.

Some couples don't agree with getting a joint bank account before marriage but we didn't really care. We were engaged, we knew everything about each other, it was just another step in our relationship. There was nothing but trust and I absolutely loved him so I knew it was going to be easier for after we were married. So we linked and opened up a joint bank account so all of our money was going and leaving one place. It was SO easy to track our savings and our expenses that way that it made things go a lot faster and smoother. We both worked as much overtime as we possibly could, we decreased our spending by around 50% of what they were before and lived completely frugal. We went out for dinner and movie dates at least 1 or 2 times a month, we needed some getaways from the house and those were really our only options. We didn't want to completely cut ourselves off so we still enjoyed the little things like those dates as much as we possibly could. We ended up buying an apartment size fridge for the bedroom we were in downstairs to put all our food & drinks in to avoid any arguments with my family. Our sectional was in our bedroom and so was our 60" TV. As you can guess, we spent a lot of time in there.

I don't recommend completely doing nothing for however long you plan to save for something like buying a house, but definitely live within your means. We still did some shopping before buying the house like decor and new kitchen supplies because we knew we were going to need it when we moved in. So we might as well buy the things we needed before we had a bunch of new bills coming out every month. It's definitely hard to save if you don't have the will power to do so, which is why I suggest going into your bank and getting a mandatory savings account. We both have one of those now after buying the house (we had it before, we just didn't put as much away) just to help with extra savings for emergencies. The bank will set up a set amount to put into savings every month or whenever you want and will put it into a locked savings account for you. The only way you can get the money is if you physically go into your bank and give them a reason of why you need the money, that's at least what we have to do for ours.

Before Preston and I actually even started looking for houses, we set ourselves a reasonable budget of what we could afford. We know way too many people who are house poor and can only afford to pay for bills every month because they spent way too much money on their house and we definitely didn't want that. We budgeted for what the maximum mortgage we could afford and how much it would be in payments every month and if our interest rate ended up going up after 5 years, if we could still afford it then. We knew before we even started saving that we needed at least 5% down payment for the mortgage and that's how we budgeted for how much we would put away in savings every month.
You honestly really have to think it through and talk to a financial advisor (if you're not sure) before you make the call if you're going to buy a house or not. Don't forget that you don't have a landlord to rely on anymore for fixing a broken appliance, you are the landlord and the tenant. So try to have extra savings for those kind of things even before moving in to a house because you never fully know what could be broken or wrong in the house you're going to buy.

We started looking for a house at the start of July in 2016 I believe and found the house we wanted at the end of July. It felt like we were never going to buy a house after looking at 30+ houses in a space of a couple of weeks. We would look at 5-7 houses right after work and at the beginning, could not find any that we liked. But there was actually 1 we genuinely loved at the start but waited too long contemplating it that the next day - it was sold.

I would send Preston houses upon houses that I found online and we would go look at them. It got to the point where I would send him any house I found and him and my realtor actually told me to slow down....I was so impatient and was blinded by the fact of wanting to get out of my parents house. But finally, I had to BEG Preston to come and see the house we actually bought. I don't even think he had the effort to look at the pictures, he just tagged along basically hahaha. But as soon as we walked in, I honestly fell in love. I felt like I walked into my own home to be honest. I started picturing and imagining things I would do to the house instantly. And believe it or not, Preston did too (after some convincing). The house was completely renovated upstairs, brand new kitchen, new doors, new floors, it was amazing. We put an offer on the house that night and after some negotiating and back and forth, we eventually came to an agreement with the sellers. We had 2 weeks to make arrangements and then we moved into our dream home! It was AMAZING, I was so excited to tell everyone but I didn't let anyone know until we physically got the keys on August 15th. I didn't want to jinx anything just in case but everything just fell into place. We did have an inspector come check out the house before we fully moved in as they do suggest that before everything. I honestly think it's a great idea for an inspection as they catch a lot of things that are wrong in a house and they can save you A LOT of money if they find major problems. Lucky for us, there were only really cosmetic problems that we need to fix but it all takes time. Our basement is fully finished but it's outdated. So I can't wait to do renovations down there and get that all completely done, I'll post before and after pictures this summer as that's when we will hopefully start it all!

I had a lot of mixed reviews and comments about buying a house at 19. Some people asked why I wanted to get into a lot of debt so young and some people gave me praise for it. I can honestly & truthfully say that having your own home and not worrying about a noisy tenant upstairs or worrying about your landlord taking forever to fix something - is the best feeling ever. It is for Preston and I anyways. You get to do whatever you want in your house with decor and painting and not worry about it. But for me it wasn't just about actually buying the house, it was about setting a goal for myself and achieving it. Not because I had to, it was because I wanted to. Even when I was younger and in competitive gymnastics, I always had new goals and new skills I wanted to achieve and this was just another goal for me. I like success and accomplishments, it drives me to want to do better and be better emotionally and physically. I'll always have goals in my life and I think everyone should always have at least one goal in their life, whether it's a short term or long term goal. Your goal might be just getting through the day or week or getting your bed made. Or even buying a car or house, or saving money for a vacation or trip. Whatever it may be, always believe in yourself that you can achieve something. No matter how big or small that achievement is, set your mind on something and go do/get it. Don't let anyone or anything stop you!

Thank you all for your support. Talk to you all soon, and until next time!

Lots of love,

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