from paying rent to paying mortgage.
On July 21, 2021, I entered into a new chapter of adulthood by closing on my first home. I cannot explain the feeling of this level of accomplishment, but I can definitely say that I am proud of myself for keeping the faith & pushing forward.
Within the last year, I began to learn more about some of the family secrets, or things that were just never discussed around me because "they didn't think that I needed to know" (don't get me started on this!!). One thing that I learned is that neither my mom nor my grandmother were official home owners. The house that I grew up in (grandmother's house) was passed down to her by my great grandparents. And my mom had never bought her own home or property. Nonetheless, I have learned about other pieces of property that are in my grandmother's name that are now being passed down to my mother.
I wanted to include that part of my family history because I realized that I am now a first generation home owner and wanted to be some level of encouragement to those who are interested but has some level of doubt or fear, for whatever your reason may be. I wrote this for you.
I'm going to give a short back story to what led me to July 21st. Are you ready?
I went to tour my first piece of property in January 2021. I had randomly signed up via Zillow & they automatically connected me with a realtor and loan officer (the person who approves and handles everything in reference to your mortgage loan). I honestly had no clue of what I was doing, but I thought that it was time to at least start learning.
Side note: My lease for my apartment was over August 7, 2021. So ideally, I at least wanted to get the ball rolling in advance.
After meeting the person who became my realtor in person and he began to tell me all of which was going to happen along the way, I immediately felt overwhelmed & second guessed whether or not this was anything I was ready to do. On top of the conversation I had with the loan officer where he told me the different documents that were needed (paystubs, W2's of the last two years, amount of time at current job, etc.) This definitely made me second guess continuing with the process! Want to know why? Want to know what my last W2's showed on there? Barely anything!!! Because I was still a struggling college student, out here hustling & that's not something that is reflected on W2's.
So I stopped answering my realtor's calls & emails & stopped researching homes looking between January & probably late March because I wasn't even sure that this was something I was going to be able to accomplish this year. Until, I had a conversation with my loan officer & I was honest with him about my W2's, me just getting hired at my big girl job in January, me literally just graduating grad school, the whole nine, right? This man literally told that there was no need to worry about any of that because he was going to make sure he got me in a house. Oupp, say less!
He got me connected with down payment assistance program; they got me connected with the first time homebuyer workshop. All of the pieces were starting to come together. However, as I was beginning to view homes, it was literally a hit or miss. it may have been a beautiful home, check off the majority the things off of my check list, but was in a bad neighborhood. Or, vice versa. Or, even if I possibly found one that I loved, it was sold within the day or two of my tour. It was a struggle!
But then, the biggest test happened ... My apartment complex asked for a 90 day notice for my lease renewal. Which means, I had to let them know whether I was staying or going by May 7th!! My anxiety was up! I went back & forth about what I should do. Should I just keep the apartment just in case I won't find a house within the time period that I need to close? Should I just put this off a little longer so I will have more time? I remember I sent the email saying that I was going to renew my lease on May 6th.
But when I woke up the next morning, something told me to step out on faith & not renew my lease. Because at the end of the day, I would've used that as an excuse to settle longer for paying someone else's bills & not go after what I really wanted for myself. So I emailed her & told her that I will not be renewing my lease. And boom, things started happening!
I was then pre-approved for my loan & given the range I could pay for a home on May 12th. I was leaving work to go view about 3 to 5 homes a day (literally). And then, May 21, 2021, is when I toured the home that I am now living in. Won't He do it!! What made it crazy was the fact I had toured that house in April, and at the time, I just wasn't feeling it but here we are friends!!
I want to share some tips/advice for when you consider beginning your journey:
Start doing research:
The city you want to live in -- plan a visit (if you don't current reside), go through different neighborhoods to get a sense of the people/environment
Look into price ranges of the homes to get an idea of cost
Find realtors in the area to get an idea who's out there
Start communicating with banks/mortgage loan organizations
Set a goal of how much you want to save towards closing on a home
Remember: saving comes with sacrificing. How bad do you want it?
Creating a check list/vision board:
Write down what you would want your first to include (number of beds/baths, the kitchen style, backyard, garage, appliances, etc.)
Consider what you would settle or settle for (if you're not lucky enough to find a home that checks everything off of the list)
There is no better time to start plotting than now!
Tidbit for recent graduates: I would suggest doing it soon after because it will allow you the grace/advantage of just completing school
If you can, save a portion of those refund checks to go towards the down payment
A GOOD CREDIT SCORE IS A VERY IMPORANT FACTOR
BE AWARE OF THE AMOUNT OF DEBT THAT YOU ARE IN WHEN BEGINNING THE PROCESS
I hope this was some form of help to you! I felt the need to share because even though it is not an easy process & you may experience some obstacles & setbacks, you can't allow that to stop you from continuing to press & reach your big goal. No matter what the circumstances may look like or how they may seem, keep pushing!
I was about to allow different things to detour me from reaching my goal this year. And even though the home is not 100% what I envisioned it to look like, I am now a homeowner of a beautiful townhouse in Baltimore, MD. I am the beginning a new cycle that is happening for generations to come.
I challenge you to take that first step!