It’s been four months since I bought my house and that is absolutely crazy to me. If you had told me that by 22 I would settle down and commit to one house in one city I’d laugh. Through high school my family moved across states several times and college was constantly changing too. I learned to like the changes. They brought new experiences and people into my life, there was always an adventure around.
Then I graduated college, moved to Ukraine as a missionary, God changed my plans, brought me home and settle me into this little town in the North Georgian mountains near my parents.
It is NOT a place you move to before you are married. It has many similar qualities to a retirement community, but here I am! Cutting my chance of getting married soon real low (I am just kidding, promise!).
I’ve always wanted my own home. I am creative brained so any chance to make something my own, I am all for it. Every time we moved I loved the chance to decorate my bedroom and space. College was the same. Every year when I moved in it was like Christmas with four white blank walls just waiting for me to get creative.
I’ve always had the desire to have a home but I was not expecting it to be this soon.
When I moved home from Ukraine in October of 2018 I moved in with parents and I asked God a lot of questions. I was, of course, wanting quick replies but He pretty much said “wait” over and over again.
So I waited and watched. I watched for open doors, opportunities and His leading. Everything said “you are staying for a while” so I started looking for where to go. I was NOT able to live with my parents for much longer. Don’t get me wrong, I have awesome parents! This girl needed more freedom so the hunt began.
There were NO rental properties! All the ones I had found were overpriced and would require me to find a roommate. I started looking at the actual cost difference from buying vs renting.
Ultimately I decided buying was best for me. I could invest money and resources into the property and potentially make a profit off of it in the long run. Renting would have been easy if it was only short term but that’s a lot of money going into someone else’s pocket.
Queue the obsession with realtor.com.
I scoured the online house sites for months, four months to be exact. My dad had a realtor friend and a home builder friend who shared advice. The home builder said to look for 3 bedrooms & 3 baths, these have the best resell value. The realtor friend told me which zip codes to stay away from and to wait. Spring has many more homes for sale than winter time.
This is where my impatience and obsession blew up too big.
Everyday I was on the sites, I looked at houses over and over again. I grew impatient. I went and looked at a few different homes that had potential but were a stretch. They were overpriced and not worth it, but they were my only options so I started to justify them in my head.
I kept asking God about them, I am sure if He was human He would gotten irritated with me. One day He asked me “do you trust me?”. That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. I was ready for a yes to something not this question. I didn’t answer the first time, I thought about it. Then He kept asking and eventually I let go of my personal desires and impatience and said “Yes”. This went on so long I eventually said my “Yes” much stronger.
I finally reached a point where the stress and impatience had practically eaten me alive. I was so restless and anxious I hit a wall. I FINALLY let it go into God’s hands. I finally told God “Yes I trust you” before He even asked me.
The next day I got a phone call & was going to look at a house at 1pm. Turns out it was my dream home.
3 Bedroom with 2 baths, 1500 square feet, a screen in porch looking out over the neighbors rolling hills, 102 years old in the downtown historical area of Demorest.
It is a dream and it’s a miracle. I knew it was the house but I didn’t have enough money for the downpayment and I didn’t have a way to finance it. I couldn’t get a loan alone because I didn’t have a full time job (I am self employed). I had someone willing to personally finance it for me for a price but he looked at it and said no. I cried that whole day because I was so upset! That was something because I am not a crier.
But God was SO GOOD!
The older man that owned the house did two things. He offered to finance it for me and he let me pay 5% down and 5% in three months. This was a miracle. He needed the money from this property to rebuild his Mexico home but his wife heard my story and encouraged him to sell it to me. She said they had enough money, the wanted to help me.
Isn’t that crazy??? Man, we have a good father! I write this as I sit in my bed in my home which I feel blessed with everyday.
Looking into buying a house soon? Here are my top tips!
Work Hard & Save for the Downpayment
I had been saving money for three years before I could afford a downpayment. This was not full time employment either, I was a student. I worked as a babysitter through college to pay for the essentials and set a little aside. Then in my last summer I got a job doing social media management for a local business. I continued (& still work with them) through the years and set that money aside as well.
In one summer I worked hard and put away $3000 which was a great start! I continued saving intentionally especially when my expenses were really low as my parents helped me when I moved back to America.
When you are buying a house typically the downpayment amount is 20% unless you are a first time home buyer. Many states have deals so first timers only have to put down 10%. A Note! You can buy a house without 20% (or 10%) BUT you will have to pay PMI which is insurance that does not for you but cost. This insurance is a monthly fee you will pay until you’ve paid off 20% of your house cost.
This can take a long time especially because each monthly mortgage isn’t just paying the principle! In the beginning you are paying much more interest than principle! Make a monetary goal to save at least the 10% or 20% you need to avoid paying the PMI.
Need help managing your money? Check out my new Money Well Managed Workbook! It can help you see your financial status, build a budget, set goals and make a plan to achieve them! It’s only ten dollars!
Be Building your Credit Score
Yes, you need to have a good credit score! This score will impact the amount of interest you will pay for your loan. This can be an increase of thousands of dollars if you haven’t started building credit! Need some ideas to get started?
Check my ultimate money guide article for tips!
Shop around for Financing Options
I was so blessed to have an owner willing to finance the house for me. Sometimes this is an option. If it isn’t displayed in the description of the house don’t forget to ask if Owner financing is an option.
If it isn’t an option check around. A few mortgage places I’d check are:
Plan for the Extra Costs
I am not going to lie, I was not prepared for all the extra costs that came with buying my house. I currently have a few high credit card bills because I scrambled to make it work but don’t worry, I have a plan to pay them off!
The closing costs of my house were only around $1300 which are low but I wasn’t prepared for this. Some of it is attorney fees, insurance, taxes, etc.
THEN when I moved in and owned no furniture and one pan, my parents helped me pay for toilet paper and seasonings (they are great).
Then I had to get the house sprayed for carpenter bees and replace the hot water heater.
Know there are MANY costs to buying a house so have cushion in your savings plan!
Look at the Neighborhoods History
This is important when looking at purchasing a house. You need to look at the chance of this purchase being profitable in the long run. Has the zip code and city been increasing or decreasing in population? What does the ten year trend look like? Does it seem like it’s thriving or surviving?
If you aren’t sure about this ask a realtor! They can see all the trends and tell you if its a good investment area or not.
Let God Lead the Process
This is my top tip! If you are looking for a house invite God into the process then actually allow Him to lead it. It will be a MUCH easier process when you allow God to show off His love for you which is ALWAYS a blessing. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better home than this and I would NEVER have found it! It was never even on the market!
Good luck on the saving and house hunting process! Want to see a video tour of my house? Comment below!