Well, it’s official. After 6 months of renting a house and talking about the next step of buying a house, Chris and I finally have a plan and timeline in place for this next big milestone in our lives. It’s scary but exciting all at the same time!
When we moved last October into the house we’re in now, we said we would be here for a couple years before buying a house, but now our timeline has switched to one year, which means we’re now aiming to move this fall/winter. We want to shoot for this move-in date because fall/winter is not a popular time to move which means housing prices should be a little cheaper than they normally would be in the summer. Plus, moving in the cold sounds way better than moving in the hot summer months. As for buying a house a year earlier than we planned, the reason for that is because living in someone else’s house has made us realize we want a house of our own. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve absolutely LOVED being in our new place with way more space than our apartment and living in a nicer neighborhood; it’s been a huge upgrade for sure! But we’re just feeling ready to have a place to call ours.
So now that our timeline has changed, we’re getting ready financially, mentally, etc. We have a realtor already: my dad! He’s been giving us advice and sending us house listings in the area we want to buy so we can get an idea of prices and what’s available. We plan to get prequalified in July at my credit union once I’ve been at my job for a year. (Typically you have to be at your job for two years to qualify but my dad thinks since Chris has been at his job for over two years, we’ll be fine.) And of course, we’re in major saving mode. Chris and I already have a little money saved for the down payment, but we’d like to increase that amount. We know for sure we won’t have a 20% down payment saved by fall, but we at least want to shoot for 10%. Being in major saving mode means continuing to do all the things I already do to save and more.
Even though we’re planning to leave our current house sooner than expected, I’m still really glad we decided to rent a house first before we commit to buying one because living here has had a lot of perks:
- We’re learning what we want and don’t want in a house. For example, we live in a two-story now but we decided we don’t want to buy a two-story because stairs are annoying.
- We’re getting into the practice of landscaping and maintaining a yard. Having to do yard work was a big adjustment coming from an apartment.
- We’re deciding if we like the neighborhood before we commit to living here long-term. So far, Chris and I like it here and we think it’s a nice area for what we can afford.
- We’re buying stuff we’ll need for our house now instead of later to help break up the costs. Since we’ve been in our new place, we’ve bought a refrigerator, washer and dryer, bigger dining table, shelving for the garage, lawnmower, etc. It’ll be nice that we don’t have to buy all this stuff once we move into our new home because most of our money will be going to the down payment, inspection fees, and who knows what else.
- We bought ourselves time. When our apartment lease ended in October, we were ready to move but we weren’t ready to buy just yet. Since the cost of renting an apartment is almost the same as renting a house in Sacramento right now, we decided to just rent a house for a while so we could have some of the luxeries of a house until we figured out our house-buying plan.
Now that Chris and I have a plan and a timeline in place, everything is so much more real. We’re really going to do this! Like I said in the beginning, buying a house is a ginormous financial commitment and it took me a while to warm up to the idea, but now I’m getting more and more excited about it. Most of all, I’m proud of Chris and I for being smart about this decision and not rushing into it. Chris has owned a house before but lost it during the housing market crash of 2008, so he has experienced first-hand the financial stress that can come with being a homeowner. I’ve experienced my own financial stress in the past, which is why I’ve been a little nervous about taking on the responsibility of home ownership, but since Chris and I have both learned from our financial mistakes, I’m confident we can do this and do it right.