For those who follow me on Facebook, you may have seen over the last few years our conversations about purchasing a home. This has been a 4-year long journey that we honestly didn’t anticipate considering for another 14 months.
For three years, we have been primarily focused on catching up our credit scores, paying off medical debt and student loans, and creating good credit with credit cards. We used Credit Karma to track our progress and find tips to continue improving. It certainly has been a lot of work and there were many times when we thought we would never be able to buy a home. Sometimes life just doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. That was certainly the case for us.
But the last year, we have had some great opportunities that allowed us to really crack down and focusing on our goals. Last year, because of my six month contract we were able to pay off almost all of our medical debt ($6,000 to go), and catch up on our student loans. We each got a credit card and have been using it for our regular purchases and paying them off as soon as we get paid, bringing our credit up from somewhere in the low 500s to 660 and 655.
We knew that if I could get another job, buying in the next 14 months was a distinct possibility.
Covid killed the job market, and the job I thought for sure I was going to get froze their hiring along with most companies. We were not going to be daunted though. I have been focusing my extra energy into bringing back the blog, my courses, and books. I’ve also offered marketing consultation to those who are using their extra time to pursue their passions. (If that is you, I am offering a free 30-minute consult, feel free to sign up.)
To keep ourselves motivated, and give ourselves a virtual vacation during lockdown, we spent a lot of time surfing Zillow for “date night” dreaming of the houses that we could buy in the very near future. We also use this to remind ourselves and motivate ourselves to put as much aside as possible. Sometimes saving is hard!
As we know we want to buy fairly close to us so Little Man can stay at his high school, we would take walks through the neighborhoods of some of the top houses we saw on Zillow. Work out while social distancing, win/win/win! We would stand outside these homes and envy the added space. We rented small to save more money. It was fine when we were working outside the home, doing sports, and mostly just eating and sleeping here. But with all three of us needing workspaces, it has gotten very small.
One Step Closer
As things began to open up throughout the state, one of the houses that we were keeping an eye on because it seemed like our dream home came back on the market. We’ve been stalking this home (and others with a similar design plan) for a couple of years now. This one had been on the market since January and then sold in March. We were so surprised to see it back on the market! We knew we just had to go and take a look. Donning our masks and gloves, we met up with a realtor.
We knew there was no way. It’s a half-million dollar home. (Which sounds like a lot of home, but in our area is actually middle-class home. Crazy, right?) Our fantasy home, with space we needed to meet all our dreams. (Ok, mine. James has some crazy wild fantasies. He regularly looks at multi-million dollar homes and lets that feed his fantasies!) We simply needed to look.
As we were wrapping up the tour the realtor turned to “the talk”
We told her that we were still working on our downpayment. We’d been using great calculators like this real estate calculator, and while we knew that ideally, we should have 20% down, 3-5% would be enough but we didn’t even have that much for this home. (That is still $15-25K!)
She said that loan rates had never been lower, because of Covid-19 and if we could take advantage of that, it would be awesome. Utah has some great programs for first-time homeowners and we could get in with 0 down if our credit was good enough. She had some great finance guys who could help us. Well, we were just shy of the 0 down (680 credit score) and while he suggested that we could look at a loan through the government, it wouldn’t have been enough to get us into what we wanted and definitely was not as good a program for us. He referred us to another lender who had some great 0 down programs to consider. This was through Mountain America Credit Union.
Closer than We Could Hope
We were really impressed with this guy. He said that we were so close to our 0 down goal credit rating and could easily get there in 3-6 months. He answered all of our questions about how the loans work and if we would be able to still get one if we had some down payment to help offset costs.
We are on track, y’all. Our big focuses to get us into our dream home are to find me more income (Covid-19 has made that difficult, but slowly the job market is opening back up.) bring in a bit more income from the blog/ courses/ books, and get our credit scores up just a smidge more and work on that downpayment. James’ income has been just enough to cover his student loans and paying on the medical debt but is not quite enough to cover my student loans as well. My income will be what determines how soon we can get our home.
We are staying positive and working hard to make it happen.
And after spending my birthday weekend checking out some other open houses, we know better what we’re willing to let go of, and what we know we need in our forever home. As we’re so much closer to this, I will be doing more posts about our process, progress, and probably some DIY once we move because we’re pretty handy people and don’t mind a bit of a fixer-upper as long as it has the space for us to make it what we want.
Yet, every chance I get we walk by that dream home and I get a little jump in my heart seeing the sign and hoping it doesn’t sell before we can get things in place!
Do you have questions about home buying or building your credit? Do you have input into things we should consider as we take on this new adventure? Share in the comments below!
Until next time,