Momma Told Me: Future First Time Home Buyer Coming Through!

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Future First Time Home Buyer Coming Through!

***This post is in no way sponsored; it is composed of original content and thoughts, exclusive to the writer. All images contained there in are public property or stock. I am not a professional financial advisor, please do not take anything I say as such.
 Momma Told Me: Life's full of big firsts.

I have an announcement. Okay, a declaration.

We have decided to buy a home. After 10 years of renting, more than 1/3 and nearly half of my life, I have grown tired of tossing money into the wind in exchange for another month with a roof over my head. My parents made their big move from renters to home owners when I was 10, placing them in their mid-thirties, and a decade ahead of me. Like most of these life goals I set out to tackle, this is no exception; I feel constantly judged by my age. Naturally anyone who has been on this planet for a few decades knows that age is no indication of maturity or one's ability to handle responsibility. Unfortunately, when buying a home, there are some things considered that simply must come with age. (For example,it's hard to have established credit at 20.) So I have waited, patiently, and through an entire marriage, for the right time to dip my toe into the homeowner pool and gauge the water's interest.
This week we took 'the plunge.' We met with a Loan Officer, whom we'll consider the Dog the Bounty Hunter of Mortgages, and received an honest assessment of our income and credit (FICO scores). When I got married, in what seems like another lifetime now, I left the 9-5 workplace and began finding sources of income from home, in hopes of having a family. When that didn't work out I had a several year gap on my resume, and found I could make a more stable income continuing what I was doing at home, rather than try to re-enter the workplace. This was great for our bottom line, but not for income taxes. You see, I lack the 'job security' mortgage lenders require to qualify for a home loan. Thankfully Jay has his minimum years in security, and our combined income solidifies us for a decent loan.

Unfortunately, my marriage put a few dings on my credit history. 2 debts, school loans and a whopping $1,300 Time Warner collection (for un-returned cable boxes) equal a debt of about $5200 on my credit history. Both incidents are near their 3 year 'turn the other way' credit history length, and we found ourselves with 2 options for resolution. We could wait for both incidents to drop off my credit history through the next year, or haggle with collections to reach a settlement and bring my FICO up to the golden 640 within 6 months of payment. Whether I want to point fingers or not, both debts were incurred with my knowledge of the consequences, and fighting the ex-husband for his financial responsibility would likely take even longer. So I resolved to clear my outstanding debts in good faith; and the 6 month wait begins.
retro home
We're fortunate that Jay's younger age, and limited credit applications, put him in great standing with his credit score, and stable job. Once my FICO is settled we're told we'll have no problem moving onto the next stage of home ownership- loan pre-approval. Unfortunately, I still feel completely lost in all of the steps and technicalities.We are lucky that we have a little nest egg built up in savings, and our income and status will qualify us for a no-payment down first home; but the enormous weight of choosing a home is over-whelming. When the water heater breaks there will be no landlord to cry to; and moving because the neighbors are into some shady activity won't be an option. This is a 30 year commitment, less with good behavior, but let's face it, buying a home is long term. Whether we end up in a modest condo, or a humble 2 bedroom stand alone, I know the journey and result will be full of it's own new challenges.
mortgage agreement
Right now we have 6 months to seriously discuss and think about what our dream home means. Naturally, this will be a 'starter' home, something smaller and within our first-time range. Unfortunately, with the market being down right now first time buyers like us will have to fight to edge out the investors trying to make cash offers on properties in our budget. And deciding to invest in a foreclosure property could be immediately beneficial on the bottom line, but prove more risk than it's worth in repairs and upkeep. If I had my druthers we'd be moving out of Southern California to a more rural (and affordable) part of the country, like Oregon. This beach gal has had enough of fabulous, expensive, California living. I want a small little cottage in the woods with a tire swing. *sigh* But people aren't seeds to be blown with the wind, we are established plants, with roots (family). And buying our first home is stressful enough without having to re-locate states!

These are the things that keep swimming through my head. Am I making the right decisions? 6 months may seem like a lit of time, but life flies by before we know it. Do you have any tips for making these decisions and navigating the first time home buying market?

What Daughter Says: From my first steps to my first home, these firsts don't get any easier, but are just as rewarding!



9 comments:

  1. Ah, I remember these days. It can be very stressful, but you will most likely find it very rewarding to own and not have money going to another owner. It sounds like you have some solid goals that around not outrageous. Decide what are your absolute "must haves" for that first home. Our first home was a bit of a fixer, but mostly cosmetic. I wish you the best of luck with the process.

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  2. I too wish you could move from California. You could get so so so much more with your money. That being said, look for short sales especially foreclosures. You have 15-30 days to get many foreclosures before investors can move in. Have a great inspector lined up.

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  3. I remember the days when we bought a house. It was so stressful but then being in it, was just amazing!! The market is so bad around our part of town now! I wish you nothing but the best of luck!

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  4. I love going on house hunting! It's a lot of fun. DO take your time deciding because it's a very important decision that you cannot reverse once you do a bid.

    Diva Fabulosa Lifestyle and Fashion Blog

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  5. Congratulations on buying your first house! Just remember that a house doesn't make a home....love does. We've bought several houses and what made each one special was the memories we made there.

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  6. Good luck on your journey. I am in the process of cleaning up my credit so that we can purchase the home we now live in.

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  7. We get to close in on our first home together this 5th of June. He is a previous home owner though and has good credit. Mine got ruined when I was young in highschool and is still recovering like yours :/

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  8. You are right, it is a daunting task! When we bought our first home our daughter was only 3 months old. The home we bought was the first home she didn't scream in when when went to look at it! We have out-grown the home, but with the housing market we would now lose too much money trying to sell it. Luckily we love our neighborhood and the home.

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  9. I wish you all the best in getting things in order and purchasing your first home. My husband and I are in the same boat right now. We meet with two loan officers later today to discuss possible pre-approval and/or what we need to do to get things in order to purchase our first home.

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