People in their 20s — especially women — often dismiss the prospect of homebuying for many reasons.
They think they can’t afford it. They think it’s too much work. Or they convince themselves they need to wait until they’re married or have a family.
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However, single women accounted for 11 percent of homebuyers in 2019. I’ve spoken with a handful of these women whose path led them to purchase a home. Even though I went a different route, I hope these stories serve as inspiration. Maybe home buying is a viable path for you.
A Homeowner at 22
Let’s set the stage. Two years ago, Megan graduated from Michigan State after working her way through all four years of school. With an on-campus job and parents who paid for her freshman year, Megan paid off her remaining student loans within a year after graduating.
After landing a job as a Test Analyst that earned her $47k a year, and knowing that buying was substantially cheaper than renting in the Michigan area, she began the search for a home.
She had it mapped out: “I had tentative plans to get a roommate, Airbnb out a room, and needed a bit of extra space for a side hustle I was working on.”
After finding the perfect house at 22, Megan’s parents loaned her the money for the closure with the promise that she would pay them back over seven years at 3 percent interest. This deal was due to her “bargaining power and to save some money on mortgage fees, closing costs, and interest.”
Megan, having grown her financial education over the years, knew she wanted to have a rock-solid emergency fund and some cushion money for unexpected costs before closing on the home.
She can still recall the first time she hosted in her new home. “I threw a terrible housewarming party my first weekend when my only furniture was a bed, a dresser, and a dining room table. We played hide and seek, and my guests willingly slept on the living room floor.”
Considerations Before Buying a House
Megan says that the top two factors she took into consideration were the house’s price and location, followed by its age and size. In order to help her achieve her priority goals, she set a budget of $100,000 and researched to find the safest neighborhoods in her city.
She opted for a house priced at $80,000. It was in a medium-safe neighborhood and one mile from downtown. One unexpected bonus: the sense of community with surrounding neighbors.
Although she originally wanted a house that was built no earlier than 1970, her final choice was built in 1921. So far, so good: “It was recently renovated, and I haven’t had any issues yet — fingers crossed!”
The last thing on her list was the size of the house. She toured a few homes that were tiny — no more than 800 square feet. Her home is double that, coming in at 1500 square feet, with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a fully finished third floor. “This was plenty of room for my needs but wasn’t unnecessarily large.”
Let’s Talk Cost
Using her parents’ loan, Megan was able to pay for her house in cash. She intends to pay off the loan, plus that 3 percent interest, in five years.
Utilities run about $350 during the winter months, and around $150 the rest of the year. She pays $1,700 in property taxes and $800 for homeowners insurance per year. So once her loan is cleared, her monthly costs will only be $430 per month.
Advice for Others Looking into Home Buying
Megan has made a habit of forging her own path, on her own terms. “From studying engineering to graduating college early, doing six months of solo travel, and now being a homeowner, I’m used to people being surprised and even confused when this stuff comes up in conversation.”
To help build camaraderie in this tradition-bucking crew, she enjoys sitting down with peers to talk about their trials and errors, mistakes and successes from over the years. In this way, she inspired two other single female coworkers to purchase their own homes.
Whenever the topic of home buying comes up, she consistently offers one piece of advice: Be aware of extra expenses; the cost can add up quickly.
Megan’s path led to homeownership, but she also wants tentative buyers to keep one thing in mind: “Renting is most definitely not throwing money away, especially if you aren’t committed to the area you’re in, or even doing year-round yard maintenance.”
But for her, the commitment is worth the cost. “Homeownership is an incredibly rewarding opportunity, and I’m thankful every single day that I had the chance to do this at such a young age.”
Please note Megan is not a wealth management client of PCAC. Personal Capital compensates Tori Dunlap (“Author”) for providing the content contained in this blog post. Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author’s webpage (www.HerFirst100k.com) to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital’s Free Financial Dashboard. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Personal Capital and/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to PCC. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to PCC and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by PCC’s affiliated adviser, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, PCC or PCAC as a result of this arrangement. Additional information about PCAC is contained in Form ADV Part 2A available here. The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC.