4 Things I Wish I’d Known About Buying A House In My Twenties

photo: Natalie Off Duty

 

This month I finally (finally!) moved into my first house. Everyone keeps asking me what the buying process is actually like. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a walk in the park. Buying a house in your 20s, you’re going to get a lot of people remarking on how young you are.

Here are a few quick tips if you’re buying in your twenties…

1. Sit down with an expert

At 25, I don’t yet consider myself great with money. I’m still in that stage of rewarding myself with Amazon Prime Now deliveries of chocolates and makeup. I didn’t start the process of buying a house until February 2017. For me, that was the right time, but I was still nervous about my money. Having that first meeting with the financial advisor was the best thing I’ve ever done.

No amount of research into the home buying process could help me get my head around how it actually worked. I had to ask the mortgage advisor a lot of stupid questions before everything clicked.

2. Become well versed in paperwork

There is paperwork for everything. Paperwork about borders of land you’re buying, paperwork about your life insurance, paperwork about your will, paperwork about your home insurance. Basically, you need to get a good filing system.

Closing costs (or stamp duty) add extra to your fees before you complete and can call the house yours. In the UK, stamp duty is higher for properties worth over £250,000. Then there are solicitor fees, we paid extra to have the highest level of checks on the property so they could tell us if there were any dangerous materials if the walls were cracking and if there was anything we need to take care of as a priority. All those additional costs (check your homeowners’ association fees too) should add up to around 25%-35% of your income.

3. Be a negotiator 

Don’t go big, start with a small first offer. And negotiate, always. I had to give four offers before one was accepted, but the negotiation wasn’t over. The next step is negotiating dates to move in, that was a real nightmare.

In the UK, you set an exchange date where your solicitor passes contracts with the other people in the chain. We were told this would be in April, then May, then June 17th, then July, then August. It happened a week before we completed and got the keys. It’s different depending on where you live, and in the US your realtor will do some of the back and forth for you.

4. Don’t make rash decisions 

Shop around. I saw a few houses, and if I’d gone with the first ones we’d seen because they were nice and the area was pretty, I’d be pretty unhappy now. The house I bought has excellent commuter links, the ones I originally liked were way too far away. I thought I was right and that we just had to get out and get our own place, but taking the time to look around was really worth it.

Most realtors and investors say that one of the most common things first time buyers will do is rush into things when they see a house they like in their price range. It pays to think like an experienced buyer.

GOOD THINGS

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  • Buying a house when I was 26 years old was the best decision I ever made financially. By the time I sold it in my early thirties, I had plenty of money in savings and investments that others my age just didn’t have. Simply because the money I spent each month went toward an investment (real estate) instead of an expense (rent). Doing so in my twenties put me years ahead financially. I could not recommend it more! Best of wishes in your new home!

  • Buying a house in my twenties is definitely a goal of mine, and this was very informational. Thank you for sharing.
    http://www.ceciliaboat.com

  • I have been thinking about buying a house as well so these tips were great to read! Im excited to sit down with someone soon to discuss my financial goals and see if it’s possible to buy a place. Thanks for sharing!!

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

  • Hannah Swinson

    I have just bought my first house on my own, I’m now waiting on the keys. 2 weeks and counting!! This is such a good post for those making the jump on to the property ladder, it’s the most terrifying and exciting thing that I have ever done. Just make you mortgage advisor your best friend and annoy your solicitor, they get a wiggle on if your persistant xx

  • Good tips. At the same time, I think we can get caught up in the whole “I need to buy a house because renting is throwing away money” idea, which isn’t always true.

    Better to explore all your financial options if you are looking to invest instead of jumping on the housing bandwagon.

    Vanessa
    http://www.modernflourish.com

  • Rachel Luoto

    I’m in my 20s and just bought a house! Thank you for the advice; so many people fall in love with their perfect house and it’s gone before they can offer because they are not ready financially, or don’t have a mortgage pre approved. It’s especially great if you want to eventually move somewhere that housing is expensive. Even with a six figure income, a six figure down payment is hard to save for! Having a small property to cash out when it’s time to move up helps so much

  • really interesting post, I’m just getting into the process of saving for a mortgage- I suppose i’ll be saving way more than I thought!- what’re your thoughts on help to buy schemes? Would they do some of those check for you seeing as its not fully ‘owned’ by you to begin with? x