Updated: Feb 1, 2022
I became a homeowner at the age of 23. My husband and I got married in 2011. We did not know exactly where we wanted to live, therefore we decided we should test the waters and we chose to rent a cozy apartment in Lorton, Virginia. A great little city right off interstate 95 which allowed us to easily commute to work and gave us accessibility to all the fun places we wanted to explore in Washington DC and Northern Virginia.
Our first year of marriage was all bliss… aww young love! In comes 2012 another year of marriage, more fun exploring and a letter from our apartment complex’s manager stating that the end of the year meant our rent would increase. We live in a thriving yet expensive area in our country and our rent was already what most would consider high and now we had to pay more just because they said so. We thought of different ways to combat this increase, I can march in there and try to negotiate our rent with the manager or we could look for different apartments. These options still left us at the mercy of somebody else.
We sat, talked and decided we should look into buying a house. We always knew we wanted to buy but reserved that idea to when we were truly settled and set on what city was going to be perfect for us. I also believed it wasn’t truly necessary as we did not yet have children.” Let me just say this LOUDER for the people in the back…. You do not need to have children to buy a home!” This unexpected increase in rent accelerated our interest. We purchased our first home in 2013 this decision made a huge impact in how we made the rest of our financial decisions and years later it impacted what career I chose… spoiler alert Real Estate Agent!
The meaning of homeownership is changing and it’s a great time to get educated on the ins and out of buying property. Is home ownership right for you and is now the time to buy? I will be writing a series with the steps to buying a home so that you can answer this question for yourself but for now let’s get a better sense of the benefits of owning a home.
There are several benefits to owning a home my favorite is emotionally having a place you can truly call yours. A family home becomes an anchor to the unit and gives all its members a sense of security. Having the freedom to make changes inside and out and not having to answer to anyone but yourself. In today’s Northern Virginia market, it usually cost less to own than to rent and the payment you make every month is contributing to your personal net worth. Your net worth will grow in two ways, one is appreciation of your home's increased value over time. The second is mortgage tax deductions because home ownership is a great tax shelter and tax rates always favor homeowners. Another benefit of home ownership if done responsibly is that you can leverage a home to accomplish things such as remodels, college education or small business startups.
The icing on the cake is that when you purchase a home you are no longer paying for someone else's mortgage and therefore you are leveraging your home to create legacy wealth. Legacy wealth is accompanied with knowledge. When parents own a home, it is almost inherent that their children will too. If you come from a family of renters, it is what you believe to be the normal succession to life, therefore there are no conversations about homeownership and what you need to acquire a home of your own.
The education system is not designed to prepare you for home ownership. I do not recall being taught about my credit score, savings and resources available to me in school. The only way you can get this knowledge at a young age is from family or good friends who had the opportunity to buy or happen to have experience in this particular field. Education is a critical component but at the same time it’s a barrier because most if not guided by a savvy homeowner or professional do not know the resources that are available to them.
It's important for me to help you gain knowledge about the different resources available for first time home buyers. Programs that give down payment assistance and income-based assistance too. Another factor that is extremely important in order to own a home is your credit. This little number should be monitored and protected. Paying bills on time and not overextending ourselves with debt are the building blocks to a healthy credit score.
I usually refer to home ownership as a process because there are steps needed to accomplish the goal of owning your own home. Do not allow uncertainty or fear stop you from sitting down with me for an in-depth conversation about what you need in order to get to that finish line. Knowing when you are ready to make the leap and buy your first home is not easy if you don’t have a well-structured plan. I want to reassure you that I will be your guide through it all and together we will learn and break down any barriers that may present because owning a home is a life changing opportunity. In the coming years home buyer’s demographics will change in Northern Virginia, education is key to making home ownership a reality.
Next time I will be exploring the very popular question… Am I ready for home ownership?
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