Hey guys! Thanks for taking a peak at this non-wedding post. It may not have pretty pictures, but I think it has some cool info :).
Along Matt & my's journey to purchasing a home in Southern California not far from the ocean, we learned a lot of valuable lessons and tips that we wanted to share with you —especially if it’s your goal to be a first-time home buyer in Southern California!
Now, you might read these points and think they are “no-brainer” tips – and if you do think that, you are completely right! Our first lesson we learned on our journey was even when we knew what the answers were, in order to create a PLAN OF ACTION, we had to visually SEE them. This helped us realize we COULD make them happen. These things are doable! The challenge is, do you want to commit to doing them? We are all capable of taking on any challenge!
Saving Money: THIS is key to purchasing a home – because you have a down payment to make.
So What Big Things Hinder Us Californians From Saving in This Day and Age?
1. RENTING is a big one. Renting, as awesome as it is for us in our teens, twenties, and thirties, is a secret killer to saving money in SoCal. Some jobs/situations make it difficult to avoid renting, I get that. However, if you can sacrifice by living at your parents/family member's house or finding another source of more affordable housing (don't be afraid to think outside the box), you can save thousands of dollars a year – which gets you that much closer to your home-owning goals! Here are some great money-saving books that helped Matt & me:
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Think & Grow Rich
2. DEBT. This is also a secret killer to saving money. Student debt, car debt, consumer debt such as credit cards, all that debt goes against your freedom for future purchasing and qualifying for any sort of loan (not only for a house!). Debt is overwhelming, and most of the time, we are too scared to check in and see what we have ball & chained to us. Just remember – you are not alone and it is NOT impossible! You can conquer that debt and not let it have control over your life! A motivational book that helped us take care of any debt is called Dear Debt. It is written by a woman who conquered $81,000 of student loans and shares her inspiring story alongside of the tools she used!
- Dear Debt
(You CAN have debt when purchasing a house, but if your debt/income ratio isn’t favorable, qualifying for a loan is difficult.)
What Habits Help Us Californians Save in this Day and Age?
1. Cutting Down Consumer Spending: Think about what you purchase every day. Do you really need everything you buy to actually get by?
2. Budgeting: A great budgeting app for your smartphone is called “Every Dollar,” created by Dave Ramsey. Matt & I use it every day – and it definitely helps us stick to our budgeting goals! Try it out!
A few Basic Reminders About Qualifying for a Home Loan!
1. CONSISTENT INCOME. In order to qualify for a loan, the lender has to prove that you can afford the mortgage payment every month. They ask for your income salary and, if you own your own business, they take your average income of the past few years.
2. STRONG CREDIT. You also want to have the best credit score you possibly can – so pay off those credit cards and loans!
3. Can’t afford the loan by yourself? It’s great to have a partner! Having a partner bumps up your total qualifying income, because they combine your incomes together. What if you don’t have a go-to partner? That’s okay – it is still possible! Other partners, like a family member, could co-sign on the loan in order to help you qualify for the house you want!
4. First time home buyers: if you are a Veteran, you can qualify with 0% down. If it is a FHA loan you take out, you can qualify with 3% down. There are other types of loans (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, etc.) that you can educate yourself on – but there is one rule that will never change: the more money you can put down, the more competitive your offer is!
A Few More Books that Helped Us with a Goal-Oriented Mindset and Positive Spirit:
- Miracle Morning
- The Leader Who Had No Title
- The Power of Now
- The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
There is so much more to learn on your home-buying journey, but I hope that this info brings to the surface some basic ideas to chew over! Hearing of & being reminded of these things throughout Matt & I’s process helped us BIG TIME. Set goals, challenge yourself, and know that you CAN do whatever you set your mind to! Shoutout to our parents, Jim & Sue Birmingham, our friends, and Jesus. Happy Sunday friends!
(And if you are looking for beyond-exceptional real estate agents that care about YOU and your dreams, get in touch with Dennis & Jennifer Schutt at firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com! Hey, what do you know, it's my parents! )