Besides Leonardo and I, I don’t personally know of anyone else who purchased a home on his or her own (no co-signer – nada!) at 19 years old.
When you purchase a home at 19 (or even in your early to mid twenties, I suppose) you get used to people commenting on how young you are. I’ve gotten so many questions on how the process went, and a lot of confused faces when I respond to “don’t you love owning a home?!” questions with a short and sweet, “not really.”
So here are some things I wish I’d known about buying a house at 19…
1. Take Your Time and Fully Understand the Process.
When we submitted our first home offer, we were accepted right away. I remember being excited, but also thinking in the back of my head, “wait, what?” It is a huge decision, bigger than most 19 year olds even realize. Terms like homeowner’s insurance, escrow, and appraisal have been pretty foreign to you up until now, and the process of even getting approved for a home loan is no a piece of cake. I still get letters in the mail that I have to Google to even comprehend. I wish I would have understood the process and educated myself a bit more before officially taking the leap.
2. Don’t Rush the Process + Consider Key Elements.
As mentioned above, the first house we submitted an offer on (the second house we even looked at), we were accepted for. While this seemed a bit exciting at first…a couple years down the road we’ve realized we really aren’t as happy with the location or commute as we originally thought we’d be. I am an inner city girl all the way, and would like to live closer to the movers and shakers. At the end of the day, this was a lesson learned, and Leo and I will be sure to take our time and consider key elements like location and neighborhood with our next purchase.
3. You’re in for a constant work in project.
In my mind after the contractors completed the initial renovations, we’d be good to go. Sure, there might be the occasional leaky sink – but no big deal.
That’s NOT the case.
Broken appliances, lawn care responsibilities, plumbing problems… it seems there is always something to be done, and it isn’t as simple as calling maintenance to “please come fix it!” You always hear homeowners whine, “owning a home is so much work!” But at 19, that statement was as eye-roll worthy as anything beginning with “when I was your age…” However, it is sotrue. And at 19, (and 22 now), my fiancé and I are focused on chasing our dreams, not the faucet aisle in Home Depot. While it’s been a great experience, I’d be lying if I said we aren’t considering moving to a condo or apartment after officially finishing college. It suits our busy lifestyles better, and eliminates unnecessary stresses in our lives… and yes, I am talking about you snow plowing!
4. You feel a little “tied-down.”
I hate feeling tied down. I love being free, and able to literally pick up and move at a moments notice if that’s what I want to do. However, when you have a house… you obviously cant just leave it. You need to go through the process of selling it first, and with every first home purchase will inevitably come the first home sale. Not having sold a house before, it is something I need to educate myself on (just as I wish I had done more when purchasing it). If it were up to me, I’d live in an apartment forever – ha! But Leo being the business-minded person he is, he would rather we have an investment property… which leads me to #5.
5. It is a great investment!
Being a homeowner isn’t all bad though, in business terms it can be a great investment. Our house appraised well over what we bought it for, so we can rest assured we made a sound decision (and will surely make money when we go to sell). But again, appraisals and such weren’t really at the forefront of my mind when purchasing my home. I wasn’t looking at is as an investment, I just got lucky that the appraisal outcome turned out in our favor. If buying again though, I’d be sure to really consider the investment side of purchasing a home, and think long-term and re-sale.