I’ve been a REALTOR® for 4 years and have been trying to purchase my own home in just about that same amount of time.
2012 – 2013
Here’s the backstory. I graduated grad school in August 2012. I started working for a nonprofit in South Dallas in January 2013 where the premise of our business was revitalizing South Dallas and homeownership was one of those ways. There was no way I could talk about the values of homeownership without buying my own home. However, credit stood in my way. I knew I made mistakes from college that hunted me. The income and the debt weren’t syncing to make it right. Until one day, I decided I wanted a house. Working at the nonprofit, I knew what credit score I needed to have. I believe when I started on my credit, my score was at 585. I needed a minimum of 620 to get a down payment assistance program and go from there. I managed my money, I saved, and I would scroll online. Looking for a home was the easy part. It wasn’t until I found a home around the corner from my then apartment that was perfect. It had a pink and green room and a doggy door. It was perfect for me, so I thought? I called the Realtor to show it to me. It was a foreclosure listed at $120K. I had already did a cost analysis being a Housing Counselor so I knew how much I could possibly afford.
When I walked into this house, the ceiling was caved in. You could see mold and so much more. There was mildew around the doggy door and I wanted to run. RUN THE HELL OUT and kill the dream. LOL
I immediately went back to the drawing board. The fixer upper home was NOT in my budget. It sounds nice on paper but what people fail to realize is the cost of fixer upper. If you can barely afford the downpayment like I was at that moment, a fixer upper may not be for you. Cosmetic updates and fixer upper are two different things.
I had gotten my real estate license in between that time and decided this was the chance for me to be able to really scour through the market. I connected with a few lenders and found one I liked to work my own house deal. She qualified me for $120K which was right on the money for the foreclosure home that I saw. However, at that time, I had started doing deals in real estate and was ready to leave my full time job. I told the lender that and she was like yeah to get a home being self-employed, you’ll need 2 years of tax returns. What? That meant I would have to wait 2 years before coming back to get qualified. Well, 2016 it would be.
FAST FORWARD TO 2016!
I’m ready to get a mortgage. I’ve made decent money in real estate so I should be good. Well, I went with a different lender that I worked with. He approved me but at this time $140K. You know why? As a self-employed person, we pay A LOT in taxes. I saw the first estimate and was like no thank you. Therefore my income was lower than I originally told the lender (self-employed people are qualified based on the income they report to the IRS) and the average of 24 months only qualified for $140K. I knew where I wanted to live and $140K wasn’t even buying a door to the house. I spread out my options within Denton County between Little Elm, Aubrey, Cross Roads, Oak Point, The Colony, Carrollton, and Lewisville. I knew for sure I loved the 380 area however homes were around $180-200K. I halted the process then and said I would try again in 2017. I knew my taxes for 2015 and 2016 combined would have more income than my taxes for 2014 and 2015 were.
By tax time, I knew I had to make my numbers stand out to buy my house. In simplest terms, I knew I couldn’t write off everything. I had to strategically plan it out and know what the estimated taxes would look like. Thank GOD for a past client would recommended their CPA. I saved so much in taxes and still claimed the income that I needed. It was at that moment, I was able to purchase a home up to $246K. Originally, my budget was set at $180K. I set myself up on a search on the MLS for homes under $200K in my desired areas. I noticed that the homes that were under $200K were getting slim. I had to act fast and knew I wasn’t getting under $200K in my desired area.
This was it. I was finally going to do it. I scoured through the area that I wanted to buy in after narrowing it down to 3 communities. I LOVED new construction and thought it would be the best way to save more money to purchase, give me a great timeframe, and sign one more 6 month lease to end apartment living forever.
*Check out the next blog/vlog as I walk you through my home buying process.*
Feeling inspired to begin your home buying process? Visit newavenuerealty.com.