Ahhh, it's a good month. The sun is bright, it was my 21st birthday a few days ago, and on the first day of June... THOMAS AND I BOUGHT OUR HOME!!
And yes, I'm saying OUR home and not just a home for a reason: We already live here!
So here's how this happened...
How it started
Since September of 2018, I've been renting a townhome in Forest Lake, Minnesota. It started out with my friend, Jen, and I renting together, and then Thomas moved up from Florida and in with us. Then Jen's boyfriend, Braden, moved in after their relationship got more serious and Jen was pregnant.
By October of 2019, Jen and Braden bought a house and moved out, so it was just Thomas and me. And while it was SO nice to have the privacy and luxury of a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom townhome all to ourselves, it didn't quite make sense for us to continue dishing out that much money in rent for a home larger than what we needed.
Our options moving forward
Our lease was ending in June, and we needed a plan. Being the list-maker that I am, I outlined all our potential options moving forward:
Move out and PURCHASE a home somewhere else.
Move out into a smaller apartment for 6-months to a year until we figure out our game plan.
Stay with my mom until we figure out our next move. (It would be VERY cramped).
Stay for another year renting here & have my mom move in.
Pay month-to-month (more expensive) and stay here until we figure out of next move.
There was LOTS to consider. We asked ourselves important questions like "What's more important to us, size or price?" "Which would we rather give on, living alone or purchasing now?" "If we rented for another year anywhere, could we still be happy?"
WOW. Just thinking about this all again makes my brain throb. (Let's just say, it was a crazy few months in my head).
What we wanted
What we WANTED and were determined to do was very apparent to us: We wanted to purchase a house. It was something we were excited about and that felt like the right step for us. I had been renting places for almost 4 years by this point, and I no longer wanted to spend money on rent that I could be spending on gaining equity.
One of the hardest aspects of this decision-making process was that Thomas and I were having a very difficult time qualifying for houses above $200-240k, due to a number of factors: he hadn't been working at his job in MN for more than two years, they were only considering one of my part-time jobs (so less than half my income), etc.
And please note that my intention is not to sound prissy, as though a $200k house is beneath us! We were simply evaluating what we were getting for what we would be spending, and how that compared to other regions.
For example, on one of my many Zillow quests, I saw houses between that price range in other states like Florida and Texas that I thought were gorgeous. But the ones I found near our area in Minnesota were almost all out-dated, oftentimes small, and in need of work. (There is a lot that goes into the "why?" behind MN properties being more expensive—MN has great healthcare, higher minimum wage, and so on). Not to mention it's a seller's market too.
This doesn't mean