Big Announcement: We Bought Our First Home!

I am so excited to finally share the big news with you guys! I’ve had to wait some weeks just until everything was official but I can now finally say…We just bought our first home and I am so so excited. As I’m writing you right now, we’re still in our apartment (unfortunately) but we’re just days away from moving into our home. I never imagined that at 21 years old I’d already be a homeowner! And honestly we weren’t even planning on buying a home this year. It all just sort of happened. Let me explain.

I was never crazy about our current apartment. In fact, when we moved in it was with the idea that we would only stay for one year since it was a last minute emergency. And that’s exactly what we did. Throughout the time we lived here, I would look at other rental listings in the area. They were all far overpriced and were not good looking at all! We live in California, mind you, so everything is a bit more expensive here. I was feeling hopeless and like we would never be able to move into a nicer place. I never thought of buying a home because I just imagined that it’d just be too expensive. So one day I decided to just try looking at how much our monthly payments would be for a mortgage. What I saw was that for just a few hundred more , we could move into some really beautiful places. I just couldn’t believe it! Once I realized how affordable it would be for us, I just couldn’t fathom renting. It just didn’t make sense to me anymore. I thought we were saving so much money by renting when in reality we were just wasting money. The cost for renting was very close (if not the same in some cases) to the cost of having a mortgage. And at least when you’re paying a mortgage, you know that you’re working on paying it off and that you’ll eventually be done. Whereas with renting, you’ll just be endlessly making payments on a place that will never be yours. And with buying a home, if there’s anything you don’t like, you can always change it and eventually make the place your dream home. But with renting, it’s as is, so if you hate the kitchen, the carpet, or anything else, you just have to accept it.

So once we realized the benefits of buying a home and that it was something we could afford right now, we decided to check with our realtor friend to see how much we could qualify for a house, how much we’d need to save for a down payment, and the exact monthly cost that we’d have to pay. She of course gave us the information for a loan lender who would break down all the numbers for us. We found out that we had enough in savings to buy a place right then and there! My husband has always been a really good saver so we already saved enough for a down payment and then some. But from what I read online, I thought we would have to spend 6 months to a year or more of saving to have enough. In my mind, I didn’t think we would be able to buy a place at least for another year. But because we qualified for a really good first time buyer loan, we were able to put down a really low amount. Our realtor friend got right to work and by that weekend, she had us viewing 10 houses!

We put offers on four houses before we finally got the final one we wanted. We’re glad it worked out the way it did because this final house was the one we were actually the most excited about. All the other houses we had put offers on would need work on them. But this final one is move in ready and gorgeous. (I plan on sharing pictures with you guys once we’re actually moved in.) The first home, I really liked the area (it was a safe, quiet, and gated community) but I wasn’t crazy about the carpet, the kitchen tile, or the wall colors. But we were willing to change it ourselves because to us the structure and area were most important since everything else inside can pretty much be changed. It had a really cute backyard that was already landscaped. It was bright inside and had high ceilings. It was really nice. But unfortunately there was one person before us who made an offer and theirs got accepted first.

The second home had a really nice layout too and it was in a really good area. It needed some work too but nothing too extreme. It was probably as much work as the first one. But we were willing to save up to make those changes and then DIY any projects that we could. The problem with this one was that it needed a new roof put in right away, before we could even move in. We were given an estimate of at least $15k. But you have to buy homeowner’s insurance first before the lenders will want to loan you out the money for the house. But no insurance company would want to insure a house that has such a major problem like that. So we would be kind of stuck with that one. We asked the homeowner if they’d be able to fix the roof before we moved in but he said no. So we decided to just end it there. We just had a gut feeling that it was going to be a big mess for us and on top of that, they previously had a termite and bed bug issue. The house had been tented but we still worried if maybe there were some lurking. I know its not likely but it was just something that was on the back of my mind. So we ended that one right there.

The third home, we only had our offer on it for a day. I basically didn’t know that once you make an offer on the home and its accepted, that you are now in contract with the homeowner. You could still pull out but you would lose your down payment which is thousands of dollars. So after we had our offer in for about a day and I learned that we would be in contract, I told my husband that I felt we should take our offer out before it even got accepted. Fortunately, it hadn’t yet gotten accepted so we were able to not lose any money and move on. With this third house, I wasn’t really crazy about it at all. I didn’t like the layout, it was a nice block but right around the corner was a gas station that is notorious for its crime. It had an industrial building in the backyard so that would’ve been our view, and it still needed a whole kitchen remodel. But I was OK with making an offer because in my mind I thought that meant that it would be just the same as holding a spot for you and that you could back out at anytime. Once i realized that wasn’t the case, I quickly told my husband that we should back out of it. And I’m so happy we did! The seller was hesitant to accept our offer too which I felt weird about. I never wanted it to be forced on either of our sides. So if she wasn’t feeling it for some reason, then I just rather she didn’t sell to us.

And now finally our fourth home, the actual one that we’ll be closing on. It’s the one we wanted right from the start but the only thing that held us back was the high HOA payment (Home Owner’s Association). Every HOA will cover different things. For most of them in our area, they just handle the yard work so that’s what we assumed this one would cover too. My husband really wanted this place though so he called back weeks later to ask for specifics on what would be included in this HOA. To our surprise, we found out that it would cover our water bill, it would take care of the outside of our home (like the roof), it covers the yard maintenance, and more. So basically it included bills that we would already need to pay, it wasn’t really adding more. Once we found that out, we realized that we really could afford it. It would be equal in payments to the previous homes that we had put offers on but this one is all ready to go with a newly done kitchen, walk-in closets, and remote controlled windows, plus its on the water so it has beautiful views.

Once we realized we could afford this fourth home that we really loved, we put an offer and had it accepted in about a day. We then had it inspected and the inspector said it was perfect and spotless. He couldn’t find anything wrong in the foundation, no cracks, nothing. That was such a relief to us because I’ve learned that a home can look beautiful on the outside but have so many problems within and I worried that would be the case with this one too. We had the appraiser come out and he said it was worth more than we had to pay so that was nice to here. All we’re working on now are the closing docs. We should be moved in in less than 10 days now (that’s the estimate we were given). Once we do, I will definitely be sharing pictures with you guys. I can’t wait to get it all together and share the final results. I think I’ll do an empty house tour first and then a fully furnished one.

I just honestly cannot believe that we’re buying our first home and right now too! Like I said, that wasn’t our plan for this year at all. I didn’t think we even had enough in savings for a house right now. But to my surprise we had more than enough. I am just so grateful to be in the position that I am. I see it as a blessing and I am just so appreciative for it all. I’m grateful for my hard working husband and for his money saving skills too.

I hope you enjoyed me sharing more of my personal life with you guys. It’s something I’m trying to do more of. I hope this article was informative for you all as well. Maybe you’re in the home buying process, or about to be, so I hoped this helped you understand the steps a little bit more. If you guys liked this article please give it a like down below and follow if you’d like to see more from me. Thank you for your support as always.

Till next time,

Paula Moral

How To Save Up To Buy A House

Buying a house may be closer to your reach than you think. It’s all just a matter of controlling your money and making it work for you. In today’s article, I want to share with you the top 5 tips that have helped us save. I hope these will help you guys too so you can start this new, exciting chapter in your life.

1. My first tip would be to find the cheapest grocery store to buy your food. We previously did our grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s (a health food store) but that would easily bring our total price to $200 and sometimes more per week. And we’re just a family of two adults and a toddler! I searched around to see what stores had the best prices for food. It turns out that Walmart has some of the best prices. So I now do the majority of my grocery shopping there. But…surprise, surprise…the 99 cent store actually has a whole lot of produce all for $1! When I shop there, we save $70 a week which adds up to $280 a month! That’s a whole lot of money to save on just one bill! And trust me, I was skeptical about dollar store food too. But we have already tried it for 2 weeks and everything tastes just fine. Nothing spoiled right away or anything. So just give it a try. Maybe you’ll like it too.

2. Another area where we’re saving money is on our electric bill. Im so sorry to say but we used to live with our AC going non-stop! Its so embarrassing to admit. But now, we’re rarely using it and only put it on when the heat is getting to be just too much to handle. Turning on the AC is now a last resort for us. We’ll open the windows, turn off the lights, close the blinds, take a cool shower, turn the fans on, we’ll do all that before we finally decided to turn on the AC. We haven’t gotten the bill back yet but i imagine that we’ll be saving anywhere from $100 – $150 a month minimum. I’ll try to update you guys once we get the actual numbers back.

3. We also limit eating out now to only once a week. That’s something I had already been doing for a while now just for weight loss reasons but now my husband is jumping on board too. So he no longer will order out for lunch while he’s at work. But I take responsibility for making sure he has meals so he won’t have to eat out. If I miss a day for packing his lunch, I wont blame him if he does have to eat out. But its rare that that’ll happen. Lately I’ve been making a lot of crockpot meals so we’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day. I’ve also been focusing on making delicious recipes so he wont miss eating out over the weekends. Often times before, we would go to Jamba Juice and buy a smoothie but now if we’re craving a smoothie, we’ll just make one at home. Its a whole lot cheaper that way. And you’d be surprised how much it adds up when you’re eating out.

4. My next tip is to look through the coupons you get sent to your door. Before we wouldn’t even bother and would just throw them out right away. ( I know, we were super wasteful :/ ) but now I take the time to look through them. I’m not a super couponer or anything so you won’t see me at the store taking out a binder of coupons (not that that’s a bad thing, I’m just not at that level). But if I do see a coupon for something that we use on a regular basis or for eating out, I’ll make sure to save it. For example, just last week I found a coupon for a free pizza. There were no strings attached either, we didn’t have to buy anything else. So last Friday for our day of eating out, we literally spent $0 on dinner. That was amazing to me and quite exhilarating to be honest lol😄

5. I’ve also been loving no spend weeks. I often will just do one week at a time and then the following week I will let myself buy something that I’ve been wanting (home decor, makeup, etc…) But lately I’m doing no spend months (since we’ll be moving into our new home in a little over a month) and I want us to save up as much as possible so we can have enough to make the renovations on the house that we’re wanting. I have been loving the challenge of not spending any money though. It really forces me to get creative and to find local events that are going on for free. It makes me do more hands on and nature things with my daughter. It’s been so nice and its getting easier over time. This is now my third week in a row of not spending any money on personal things and I’ve been so proud of myself for it.

As we’ve gone over the numbers to see if we can afford a house, I’ve realized that we’ve had the money all along but because of our mindless spending, the money would just slip through our fingers and in the end we wouldn’t have enough for anything else because we had spent it all on meaningless stuff. But spending like we were was just keeping us in the same situation of living in a small outdated apartment that we really didn’t want to be in. I’m so happy that we’re finally taking control of our money so we can really do the things we want with it and not just waste it. It makes me feel so good too as a stay at home mom because I know that I’m helping my family save TONS just by spending smarter. Sometimes us stay at home moms can feel like we’re not contributing enough to the family but I can see now that I am. By being more mindful with our money, I’m enabling us to be able to buy our own home. If it wasn’t for that, we’d always be stuck in the same boat. Because even if I went out and got a job, with our reckless spending, we still wouldn’t have any money left over.

This experience has helped me to see that we need to be in control of our money so we can take it in the direction we want to go. It all comes down to priorities and about what you want most. If you really want a house, then making these changes won’t be such a big deal. But if you rather have stuff, then that’s OK but just know that you may not be able to save for other things. I hope these tips will help you guys with getting a rein on your money so that you can soon move into a home of your own. It’s such an exciting, new chapter in our lives and I cant wait to share all the details, home decor, remodels, and DIYs that we do on the place. Which tip did you find the most helpful? And if you have any tips of your own, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll take all the help I can get!😄

Till Next Time,

Paula Moral