You might feel like the frustration of housemates who don’t clean up after themselves and leave their dishes in the sink, is going to last forever, but it won’t. You may be a renter in your 20s now, but in the future it’s possible to have a place to call your own, and it’s never too early to start thinking about how you are going to make that happen.
Know what you need in a home
Maybe you’ve never rented an apartment of your own, or maybe you have. Either way, a good way to start thinking about your eventual first home purchase is to dream, and at the same time think realistically about your ideal first home. It doesn’t cost anything but a little time to make a list of your requirements when beginning your research into the house of your dreams. Not only do you need to know how much home you can afford, you also need to consider your must-haves. Do you love cooking, perhaps you’d rather go for a gourmet kitchen than more square footage? Or, if you like entertaining, perhaps having outdoor space is important. Whatever your requirements are, make a list and know your deal breakers. You also want to assess what you are willing to compromise on, and especially have a hard line about your budget.
Finances are no fun to think or talk about but they are a necessary part of the equation in buying your new home. Once you have an idea about your ideal first home and your requirements, you can get a sense of the market and how much this home might cost. For a general overview on market insights, check out the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) comprehensive housing market analysis on your nearest city. Home prices can change dramatically, and by the time you are ready to buy, the market might have shifted, but having a sense of how much it’ll cost can prepare you to start saving now. Start adding a set amount of money every month into your new home savings fund. Even if it’s a small amount, a little bit can go a long way in starting to make your dream of buying a home feel like something that’s possible.
It’s going to take time
First time home buyers might be shocked at how tedious and time-consuming the process might be — it’s not going to happen overnight. Documents, documents, and more documents will be needed for the deal and the more organized you are with financial statements, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Again, it’s never too early to get started and get organized.
It’s not going to change your life
Having a place to call home can create a greater sense of stability and give you the opportunity to create a space that is truly your own, but it’s unlikely to change your life dramatically — unless you’ve been living with five housemates and one bathroom. Don’t put too much stress or weight on your timeline for buying a house, do the best you can and save, save, save. If it really matters to you, it will happen.
As a renter in your 20s, thinking about buying a home should be something that spurs excitement about your future, not stress. If you set clear goals and follow through on them, you’ll be relaxing in a new home of your own before you know it.