Guest post: Preparing to own a home
June 2, 2008, 10:46 am
Filed under: Guest Posts

This is a guest post from Brooke at Dollarfrugal.com.  At her blog, Brooke writes about ways to save money as she is paying off her house and sending her husband back through school.  If you enjoy this article, check out her feed. 

I hate apartment living.  That is to say, I hate some of the details of apartment living.  The landlord is basically taking you for any value in your money.  The neighbors leave something to be wanted.  This is why I love owning a home.  But you must wait until you are totally ready before making the apartment – home move.  Here are some ways you can prepare: 

  1. Save up every last cent that you can towards your down payment.  Down payment money is your interest-free money toward your home.  Don’t let a single penny get away from you – one penny toward your down payment is one penny that you won’t have to pay interest on later.
  2. Get rid of junk.  If you clean out a “junk room,” that’s one less room you’ll need in your house.  It’s also less baggage you’ll be carrying around with you.  You’ll feel better, I promise.  And you won’t have to move so much stuff!
  3. Think about what you need in a living area.  Do you have one car that definitely doesn’t need to be garaged?  What about a garbage disposal?  Make yourself a list of “must-haves.”  You’ll be glad you did later.
  4. Make some good friends to help you move.  It’s better that way.  You can even give them some of that junk that you were trying to get rid of.
  5. Ask your friends about good real estate agents.  I have this innate distrust of real estate agents, but if you can find one that others haven’t had problems with, this is better than one that others have had problems with.  Definitely don’t contact the real estate agent until you are satisfied with your down payment.
  6. When you’re looking at neighborhoods that you think you like, look for compatibility with your family type.  Are you single?  Do you really want nosy neighbors?  Do you have kids?  Should there be other kids in the neighborhood that your kids can play with?  Do the kids in that neighborhood look a little “rough” to you?
  7. Visit the places you like during different times of day.  At night, the neighborhood might completely transform.
  8. Talk to your future neighbors before buying.  Come loaded with good questions – “What is the best/worst thing about this neighborhood” is a good start.

From buying two homes, these are some good tips that I’ve learned, and my priorities with respect to the above questions have also changed as I’ve learned about what I really like/dislike.  As you’re contemplating escaping from apartment living, consider the above points.