Real Estate Around Spokane and Coeur d'Alene

The Joys of Homeownership

It is a big purchase and hard to know where to start
Posted: April 25, 2019 by Kelsey Fulton

Homeownership is a big deal and it took me a while to really understand the impact that it could have on me financially.  The idea of owning a home was not foreign to me (My Parent's both owned their homes as I grew up) but I didn't know what I needed to do or that I should be jumping on this bandwagon.  I am so glad that I did.

When I graduated from College I had been renting a room in a house with two good friends and I was ready to move from small-town Montana to the city!  I made a huge leap of faith and landed in Phoenix, Arizona.  Gratefully I had family there to stay with until I could find another room to rent.  This is how I spent my early twenties.  Renting a room in a shared home/apartment with friends.  It was awesome I didn't have to worry about furniture, or air conditioners, or pipes breaking.  I had a chance to really focus on my career and not worry about if I stayed late at work because I was surrounded by people that could help me with our home.  What I didn't know was that I could have been smarter with what I did with my $650/month that I was paying in rent.  

WOAH WOAH you can't buy a home with a $650/month payment.  Well, I could have if I had roommates to help me make up the difference.  We were EACH paying that amount of rent. Plus it was 2006 and the economy was not at what I would call a highpoint and was headed to a much lower point.  By April of 2009, the average cost of a home in Phoenix was $115,000 down from $264,000 when I moved there.  Not to mention that there are a lot of renters in the area of Tempe, where ASU has its main campus.  Had I purchased and hung on to an average home I would have a house that today would be worth about $262,000.  That is a great investment.  Homeownership can really help you build your long term wealth.  

So what made me decide to become a homeowner?  Rich, my now husband and I bought our first home together in 2012 in Post Falls, Idaho.  We were 26, dating, and it was my idea.  His dad suggested a real estate agent who he had worked with and she and I looked at a lot of homes.  Some were great, some were scary and most of the time it was just us touring as Rich was at work and because I was working most nights as a manager of a restaurant.  What I didn't realize was happening as we looked at homes was I was learning.  Our agent had a great way of sharing information in a way that I could make educated decisions on a house so it would fit the lifestyle that we lead.  Here are a few of the things that are still with me today. 

  1. Notice how many cars are on the street.  Typically homeowners have a car for every family member.  Renters have a car for every tenant.  There are people who are great tenants and take care of their lawn, but not all tenants do.  When you go to resell, the person who buys your home will be looking at your neighbor's yard.  (we were searching in the middle of the winter so you couldn't see the lawn)
  2. Look at the space from the side of the house to the garage door.  That will tell you how much room you will have to open your car door
  3. If you walk into a house and it doesn't feel right, walk out.  It isn't the home for you and there is no need to waste your time.  

When I finally found the house we were going to buy I knew it.  Ironically it was 2 blocks around the corner from Rich's dad.  I called Rich told him I found the house and we were writing an offer.  He asked if he got to see it and I said no, we need to move on it now.  If you hate it we will figure something out.  We bought our house for just over $142,000.  It was a dream.  Our mortgage payment was about $900 and we had been paying $850 for our duplex with one bathroom.  We loved that house.  Rich and I did a ton of landscaping.  I had a great garden and best of all we could have all the dogs we wanted.  There was no one to report to, we could paint and make it really feel like our place.  I don't know if words can really put into perspective what that feels like.  As someone who rented for a long time.  The change from renting to owning was a sigh of relief that the investment that I was making would really be for me and not for someone else. 

By 2015 the area we were in was starting to grow and a new overpass was going in.  I saw the opportunity to move and knew it would be a good move.  Now, this is where the part about investment for yourself gets really good.  We lived in the 3 bedroom/ 2 bathroom home for 3 years.  We really didn't invest in the inside of the home but did a lot of work on the yard.  Our home value went up just under 25%.  That is a GREAT investment.  If you are sitting on the fence thinking about renting or buying it is time to get off the fence.  Make the investment in you.  In your financial state, in what you have to gain. 

Markets are ever changing and they do go up and down but I can't say enough about the pride of ownership.  The idea that the investment you make in painting or cleaning is really giving back to yourself.  Is buying a home scary?  Is buying a home hard?  Is buying a home worth it?  Yes to all of these answers!  

Want more information or have questions?  I would be happy to help just drop a comment below!  

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