But today, finally, I can share the news!
No- I'm not pregnant.
I bet that's what you thought when you read the post title and the first paragraph.
And no, I didn't get this amazing book deal for my cookbooks- still planning on self publishing those.
My big news is probably totally unexpected to most of you readers. And to be honest, it came as a big shock to Mike and myself as well. A little over one month ago, this was something that Mike and I only dreamed about, but never thought it could become a reality. Just destined to become an unrequited dream.
And then, somehow, within the space of just over a month, everything fell into place, and what I thought never would be possible, today became a reality.
Mike and I bought a house!
|Mike and I signing the paperwork on the house, at the lawyer's office today (with Rose's "help").|
For those who are in similar Facebook groups as me, this probably will come as a bit less of a shock to you than to others, since I have recently been asking questions about home buying, and some people said that they can't wait to see my post about how to buy a home with a really low salary in my country.
Well, I have no amazingly special post to write about that.
Because the reason that owning a home was just a dream for us is that in my country, housing is a fortune, and down payments need to be 25-40% of the extremely high price of the house, with my part of the country requiring at the very least a 30% down payment.
My husband and I aren't exactly rolling in it. He doesn't make much above minimum wage, and though I try to keep our expenses down, the cost of living keeps on going up and up and up, so saving a large portion of our income each month simply isn't doable.
But, once I calculated that if we even managed to save 1/6th of our income every month, in 22.5 years we'd be able to save up enough for a down payment for a cheap house... assuming the price of housing didn't go up in the meantime- which it inevitably will, because there are many factors making housing prices just go up and up and never come down in my area...
In other words, very much a pipe dream. We despaired of ever being able to own, and honestly, threw back and forth with each other the idea of moving to the US, because maybe we'd be able to buy a home there one day, even though there are many other reasons why moving to the US just isn't a good idea for us... And we knew that eventually we'd be priced out of our community that we love so much, because every year rental prices go up more and more, and eventually we won't be able to stay in our 484 square foot home with our family of 6, but there are barely any apartment available here bigger than ours, and the ones that are are pretty expensive, and getting more and more expensive each year...
Then my mother heard that they were building a housing project in my community, where you can buy a house that isn't finished being built yet, for cheaper prices than ready homes, and she told me to check it out.
I didn't really. Since there was no point. We couldn't afford to buy, so why bother? I'd just be getting my hopes up for nothing.
So she checked it out instead, and got floor plans and schematics and prices.
And told us to check out some more details.
Which I didn't.
Because that price was simply too high for us, there's no way we could buy it. She said she'd help us with a down payment. I said that that's nice, but the down payments are too high- she wouldn't have enough for it.
So then she checked it out.
And told us we're doing it.
I said there's no way- I'd love to buy, but the down payment is disgustingly high.
She said she got an inheritance when her mother died last year, and she wanted to use it to help us with a down payment, as an early inheritance, because there's no point saving up an inheritance for after you die if your kids can really use it now.
So that is "my trick".
I have no secret plans of how to save up enough for a down payment locally on a minimum wage or near minimum wage, no matter how super frugal you are.
The answer really seems to be- have a rich relative who dies. Or have a family member who'll help you out. In my case, it's both- a rich relative who died and therefore a family member has money to help us.
I've done a lot of asking around, asked everyone I know that bought, and even asked the lawyer when we signed the paperwork to buy the house today- if everyone's parents provided them with the down payment- she said nearly everyone who bought, bought that way. People who manage to save a down payment on their own are nearly never living on a low income, are not a single or even 1.5 income family, and do not have kids (or at least not many).
I wish I had something more to share about how to do it, but alas I do not.
For this reason I will be eternally grateful to my mom. Because it means that we're not throwing away money each month on rental, because it means that we won't be forced to move repeatedly and to more and more undesirable places because of ever rising rental prices. And because it means that eventually, even if only in 25 years from now, we no longer will have monthly housing payments, and one day may actually be able to save up enough money to help our kids with a down payment... Even that isn't a given, but at least it's something we can try to aspire to do.
So, now the real question I'm sure you're wondering is- what exactly are we buying, and when are we moving there?
|Holding up the blueprints for our house.|
It's a 2 floor duplex, with a total of approximately 1850 square feet- nearly 4 times as big as where we're living now! With approximately a 690 square foot yard (we currently have none).
However, we're not going to be living in 1850 square feet. We're going to be living in 925 square feet at first, because we're making it into two apartments- one for us to live in, and one for us to rent out, and to use that rental income to pay for a large part of the mortgage. There is a huge demand for rentals in our area, specifically the size we're making it, so we're not worried about finding tenants, and after the rental income, our mortgage payments will be not much more than we're paying now, and since the price of rentals is always going up, it'll eventually be a larger and larger percent of our monthly payments each month, allowing us to save more and more money each month, hopefully. If we would have just bought a single apartment, the monthly mortgage payments would be much higher than we'd be paying this way, so buying a larger place to split into two means a larger down payment, yes, but eventually will make the place more affordable for us. And if our family grows, and we decide that we do need more space than the 925 square feet, and our financial situation allows it, we will be able to do some simple construction and take one or two of the bedrooms from the rental for ourselves, and rent out a smaller place, and get a bigger living space. But that is just theoretical and for the future... (Yes, I know there are expenses involved in home ownership, and in being a landlord. I'll be discussing that in another post.)
So anyhow, today we signed the paperwork to buy.
The project is supposed to be finished in maximum 2 years from the date we signed, but it is very likely that they will be finished a few months earlier than that, since the building is already in pretty advanced stages...
This is one of the most exciting days of my life.
The only other more exciting and life altering days of my life were the day my husband and I got married, and when each of our children were born.
Inevitably, I will have many, many, many more posts on buying a house, designing a house, building a house, etc... and my future plans, to follow, now that I broke this news.
And I apologize that I don't have any revolutionary ideas about how to save enough for a down payment to be able to buy.
I know, because 2 months ago I was there, thinking I'd never be able to buy.
But a miracle happened. and in less than 2 months, we went from giving up all hopes of ever being able to buy to signing the paperwork today.
I hope you manage to have a similar miracle as well, if you're currently despairing of ever buying.
And I'll join you in really getting upset at the system here, for making it inevitable that either you need to be rich, have a generous rich relative, or have a relative with large assets die to allow you to buy a home... I wish there were a way to change that...
If you are local to me, and you don't mind sharing- did you buy? Or are you renting? If you bought, did you manage to save up for the down payment yourself, and if so, how, and over how long? Or did you get help from parents or other relatives, or get an inheritance?
If you aren't local to me, and you managed to buy, what percentage of a down payment did you need? How long did it take you to save up for that, or did you get help from a relative or an inheritance to be able to buy?