Hankering for a Home

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I graduate from college this semester, and I already have a job offer at an elementary school, which is really exciting. My job is salaried and has benefits, and I grew up in a small town and am ready to get out of the city where I’ve been in college. I think this is a place where I will want to settle down. But since I moved out of my parent’s house, I have only lived in rented spaces. This is probably what I’ll do when I move, but I am tired of landlords and not having my own space, and I think I’ll eventually want my own house. But what do I do? I don’t even know where to start, and I’m overwhelmed.

Written by Martin J. Young, former correspondent of Asia Times.

First of all, congratulations on your new job! Lots of people in your age group are in the same kind of transition, and it’s statistically difficult for people in their twenties to get into the housing market. Since you already have a great job, you have an advantage. But don’t get discouraged if it takes you a couple of years to get the home you want; the median age of first-time home buyers in 2016 was 32 years old! In the meantime, start doing your research; that way, when you’re ready to buy, you will know the terminology and strategies for buying a home.

The first step is to assess what you can afford. You should start looking at loans and mortgages before you even start looking at housing listings. Mortgage – that’s a term that you’ve probably heard a lot. A mortgage is basically a giant loan that covers the whole cost of a house, but it’s important not to take out a larger loan than you can afford to pay back. You can get pre-approved for a mortgage, which will show realtors that you’re serious about buying, and it will also let you know what you can afford. Take a good look at your salary and use a mortgage calculator to help you figure out what price range you should be investigating.

There are all sorts of banks and companies that offer loans and mortgages for homebuyers, so look into all your options. Pay close attention to interest rates and APR. Try not to go above a 4 percent interest rate and a 4.5% APR, as those loans with higher interest rates typically see much higher percentages fall into default according to one provider of USDA Home Loans.

Once you have an idea of what you can afford, start familiarizing yourself with the prices in the area you’ll be living in. The median price for a home in the United States is roughly $150,000, but your suburb might be more or less expensive than that. Specify the neighborhoods you’re interested in and the type of housing you’re looking for. One SW Ohio Real Estate Agent claims that the majority of her customers come from direct referrals rather than advertising, so ask your friends and colleagues about who they may have worked with in the past. That way you’re getting your information straight from the source!

Remember, no matter how much you may love a place, it’s not worth it to go above your budget. You don’t want to be tied down by loans, especially while you’re still young! This is just your first job; you may not be in this town for forever, and you’re still early in your career. Don’t worry about finding the dream home just yet–you still have plenty of time.

It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches. — Lemony Snicket

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