Buying a Home and Managing Money in Your 20s

Personal financial in your twenties comes with a steep learning curve. One minute you’re studying for your finals and the next you’re expected to suddenly know about APR financing, 401(K)s, and fixed-rate mortgages.

If you’re in your twenties and are facing these new challenges, you’re probably equal parts terrified and excited for the future. And, although it can be anxiety-inducing to step into the world of personal finance, you have one tool to your advantage that your parents and grandparents didn’t have: the internet.

So, in this article, we’re going to give you some tips about buying a home and managing your finances in your twenties.

Have an emergency fund

You probably have a lot of things you want to save for. Down payments on mortgages and auto loans, saving money for traveling, beginning your retirement funds, and maybe even starting a family; they’re all important investments that will take time and financial planning to achieve.

However, one thing that many young people neglect when they first start saving is an emergency fund. There are any number of things that can throw a wrench in your plans in your twenties. You might lose a job and have to live off of savings while hunting for a new one. Maybe something goes wrong with your car and it costs hundreds to repair. Or, you could have unforeseen medical expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance. Regardless of the reason, having an emergency fund will help you stay out of unnecessary debt.

It’s recommended to have at least 6 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund. Once you have this amount saved, it’s a good idea to keep it in a separate account to avoid spending it on things that aren’t exactly an emergency.

Don’t live above your means

We all know that buying a house, going to college, and even buying groceries are all exponentially more expensive than they used to be. However, it’s still important to try to adjust your lifestyle to the things you can afford.

This includes the vehicle you drive, the first home you buy, and even smaller purchases you make.

Avoiding lifestyle creep

Related to our last point about living above your means, lifestyle creep is the phenomenon that occurs when you get a raise or a higher paying job: the more we make, the more we spend. However, it’s possible to avoid this trend by keeping your finances in check.

The next time you get a raise, make sure that money is put to use in either your retirement fund or savings account. This method is based on the goal of “giving every dollar a job.” When every dollar you earn has a purpose, you’re less likely to spend it on new video game consoles every six months.

What To Do First After You Move Into A New Home

Moving into a new home can be overwhelming. Once you have gone through the long process of buying a home, when the keys are your hand, your mind could be swirling with tons of ideas for what you should do in your new space. There are a few important things that you need to complete before you get into painting those walls or buying a new sofa. Read on for tips.

Look At Your Things

In the excitement of moving, you may forget about all of the stuff that you actually moved into the home. If you hired movers, check your boxes. Make sure that nothing is broken or damaged from the move. If there is anything wrong, you can file a complaint with your moving company.

Turn The Utilities On

The utilities need to be turned over to you from the previous owner. In many cases, you’ll need to contact the local utility companies in order to get the bills switched to your name and the services started. This is important for you to have a completely functioning household. Cable and Internet is a choice provider that you’ll also need to set up ahead of time before your move.

Unpack Your Stuff

Rome wasn’t built in a day but you need certain things like clothes and coffee makers as soon as you move into a space. Find the boxes that have the most important things in them like sheets, blankets, clothing, and important appliances. Work your way out. You don’t want your new home to stay a complete disaster zone forever. 

Organize Your Stuff

Moving into a new home gives you a new opportunity to get organized. Get everything in order the first time. This will keep you from needing to clean up constantly at a later date. When you start off with good organization you’ll be a lot happier in your new home. 

Think Security

Make sure that your new home is secure for your family. Think of everything from accidents to crime. Install an alarm system. Change the locks. Inspect the property for any hazards. All of these activities can help to make your new home a more secure place to live. 

Learn About Your New Surroundings

When you move into a new neighborhood, you should take the time to get to know the area. This includes meeting your neighbors and taking a stroll around your neighborhood to see the area more closely. Discover the highlights of the area like restaurants, shops, and other activities. Enjoy the new place that you call home to the fullest!

What Is A Backup Offer?

When you find a home you love, you most likely will want to take the steps you can to buy it. When a home is already under contract, there’s actually a little-known strategy that can be used to help you have a chance at getting the property. 

When you make a backup offer, you’re doing all of the same things you’d do under normal circumstances. The only difference between a normal offer and a backup offer is that you’re not guaranteed to get the home. The first deal needs to fall through in order for you to have a shot.

Advantages To Backup Offers

The backup offer is a bit of a stretch, but it still does give you a little bit of a chance to get a home. When a backup offer is in place, the home won’t just go back on the market if something falls through. This is especially smart when it comes to lower inventory markets. When a home is re-listed, you’ll need to compete against other buyers. If a bidding war is initiated, the home’s price will keep going up. The backup offer being in place helps the seller to feel secure in the sale of their home one way or another. If for any reason the first buyer falls through, you’ll be able to swoop in and get the home yourself.

Timing Is Everything

Keep in mind that there’s a certain period of time before a deal needs to be closed on for a home. The original buyer will need to close the deal on the home in an average of 50 days. Knowing the time frame that you’ll need to wait around for a decision is helpful for you in your own search for a home.

You can also have your agent check in with the listing agent for the property on a frequent basis. This lets the agent ad seller know that you have a keen interest in the property in case there are any difficulties coming from the other side of the deal. 

If The First Deal Doesn’t Go Through

If the first deal on a home does fall through, you’re not the new owner of the home just yet. There’s always a possibility that the first buyers found some very difficult problems with the home during the inspection. These could be big issues like an issue with the roof or the foundation of the home. Be sure to include a home inspection contingency with your contract so that you can have your own inspection conducted. This way, you’ll know if there are any problems with the home and that you will be able to deal with them.

A backup offer can be a great tool to use in tight markets to help you get a home that you love. It’s always a good idea to proceed with caution in any home deal to make a sound financial decision.

How To Prepare To Close On A Property

Once you have gone through the pre-approval process and have narrowed down your home search, there’s a good chance you’ll soon find a place that you want to make an offer on. This can seem like a huge step for any first time homebuyer. Even seasoned home buyers feel butterflies when the time comes to make an offer on a home they love. Before you even start your home search, you should become educated on how to make a good offer in order to land the property that you really want. There’s so many factors that effect your offer including the surrounding properties and the current state of the market. Here are a few very important pieces of advice that you should heed in order to have a successful time securing a home and closing the deal. 

Craft A Persuasive Offer

In many areas there’s a low inventory of homes and a high number of those seeking to buy. This means that you’re not guaranteed to get a property that you have made an offer on. Lowball offers might not be at all competitive and even insulting to sellers in certain markets. Often, you may need to make an offer of more than the asking price if you’re in love with a home. By working with your real estate agent and doing the right research, you can craft an offer on a home that will be compelling for sellers.    

Decide On Your Contingencies 

Once an offer has been accepted, it’s time to get to work on those contingencies. Be especially mindful of financing contingencies. If something falls through in the process, you’ll want to be sure you can get the deposit you made back. Also keep in mind that sellers love reliable buyers who have already been preapproved.  

Home inspection contingencies are another area of importance. After you sign the purchase agreement and the inspection is complete, you’re allowed to ask the seller to make repairs or provide you with a counter offer. While this can be one of the more nerve-wracking aspects of home buying, it has many positives. Home inspections protect buyers from purchasing a home that they can’t live with in cases of extreme mold, termites and other environmental and structural issues. 

The appraisal contingency is also important. In order for you to qualify for a loan, the property must be appraised. The property must be valued at or above the purchase price. A loan will only be approved by a lender up to the appraised value. If your home loan is $400,000 but your home of choice is appraised at $390,000, you’ll have a problem.       

Your Finances Matter Until You Get To The Closing Table

Don’t go crazy with all kinds of purchases before you reach the closing table. Opening a new credit account at your favorite furniture store, for example, could lead to a disastrous surprise on closing day. Hold off on big purchases until after you secure your home. Also avoid making large transfers or deposits from your bank account. don’t do anything to negatively affect your credit score

  

Know What To Bring To The Closing

Don’t show up to the closing for your home purchase unprepared. You’ll need to have the following items: 

  • Photo ID
  • Checkbook
  • Cosigners 

Think Ahead

Be sure that you think of the future when you’re purchasing your home. You’ll need to have enough cash flow to pay for things like property taxes, home insurance, utility bills and even new furniture for your home. Plan your future mortgage payments accordingly. Some companies have payments that are monthly or bimonthly. 

While buying a home is a huge undertaking, with the right plans in place, the process will be as seamless as possible. With the right plans, the moving truck will be pulling into the driveway before you know it.