When I first started my homebuying journey, I wasn’t expecting it to start or end the way it did. As a young, single woman, buying a home was something not many people understood. Some were confused that someone my age, just out of college, would be interested in buying a home. After all, it seems so permanent, right? If it wasn’t my age, it was my relationship status. “Isn’t buying a home something you do with a partner when you’re ready to settle down?” No, not necessarily. You can buy a home whenever you feel the time is right for you, and for me, it felt right.
My Homebuying Story
It was a couple of months before the pandemic that I made the decision that I wanted to buy a home. After a few years of being a home renter in my college town and then moving to Raleigh, North Carolina where I lived in an apartment, I decided it was time to put my money where my mouth was. I got comfortable with being in Raleigh and learning the area, so when my lease was up for renewal, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do. Rent was high, my space was small, was this really the best fit for me? I looked at the numbers and it seemed like the decision was right there in front of me. If I bought a mortgage, it would be cheaper– a lot cheaper– than if I were to continue living in my apartment.
I started my search early in 2020, spent a couple of months searching for the perfect home, getting pre-approval for my mortgage, creating a list of wants and needs, and narrowing down all the decisions I would have to make when it came to seriously look. I worked with a Realtor who could help provide guidance. Although I’ve worked in the real estate industry for a couple of years as a marketing manager for Flagship Property Management, I wasn’t completely educated on the entire homebuying process and wanted someone who could answer all of my questions and point me in the right direction.
Fast forward to late March of 2020, and we all know what happened next. COVID-19 made everything come to a halt– at least for a short amount of time. I actually found the home that I now own through something called an iBuyer. If you don’t know what an iBuyer is, Homes.com has a great article for you to check out, but essentially it’s any real estate company that uses an algorithm to buy houses from those looking to sell and do repairs to make a profit. It’s like an automatic Chip and Joanna Gaines except when they buy a home from a seller, it’s usually at a discount where you could end up selling below home value. However when I bought my home,it initially seemed like a great idea. The buying process sounded quick, the home looked amazing, everything was checked on my boxes and I knew this home was the one. However, things took a turn.
Communication between the iBuyer I worked with and my Realtor was subpar. My Realtor would call with questions, concerns, or negotiations and every time we called we would speak to a different representative. The representative then would look up my home information and go from there, but it didn’t feel like there was anyone really helping on the other end specifically for my home sale. And when you’re making a purchase as large as home, you want to feel like your experience is personalized.
Once we got everything sorted, the day finally came for me to sign on the dotted line and close on my very first home! I was so thrilled this day was finally here. However, we got a call from our iBuyer that the home wouldn’t be ready for closing today. When we asked why, it was because the home apparently had $6,000-$10,000 worth of structural damage that they were still working to fix. This was actually news to me, I had no idea!
Renegotiations immediately took place thanks to my Realtor who quickly stepped in to help appease the situation. All-in-all it took an additional three weeks to close on my home. But, when the day finally came, I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the best day ever. I closed back in May of this year and have been completing renovations on my home ever since.
Why I Bought a Home at 23
Like I said, buying a home so young made people have a TON of questions I wasn’t expecting! To me, it seemed like the right decision but to others it seemed odd to purchase a home at 23. But, when I look at the reasons why I wanted to do this, it helps make it more clear for myself and for other people. The biggest benefit of homeownership that you don’t get as a renter is you’ll most likely have a cheaper mortgage. This is especially true for me since I knew I wanted to still be close to the downtown area and my work. Also, I now have the ability to completely design a space without limitations which I have taken advantage of a lot so far. I have a lot more space, a lot more freedom, and the ability to call myself a homeowner!
When it comes to owning my home, though, I feel like I’m more than just this person who pays a mortgage. It’s rewarding to know that as a young woman I went through this process by myself and everything from the stress to the financial responsibility are all things I took on by myself with no one else’s help. I feel independent, I feel empowered, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.
Advice for Young Women Looking to Buy a Home on Their Own
If I could give any advice to someone like me looking to buy a home, it’s this: Do it. The whole process can be stressful, sometimes you’ll feel like you’re in over your head, but at the end of the day the stress, the hiccups, everything is worth it. I know I wouldn’t go back and change a thing despite having some bumps in the road because it brought me to my home I have today.