I’ve been writing for the awesome Pickett Street Properties Team for nearly a year now, and it seems I’m overdue for a personal introduction.
Hello! My name is Ansley. I’m a teacher and a writer. I’m also a first-time home buyer. I spent most of my life in the Seattle area before moving to Colorado for graduate school. While I fell hard for Colorado’s snowy mountains, sunshine, and blue skies (seriously–you haven’t seen the sky until you’ve experienced it out here!) it’s my dream to move back to the Seattle area.
I’m good at drinking a lot of coffee while watching the Great British Baking Show and reading New York Times articles in bed. I’m also good at whining at my partner to bring me things like socks and chocolate and more coffee so that I don’t have to get out of bed. I’m lucky that I have the most patient partner in the world. I love running and hiking in the mountains with my deaf puppy. I love learning and writing about the world in all its complexities.
And now, a personal anecdote. A few weeks ago, my partner and I received the catering contract for our upcoming June wedding. The price listed was astronomically beyond what we had budgeted for, and I immediately felt nauseous at the thought of spending so much money on fairly mediocre food. Our wedding was increasingly feeling stressful and financially out-of-control. After hyperventilating a little bit, my partner and I decided to take a long walk to clear our heads.
On our walk, we decided two things: 1) we’re going to figure out how to do a wedding in way that felt true to us (we’re renting a brewery for a relaxed reception with beer and food trucks) and 2) we’re going to use the money we’ve saved over the years to buy a home. (For more about buying a home instead of a wedding, here’s mortgage planner and expert Cody Touchette’s secrets, and here’s this interesting article in the New York Times.)
So, this is actually a blog post about what is often the first step in home-buying: saving for a down payment. Some of you may be seasoned experts in investing in real estate, and others of you might be like myself–young and relatively inexperienced when it comes to buying a home. Either way, NerdWallet recommends that first, you figure out how much you need. The standard down payment is 20 percent. However, there are many ways to buy a home with a significantly smaller down payment; think FHA, USDA, and VA loans, as well as assistance through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Once you know how much you need, here are a few of the best ways to save:
1. Set aside tax refunds.
2. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings account.
3. Refinance your student loans.
4. Tap into your IRA. (You can use up to $10,000 in IRA funds as a down payment. If you’re married and are both first-time home-buyers, you and your spouse can each pull $10,000 from your retirement accounts, resulting in a $20,000 down payment.)
As for me, my partner and I are going to forego wedding gifts and ask guests who would like to give us a little something to donate to our first home fund. While this may seem tacky, we’ll make it clear that this is only for guests like grandparents and other relatives who truly want to give us a little something. We try to live intentionally and avoid accumulating a lot of stuff, and so we hope that this idea will lead to less wasteful gifts. The ability to buy our first home together is, after all, the most romantic and meaningful gift we could ask for.
Over the past several months, Pickett Street has taught me so much about investing in real estate.
To benefit from their professional wisdom and services, get in touch with them at (425) 502-5397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.