That’s not my house, but isn’t it cute?!
I’ve made several financial mistakes in my short 6 years as a legal adult. During college I got myself into credit card debt by using shopping to heal my emotions, and after graduation my consumer debt skyrocketed when I decided to try to keep up with the Joneses. But my biggest financial mistake was buying a house when I wasn’t financially ready.
I had just graduated college with no savings account, about $100 in my checking about, $8,000 worth of student loans, and a couple thousand dollars of credit card debt. I had nowhere to live except my parents’ basement. I did have a job lined up in my hometown which I was excited about, so I started searching for a place to rent.
After looking at the slim-pickings of rental properties in my hometown (population 7,000), I realized I absolutely could NOT live in one of the houses I looked at. Most of them had current tenants who had trashed them. There was dog feces covering the yard at one place and cat feces all over the floor of the bathtub in another (because they hadn’t cleaned the litter box in who knows how long).
One of the houses I looked at had drunk people passed out all over the place and I couldn’t even view the place properly because they were still sleeping in the bedrooms.
Another place was right next to a well-known crack house.
This is when I decided my only option was to buy a house. The problem with this was that again, I had no money to my name. I hadn’t saved up for a down payment or closing costs and I had a very low credit score since I was barely 21 years old and in debt. (Although I’ve never missed a payment or anything like that.)
Back then, I also had almost no “real world” knowledge about how things worked as far as getting a loan. I wish I had known that there are so many different types of lenders, loans, and interest products out there. Even today, after working as a credit analyst for just over 3 years, it still makes my head spin when I think about how many choices there are for borrowers. It can be so confusing!
Luckily, I have good parents who provided me with some guidance throughout the process of buying my first home. Looking back there are definitely some things I would want to do differently next time I buy a home, but for the most part things have turned out okay.
Owning a home has a lot of benefits, like the fact that you can paint the walls any darn color you want, you can hang as many pictures up as you choose, and you can have pets without having to ask for permission, but there definitely some drawbacks too.
I’ve had to put some serious money into home repairs, maintenance, and updates at times during the 3 years I’ve lived in my house, but that just comes with the territory of owning a house. The only way this con could be better is if I had more money saved up and been more aware of these costs when I bought the house.
Would you consider buying a house to be a financial mistake?
Photo courtesy of: Jimmy_Joe