Starting the process of purchasing a home can be scary for many first-time homeowners. As a self-described “frugal” person, the idea of buying a home was quite daunting for Daria A. Leon. However, the 28-year-old was ready to make that move.
First Steps Toward Making The Big Purchase
Originally from Florida, Leon relocated to New York for her first “big girl job.” Although she envisioned using her first salary position to begin saving for her future home, she also knew that she first had debt she wanted to clear.
“I had moved to New York and I didn’t have any money. I think I had like $15 in my account,” Leon openly shared with AfroTech. “So I just saved and paid off a lot of debt.”
From stimulus checks to tax refunds, Leon was placing it in her savings account. What’s more, she saved around 40 percent of her income during the pandemic. In a year, she says she was able to save $14,000 by being frugal and not going out too much.
Along with saving, within two years, she was able to raise her credit score by nearly 100 points to a 777.
While Leon was able to secure financial wins, she also faced hardship. At the time of the pandemic, she lost both of her parents. Leon told us that receiving the inheritance money gave her more of a cushion in her path to becoming a homeowner.
The Final Decision
Even though Leon was secure in her finances, she was initially worried about whether or not she was a good candidate to purchase a home. However, both her financial advisor and realtor eased her doubts for what became a fairly easy process.
In 2022, Leon bought her fully-renovated home in Baltimore, MD for around $267,500 with a good interest rate. Her mortgage is at $2,300 a month (as of this writing).
“It took me a month to find the house,” Leon recalled. “On the first bid, we negotiated a little bit. I was able to get about $7,000 in seller’s credit, which made my closing cost around $12,000. It was a smooth process for me just because I really had my ducks in a row.”
Leon says she plans on buying another property next year as an investment.
Advice From A Young Millennial On Buying Your First Home
Along with saving, cutting debt, and building your credit score, Leon shared with AfroTech helpful advice for aspiring homeowners.
Have Money Saved For Home Emergencies
“I think it’s really important when you decide that you’re moving into a home, you need to have extra money for if something happens to the house. Even if you get a totally brand-new home, there’s just always going to be stuff that you always have to pay for and things that you didn’t think about. If something breaks, you’re the one that’s gotta pay for it.”
Choose A Home You Love That’s Also An Investment
“I already received equity when I bought the home. It’s appraised at $275,000. I bought the house for $267,500, so that’s already equity that I’m getting on the house. Across the street, they’re getting ready to start building new condos and getting ready to sell them. Next door to me, they are already renovating two townhomes. In the next five to 10 years, that’s going to give me probably equity upwards of $150,000.”
Be Mindful That Your Taxes Can Change Your Mortgage Price
“One thing that I learned is that how much you pay for your mortgage can change. It’s not a set-in-stone number. As I said before with them getting ready to build some more houses and renovating, I know that I’m probably going to have to pay more because my taxes are going to go up. More than likely within the next two years, my mortgage is probably going to go to $2,500…Or, your insurance can go up. There are many things that can go up. So you just have to keep that in mind.”
Buy A Home When You’re Ready
“I feel like buying a house, in society, it looks good to post it on Instagram, but some people are apartment people. Some people aren’t house people and that’s okay. At this point in time, buying a house is a luxury. There’s nothing wrong with staying in an apartment. Don’t buy a house because your parents want you to buy it or your friends or that’s what you think you’re supposed to do in your next step of life. Make sure this is your decision.”