First-Time Home Buyer Tips For Buying A House In Your Twenties

Millennial homeowners: Tips for buying your first home in you twenties.

Ever since I was young I wanted to own a home. Although I didn’t necessarily see myself living in a three bedroom house on a cul-de-sac with a white picket fence and two-door garage (no offense to those who do), I knew that in the long run, I wanted to own instead of rent. Why help pay down my landlord’s mortgage when I could pay off my own? And despite condos and co-ops seeming like good options for an inexperienced first time home buyer, I wasn’t a fan of the monthly HOA fees (homeowners association fees) or the limitations that come with owning these types of residential properties.

I started to really think about the possibility of homeownership when I landed my first job right out of graduate school. After figuring out how much I could realistically afford, I spent the next two years living at home with my mom. I saved for a down payment and a few years later I became a millennial homeowner at the age of 27.

After owning a home for over a year now, it’s safe to say that I have learned a few things about buying and maintaining a house. With that being said, since I’m all for millennials owning instead of renting, here are some tips for successfully buying a house in your twenties.

Tips For Buying Real Estate in Your Twenties

Find the Right Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate agent who understands your needs is extremely important. As a millennial, you want to find an agent that finds listings based on your wants and needs, and understands that sticking to your budget is non-negotiable.

Searching for your dream home may take weeks or even months so don’t waste time on properties that you cannot realistically afford.

Speaking from experience, looking at properties over budget may only leave you feeling discouraged that you can’t afford a nicer home in a better area. If it’s a financial no-no, do yourself a favor and keep it moving. Regardless of what anyone says, remember, you are on the hook for paying your mortgage, no one else. This goes without saying but your realtor is not a financial advisor.

To clarify, the right real estate agent is unbiased, honest and looks out for your best interest. He/she is proactive and isn’t afraid to negotiate on your behalf. They also update you regularly and they are really good at following up.

20% Down is a Myth

Owning a home is more affordable than ever before because you no longer need to put down 20%.

Of course with a 20% down payment you eliminate PMI (private mortgage insurance) but in today’s climate, you can get a mortgage without a large down payment or excellent credit.

As a first time home buyer, you may qualify for an FHA loan which is a type of government-backed mortgage where you can put as little down as 3.5% on most properties.

FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and it’s an affordable way to help families finance a home. With an FHA 203 (k) loan, you can even borrow money for home repairs like heating and air-conditioning systems, flooring and more.

As a first-time homebuyer, the type of mortgage you get can have long-term effects on your finances. Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will make, so the more you prepare, the more well off you will be. Since there are many different types of mortgages that suit different borrowers, in this episode, we cover the most common types of mortgages. Press play to listen to this episode here. Or listen to this episode on your favorite podcast player.

Everything is Negotiable

When buying a home, depending on the market, it is expected that you negotiate with the seller. Offer full price if you want to beat out the competition but generally speaking when it comes to buying a house, everything is negotiable.

Here are some of the things that you can negotiate:

  1. Purchase price
  2. Repairs – roof, plumbing, windows etc.
  3. Yard – landscaping, removing trees or bushes

When you’re negotiating purchase price, consider the cost of repairs and renovations.

In my case, since all the copper piping was missing in the house, after factoring in the cost of plumbing, I lowered my offer.

Managing Your Money As A New Homeowner by Danielle Desir

You Don’t Need a Partner

Don’t let the fear of not having a partner get in the way of you buying your first house.

Although two incomes is obviously better than one, if you’re nowhere near ready to settle down with someone but feel like you are financially and emotionally ready to buy a house in your twenties, don’t wait!

When I first moved into my house, some of my neighbors were surprised to find out that I did not have a husband or significant other. My response, I have a dog and that’s enough for now. Again, if you can afford to own a home and it makes sense, don’t wait on the potential of your relationship status.

As a single (unmarried) woman, I bought a house because I wanted to invest in my future and start building equity in a long-term asset that I can pass down to my children and grandchildren. Although there’s been a few bumps along the way, owning a home continues to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

2022 Update: Since writing this article, I am now happily married and I am grateful that I purchased my home when I did. I was also featured in The Balance where I shared how I bought a house on my own.

My husband and I are working diligently to pay down the mortgage and we have dreams of purchasing a second property in the future.

Buying a house as a single woman meant that when we decided to get married years later, we didn’t have to worry about purchasing a home. We could allocate our finances to other important financial goals like quitting my corporate job an entrepreneur.

If you are a new or aspiring homeowner looking for simple but powerful strategies for managing your money and staying on top of your finances, grab a copy of my eBook — Managing Your Money As A New Homeowner. In this book we cover:

  • Why you need several bank accounts after purchasing a home.
  • How to create an automated workflow for making on-time monthly mortgage payments.
  • Tips for pricing out repairs and setting renovation projects as financial goals, and more. 
First Time Homebuyer Tips
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Read Next:

Things to Do After Buying a House

How to Calculate Mortgage Interest

5 Types of Mortgages To Know About (Podcast Episode)

Thinking of owning a home? What’s your biggest obstacle?

25 replies
  1. Realtor in Edmonton says:

    Though home buying can seem daunting, millions of millennials have done it. Millennials are now the single biggest group of homebuyers in our country — and many are buying houses solo, long before marriage or kids are even on their radar.

    Reply
  2. Nagendra says:

    This is great information for real estate investors. After reading this article, investors will feel more confident about investing in real estate, and one of the best benefits is steady income.

    Reply
  3. Tex Hooper says:

    I like what you said about making sure wherever you live suits your pet needs if you have any. I want to buy a house with a dog run. I’ll have to hire a real estate agent to find that house for me.

    Reply
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  5. Tex Hooper says:

    I like what you said about negotiating repairs in the deal. I need to get an agent to help me find a house in Texas. I need to move there in two months for a new job I got.

    Reply
  6. John Carston says:

    My favorite part of this article is the importance of negotiating according to the market situation. Last night, my friend told me that he was planning to buy a new home with adequate area for his desired location, and he asked if I had any idea what could be the best option. Thanks for this helpful article, I’ll be sure to tell him that it will be much better if we consult a real estate agent as they can help him search for the property that he wants.

    Reply
  7. Joseph says:

    Danielle, thank you for sharing this information. Buying a property in your twenties is a significant achievement. I’m glad you suggested hiring a real estate agent if you’re a first-time home buyer. A real estate agent plays a crucial part in the home-buying process.

    Reply
  8. Olivia Smart says:

    Thank you for explaining that you should find a good real estate agent that understands your wants and needs. My daughter is looking to buy a house, but she isn’t very picky and only has a few needs that have to be met for the house she wants to buy. I’ll be sure to mention this to her and see if it helps her to find a good realtor that can make finding those few things easy in her price range.

    Reply
  9. Victoria Addington says:

    I am most captivated when you wrote that when buying a home, depending on the market, it is expected that you negotiate with the seller. Unfortunately, negotiating is really not my thing. I think it’s best for me to hire a residential real estate so I can get help on the negotiating parts.

    Reply
  10. Henry Killingsworth says:

    It was really helpful when you explained that it is a good idea to find a real estate agent that is unbiased and honest. In addition to that, I would think that it would be a good idea to find a real estate agent that knows how to negotiate prices. A real estate agent that knows how to negotiate prices will be able to help you get a good deal on a home.

    Reply
  11. Charlotte Fleet says:

    My husband and I got married last year and we want to buy our first home by our first anniversary in August. Thank you so much for all of your tips on how to buy a home properly. I am glad you mentioned the importance of having an unbiased real estate agent. I think that it would also be essential for my husband and I to find a reputable credit union that we can get a home loan from to help us pay for it.

    Reply
  12. rachel frampton says:

    My sister and I would like to buy a residential house since this will be a good investment in the long run. Thank you for this; at least now we’re aware that the 20% downpayment is no longer needed. We’ll also keep in mind to apply for a loan first.

    Reply
  13. Kate Welling says:

    It’s really interesting that I can borrow money from FHA for home repairs. My sister wants to buy her first property and she has no idea where to start. I am happy I found your article full of tips about buying your first house. I will pass it along!

    Reply

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