THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON BRANDISDIARY.COM. IT IS REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION.
Home-ownership is one of the quintessential standards that mark achieving the American dream.
Everyone wants a place they can call their own and set up roots. Growing up I always imagined picking out the perfect house with my husband and we would grow into it with our children. As time went on, and my husband had difficulty finding me (he’s still lost so someone say a prayer for him lol), I decided it was time to go ahead and do what seemed to be the logical thing: get a house myself.
The process of purchasing my house was the perfect situation. I used a program, if my memory serves correctly it was the TSAHC program, to get into my home. This program covered the down payment for my home, and I also didn’t have to pay any closing fees. Essentially I found a home and was able to move in without any large upfront expenses and just started paying my mortgage and bills just like someone who gets an apartment. I lived in my house for almost 6 years before finally deciding that it just wasn’t for me anymore. Selling my house was an interesting journey, and I definitely want to share about that journey, but since it involves someone else I’ll wait until they are ready to share their end of the experience.
When it comes to purchasing a home I would not try to talk anyone in or out of taking that leap. I say think about your why. What is motivating you to want to purchase a home? Are you doing this because it’s what you truly want or because it’s what you think society says you should be doing?
Think about your how. How are you going to maintain a home over time? If major repairs need to be made how will you handle those things?
For regular maintenance how will you handle that? Have you saved up a sizable amount for your down-payment and emergency funds?
Think about the pros and cons of your life stage. Take the advice from others and sift through it to keep what’s relevant for you and let the nonrelevant things pass on. Along my journey, I have met several people who turned in their home keys in exchange for apartment keys with no regrets.
Most people will say to you that owning something is the best decision that you can make. They will say that it is the first step to generational wealth. I have a lot of people in my family that owned their homes and didn’t pass down generational wealth to my generation, so I would have to challenge this theory.
People will say that it is a good financial investment. This can be true, but if you plan on refinancing and hitting the reset button on your loans, then this theory won’t necessarily hold true either. Also, consider that what you pay when you first purchase isn’t what you’ll be paying for the life of the loan. Even with a fixed mortgage prepare for taxes and insurance to fluctuate over time. I highly recommend getting a home that’s under budget so you’ll be prepared when those increases occur.
At the end of the day, everything isn’t about money. It’s more so about doing what is right for you, and what will give you peace.
Over time my house became a burden to me.
My job became increasingly stressful to me, and when I would go home after work I’d just want to have peace and rest. Taking care of a house with all of the pressure on one person for every little thing just added to my already stressful life. Paying all the bills by myself was a thorn in my side and pocketbook. Trying to google how to fix things was becoming a headache. Cleaning the entire house alone was a pain. Being in a big empty home can get very lonely as well. Yes, you’re in a neighborhood, but oftentimes people drive into their garage, go into their homes and go about living their lives. Your paths don’t often cross beside the occasional wave through your car window as you drive by. I enjoyed driving through the neighborhood and seeing children playing, but it was a reminder of my not having children or a family of my own.
Work stress, making enough to just pay bills and coming home to a big empty house wasn’t my idea of living my best life. I got to the point where enough was enough and I just had to get out. I was very intentional about seeking out a place with millennials who were into the social scene and shared my life stage. I wanted a place that was safe and I wanted a sense of community. I wanted to live the city life one good time before leaving this earth.
I’m happy to say I have found all of that and more in the apartment where I currently live. Brandi In The City is officially in effect!
YOU HAD QUESTIONS, I’VE GOT ANSWERS
People have really been intrigued about this process. I have gotten several texts, DMs and messages with people inquiring about various things. I hope to address some of those things here.
How did I find my apartment?
I used a service called Smart City. You will get set up with a personal locator. It’s the same process as working with a realtor to find a home. I am pretty busy with my job, so looking for an apartment on my own would have been a headache. I told my locator I wanted a downtown view, nice amenities like a nice clubhouse, swimming pool, and gym. I wanted a place where I could still easily get to work. I needed security since I’m a single female. I also wanted an active community with regular events for residents. My locator sent me so many amazing places that I wouldn’t have found on my own. The only thing I didn’t get was a view of the downtown skyline. Since I’m actually in downtown I still have an amazing view. Being in downtown gives me more of a Brandi in The City feel so I’m extremely happy with my decision.
What is my long term plan?
As far as having a house, I could care less if I ever get another single family home. This apartment has spoiled me. I would love to be in a financial position to get a condo with similar amenities to my apartment complex. My long term goal is to do what makes me happy within the will of God.
Was I able to pay off some debts?
I don’t have a lot of debt. I never got into the whole credit card thing in college. I got 2 credit cards in college which I paid off and closed while still in college (I didn’t learn until later that closing accounts was a bad thing). My house was my biggest debt, so of course, that debt was paid off. After the account was closed on my home, my credit took a big hit which I wasn’t expecting. After doing some research I found that for a person with my debt ratio this is typical. I chose to keep my car loan and student loan going. The amount I pay monthly is pretty small, and I need those accounts open for now. Did I make enough to completely clear my debt with the sale of my house? Yes, but I chose not to. I have more to share about my journey at a later time, and you’ll further see how this decision is just working with God’s plan for the direction of my life.
What do I wish I knew before purchasing a home?
I didn’t take any homeowner classes, and I didn’t get much advice from others. I wish I knew what my house bills were going to look like compared to what my apartment bills were. I tried to ask around, but no one gave me actual answers, so I had to learn that part on the job. Let me tell you, house bills aren’t even close to apartment bills and they were kicking my behind. I wish that I knew that my home shield wasn’t a one-stop-shop, and I could still have to come out of pocket for things not covered in my plan. I didn’t homestead my house. I wish I had known to do that, but it’s ok. You can backdate your homestead 2 years back, and I did that right before selling it, so I got a nice little check as a result. In general, I would take some classes if I were to do it again.
How is the noise level going from a house to an apartment?
For the apartment that I stay in, which is a hi-rise with concrete between each floor, the noise is comparable to my house. I don’t hear anything from my neighbors. Occasionally I might hear a door close, but that’s very few and far in between. I hear most noise through the window, just like in my house. When I had my house and my neighbors would have get-togethers I’d hear their music, or hear cars driving by, etc. I live by a DART station so I hear the train. I love living by trains because it reminds me of being at my grandparent’s house. They literally have a train through their backyard. Growing up the whole house would shake as each train would go by. I’m the crazy person that wants to live as close to a train as possible for nostalgia. I’ll occasionally hear people and music through the window as well, but nothing unbearable, and it is not something that happens often at all.
How is the adjustment for me?
I feel free! I feel like a weight and burden has been lifted. I thought I’d miss my house, but all I keep asking myself is why didn’t I do this sooner? The other day I had a lightbulb in one of my fixtures that was out. Do you know what I did? I told the office staff and they sent a maintenance guy to change it for me. I had a package delivered and I didn’t feel like getting up at the moment to receive the package. Guess what? The concierge service received and signed for the package for me, and I was able to go down and get it when I felt like getting up. Moving can be a lot for a person. My apartment welcomed me with a bottle of wine, a wine opener, and my first maid service to help ease the moving pains. I’ve met so many people in my building already through community events, and they are amazing people. I am adjusting just fine.
How has my monthly living expenses changed?
I’m not going to lie, the mortgage to rent comparison is different because I chose to live in a place with the works BUT my overall expenses have evened out. Considering I don’t pay for home shield anymore, don’t need a gym membership, switched homeowner insurance for renters insurance my overall out of pocket is pretty much the same. Now had I chosen to live outside of the city my expenses easily would have been much cheaper in an apartment than in the house. A big plus about being in this particular apartment is that it’s a commercial building. The commercial rate for water and utilities is passed along to tenants of the building. My first full month of water and utilities was just under $50 compared to at my house where my last utility bill alone was over $200 and my water alone would be close to $60.
If you are looking to purchase or sell a home I worked with Tenesha Lusk. She is very knowledgeable about the market and how to get the best out of a purchase or a sell. When I was contemplating using my house as a rental she offered great advice for that as well, but I was over owning the home period lol.
Overall I am extremely happy with where I am now. I’m looking forward to the rest of my journey with Brandi In The City. My plan was to move outside of the city once my lease is up, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to leave. Time will tell. If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON BRANDISDIARY.COM. IT IS REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION.