125198211 844a3ca79f Real World...New Jersey

Within the past three years I’ve gone from living in a dorm on campus, writing 10 page papers and staying up until 4AM studying for final exams (thank you Starbucks), to getting up early, busily managing important projects, attending day long strategy meetings, speaking with brokers at conferences, etc. etc… Basically taking on all of the real world stuff that comes with being a twenty something year old building a career and a life outside of school and my parents’ home for the first time.

Call it bad luck or what have you, but I’ve entered the “workforce” during what many are calling the worst American economic downturn since the Great Depression. With that lingering over all our heads; I’ve been fairly comfortable with being a renter these past few years while working towards saving money and building a career for myself.  Fast forward to 2010 and something has occurred to me…I’ve spent thousands of dollars on rent and I have absolutely nothing to show for it.

So with this epiphany, I’ve realized a couple things:

  1. What I pay in rent is fairly comparable to what some of my friends pay in mortgage for similarly sized properties in the same area (2 miles outside of Manhattan)
  2. Paying a mortgage is like setting money aside into a savings account as opposed to giving it to a landlord (never to be seen again!)
  3. Buying a home has NEVER been more affordable (you also get more bang for your buck)
  4. Mortgage rates are at historic lows
  5. Real Estate is one of the most sound and profitable long term investments I could make
  6. There’s a first-time homebuyer tax credit!!
  7. There’s something to be said for the pride that comes with owning your own home. If purple walls express my personal style then purple walls it is and I have no one to answer to but myself (and friends who’d surely poke fun at such a choice and quickly refer me to one of those programs on TV where they fix up houses with horrible wallpaper, walls or furniture)

For the reasons above and for countless others, I’ve realized that I want to start looking for my first home to buy. I’m not afraid to admit that the home-buying process seems daunting and I’m not entirely sure where I should start first. Should I find properties myself first and then find a real estate agent? What questions should I ask? Is it advisable to reach out to the seller’s agent personally? How much of a down payment do I need? How much home can I afford?

Stay tuned and join me as I embark on this epic journey!

To be continued…

*Photo courtesy of loop_oh