House Buying // Part 2

Part 2: Baby Steps

Since my last post, we have made significant strides towards buying a house. We have put together a time frame in high hopes that we can hold to it, and we are making baby steps towards that goal.

Here's what has changed in the last month:

  • Tom got a bonus that has really kickstarted our down payment savings.

  • Going to open houses every Sunday has deepened our drive to get a house. We know that by waiting a lot longer, we’ll miss out on some ideal neighborhoods or have to pay more for those neighborhoods the longer we wait. Atlanta and its suburbs grow so rapidly and time is really of the essence. The seller’s market is only going to get worse, and we want to start putting our money into equity rather than throw it away on rent.

  • We have come to the realization that if we re-lease with our current apartment, we'll have to fork out another $200+ per month (as they have jacked up rent since we moved here because of improvements across the property). As stated previously, we are already paying rent equivalent to the mortgage of a $300,000+ home, and we are not about to pay beyond that. Not to mention utilities are entirely separate.

  • Our current lease will end in the middle of a 10-day trip to Wisconsin. Horrible timing. So we need  to move out in the month prior to our trip to a cheaper, possibly smaller apartment, and sign a six month lease instead of one year.

Here are our goals and next steps in this process:

  • During those six months or so, we'll put aside extra money saved on rent, cut expenses wherever we can, continue "paying off" credit cards that we've already paid off (pretend we're still paying credit cards, and instead push those "bills" into savings), and live as frugal as possible. Our end goal is that when six or so months have passed, we'll have a significant lump sum that can be used for a down payment and other expenses in buying a home, without running us completely dry.

  • Our end goal is to be in a house around the end of the year. It’s going to take a lot of consistency, sacrifice, and more times of saying “no”, but I know it will be so worth it in the end.

As you can see, there is still a long way to go. When we moved here, talk of buying a house was a far off venture, but because of recent circumstances I’m excited that it’s closer than we thought! Currently, our big challenge is finding an apartment/home for rent that is equal or less than the rent we pay currently. Safety is always an issue in such a metropolis, so that makes it hard to find something doable. Gated communities are prevalent to lessen crime rates, so living in a complex without gated access scares me a little. The phrase “you get what you pay for” keeps ringing in my head, but sorry, $1,350+ a month for rent is highway robbery to this Midwest soul… it’s so hard to stomach that. So, if you need me, I’ll be scouring the area for good rentals and touring every one I can. I've even gotten quite good at checking a place for mold, bugs, poor ventilation, iffy neighbors, and low quality carpet in the first three minutes of walking in the door (impressive, right?? I think so..). You need an inspector? Look no further.

So. Any advice for us at this point? A next step you think would be good?
People in the area: Know of any reputable rentals near to Alpharetta or at least access to 400?