- Get Out of Credit Card Debt
- Pay Off my Student Loans
- Pay Off my Car
- Start Saving for a Down Payment on a House
But then, a few things happened to make me change my mind. The first was the end of a relationship. No longer was I “waiting to see” where things were going with an out-of-town boyfriend. I could make my own decisions, and I knew that I would stay in Portland long term, if not indefinitely.
The second thing was a note from my dad that said, essentially, hey listen, we can help you with a down payment on something if you wanted to buy now while the rates are so low. So, I reevaluated, spoke with a realtor, got pre-approved for a loan and started looking.
Now, after seeing all the options in my price range and coming away feeling really disappointed, I've found something I like. It's a condo with a low HOA, really nice kitchen and all new everything.
It's in my price range, which is a two-word phrase for some arbitrary math that someone else did, deciding what I could afford.
On One Hand
Rates have never been lower. I've read the home buying tips to save you thousands. According to everyone who works in real estate, now's the time to buy. (According to everyone who works in real estate, any time is the time to buy!). I have to live somewhere, right? And since I'm paying rent right now that assists someone else in their mortgage payments, it seems like the thing to do.
My little sister is moving to Portland in June, and will pay me rent for a year. We've discussed this — she'll sign a lease and everything!
I can afford the monthly mortgage+insurance+taxes+HOA even without my sister's help, so having her rent payment will get me ahead quicker.
I could rent the second bedroom out on AirBnB when my sister moves out, and make back some of the money that way.
On the Other Hand
I have been so heads-down focused on getting out of debt that the entire process is scary. I mean, I have less than seven thousand dollars until I am completely and totally out of debt once and for all. I've been charting my progress every month — heck, I even started writing Frugal Portland to help get me motivated to get out of debt!
Getting Out of Debt is NOT a Goal
I think the “once and for all” mentality is what's holding me back. If I'm honest with myself, I know that I'm not going to rent forever.
The problem is that I've had “get out of debt” as a finish line — and it's anything but. Paying down debt is absolutely the right thing to do, but it's not the end of the race. Anyone reading this blog knows that getting out of debt is simply step one (some might argue step zero!) toward financial success.
The Scariest Part
Buying a house (or even a condo!) is definitely one of the biggest financial decisions of a person's life. Combine that with borrowing a great deal of money from your parents and wanting to repay their generosity within the shortest time frame, along with very real assumptions about projected income, and it's signing up for years of debt.
All that said, I think I'm ready.Do you think I should wait until I've paid off the last $7K? Am I being irresponsible for even looking now? Or can I go forward, as long as I'm clear-eyed about what this means?