Now that we are about six months into our journey to home ownership, I thought I would provide a quick report on our progress.
The Down Payment
Our biggest goal over the last five months has been to save up money for a down payment. Since we have no credit score, we have been advised to put at least twenty percent down. Making extra money through my side hustle jobs as a personal grocery shopper for Shipt and a test grader for Educational Testing Service has been slower than I would like. Most weeks, I’m only making about $60.
Andy started a job a couple of months ago that came with a pay increase, but the increase has required an increase in living expenses for things like a second car and more expensive medical insurance. Sometimes, I feel a little like the couple in the movie Up who keep having to break open the savings jar to pay for other expenses.
As of today, we are 18% of the way towards our savings goal. Sigh.
Calculating a Mortgage Payment
We used the mortgage calculator on Dave Ramsey’s website to figure out how much of a house we can afford. Ramsey and his team recommend limiting a monthly mortgage payment to no more than 25% of the household take-home pay. He also recommends getting a 15 year fixed mortgage. With these factors, we calculated the price of an affordable home based on our income. This was encouraging news as the area where we want buy currently has several houses for sale in that range. If we decide to go with a 30 year fixed mortgage, we could afford slightly more.
Starting the Wish List
On a more fun note, Andy and I have begun to talk about what features we really want in a house. We are not picky home owners. We have no visions of moving into a Flip or Flop remodeled gem. Shag carpet, formica counter tops and popcorn ceilings are things we can tolerate. Here is our current list of must-haves and wishes:
- at least three bedrooms
- at least one and a half bathrooms
- a back yard that can easily accommodate a medium sized swing set
- a garage (any size)
- single level
- mature trees
- a screened in porch or a porch that could easily be screened in
- open kitchen, dining living area
My brilliant, creative sister, Kim, has created a handy meal plan worksheet. I like it so much that I have printed it, framed it, and hung it on my kitchen wall to use like a dry erase board. You could also attach some magnets to the back of the frame to hang it on the fridge, or you can simply print a new one each week. It’s a quick, handy reference for me to look at before I head to the store or when the kids start asking, “What’s for dinner?”
The great news is that Kim is making this free printable available to all of our subscribers! If you want to grab your copy, simply click the subscribe button in the left margin and check your inbox for the welcome email. You can view and purchase Kim’s entire home organization pack by clicking here.