Opinion : My American dream house

Alyssa Monroe

Most people want to move out of their parent’s house the second they turn 18 so they can feel like an adult, some might call their own place the “American Dream.” Most move into apartments for someone they move into houses around the college they attend. And that’s what I wanna do. I am going to be out of college soon and I’m turning 22. My boyfriend has been graduating for the last two years and has been working at his job now for two years. We decided he will be buying the house in his name and I will be helping pay the mortgage when I am more established. So far, it’s been more of a nightmare than a dream. Moving into a house is a lot of work. My boyfriend and I will be together for close to two years by the time I’m ready to move, which will be during the summer when I graduate college.

We want to buy a house because we like to entertain people and be the host of parties and get-togethers. In the next five years we also probably want to start a family and get married so buying a house just seems like the right decision for us. 

 Let me tell you it’s one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done as a couple and for me as a person. My boyfriend and I like opposite things when looking into buying a house. This journey has been to a lot of companies and finding what’s right for us. We both agree the Des Moines and Ankeny area is pricey and we don’t like the environment. We have been looking at smaller areas around the metro but we still are open to Des Moines. He wants a big garage with a big yard and isn’t as concerned about the house as much. For me, I am more focused on the house because it might be a forever home. I don’t mind having a big yard since we love hosting bonfires at my family’s house. 

What we’ve noticed so far, if you find a house you like, you basically need to book a tour right then and there because it’s going to be sold within a day or two. This has happened to us; we thought we found the one. An ad online said there was an open house but unfortunately it was sold the day before we went to visit. Most banks don’t want to lend to us because we don’t have a long credit history. We both went to college debt free and have never taken a loan out. We both have credit cards and we have good credit scores because of that but unfortunately, we’ve only had them for four years. So most banks see that I’ve never taken anything big out in our names, so it‘s hard to prove we can be reliable to pay a loan. My boyfriend did get approved for a house loan thanks to his bank. 

I would recommend having credit cards and maybe taking out a small loan. The more credit history the better, which is hard to do when most of us are in college and that’s definitely a big loan. College loans could help show the bank that you are reliable to pay off debt and be able to pay on time. It’s also difficult if you don’t have an established career. Thankfully my boyfriend has been in his career for two years now and was an apprentice before going full-time. 

Once he got approved we’ve been searching for our perfect home or at least a starter home. We found many dream homes, but they are too far from the metro where he works and our family is. We definitely make sacrifices in our wants for our perfect house. We have decided we will stick to a two-car garage, hopefully, three, if we are lucky. We are open to a smaller house and upgrading homes later on. We would really like some land for a dog and bonfires but with Des Moines it’s hit or miss. That’s where we are currently on this journey. We are still currently actively looking for homes in the metro area. Hopefully, next time I’m writing about this topic will be about buying a first home and doing renovations. 

I would recommend reaching out to someone who knows more, thankful my dad used to be a home inspector so we bring him to all the houses we tour. I would also recommend before thinking of buying a house get your financials in order, and start saving for a down payment and extra money if, for example, the house doesn’t come with a stove for an example. If you have decent savings I would go to the bank and get pre-approved, make sure you understand the different types of loans, and pick what’s right for you. My biggest thought is having a financial checklist so you can start the process. For us, I feel like going to an open house helps us gain experience and learn what we should be asking and helps determine what we need in a house vs our wants. The biggest advice I got for everyone is to get a house inspection before signing the deal. My dad isn’t doing a deep dive into the house when he walks through it with us, so hiring someone who will find everything wrong or right with the house is necessary. I would say don’t be scared if there is something wrong with the house, it could be something minor. Just remind yourself this is a long and not easy process, the average first homeowner is 33 years old according to the National Association of Realtors survey. 

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