Hope me with Housing in NoVa? Renting. Buying.
December 10, 2013 5:17 PM Subscribe
Should I get a mortgage even if all the house I can afford right now in the Northern Virginia (NoVa) area is $120k to $150k (according to two different calculators)?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My situation at home is a bit precarious right now so I want to explore my housing options now that I sort of kind of have the means to do so. ...But do I really have the means to do so? Hope me please!!
For a bit of background, I'm female, 24, and I have never lived by myself. Ever. And I'm a little freaked out by it, so of course, I have no idea what to expect with the financial implications. But I definitely get the general sense that it's expensive around here in the NoVa area. It seems like most of my peers are renting around $1300 at the low end and $1900 at the high end (without counting utilities). I know this can be offset by living with roommates in a house/apartment but for reasons I'd rather not go into, that isn't an option for me. I also can't live with my boyfriend either (at least not right now) since he makes about a 1/3 of what I make after taxes and wouldn't be able to pay rent. He lives at home currently and his parents are definitely cool with it. And no, I wouldn't dream of living with him and his parents, too awkward!. So it would be just me, myself, and I.
- Each month I make $3k after taxes and $2.4k after my 401k contributions. My salary is $56k but it doesn't feel like it goes too far.
- My parents probably would be to provide $10k+ towards a downpayment.
- Student loans have been aggressively slashed down to $7k and minimum monthly is $80.
- No credit card debt
- Free credit score from AmEx guesstimates it at 740. Hopefully it's actually much higher.
- Not currently paying for cell phone but it would be $60.
- Not currently paying for car insurance and have no idea what it would be.
- Have taken care of my own medical expense for years.
- Current expenses for gas and groceries are $120 and $100 respectively. Can be adjusted once that dang Silver Line opens (work can pay for public transport).
- Currently work in Herndon, Va. There are offices in DC of course and I could be transferred or find another job there/all over NoVa.
- Currently living in Arlington near East/West Falls Church (grew up here and I still get them confused).
- Not qualified for anything (vet, public service worker, disabled, etc.)
- I am not very adventurous or nomadic. At all. In the slightest. I prefer to be plopped down and for my roots to grow deep.
- If money were no issue I'd buy the nicest craftsman style house in the City of Falls Church.
- I have lived in apartments before...and I actually enjoyed it.
- I don't have to live in the lap of luxury. Just safety and a reasonably nice little nest.
- I could probably be described as very frugal, especially by my peers.
- I could entertain the possibility of living in a condo/townhome while raising any future kid(s). So can my boyfriend.
- Most likely will marry said bf in the next few years, we've discussed things. I am ok with the money he is making now. And the money I am making now. He thinks we will earn significantly more in the future. For me, I have the potential to make up to 80-90k if I keep it up in my career (next 4-5 years maybe?). Would most likely aim for above 100k though to support us in the future if we have kid(s).
- He is also similarly attached to this area (NoVa) as I am through family and friends.
- No repair or handy(wo)man skills. Could learn the reasonable stuff though (open to it anyway).
- Read Mr. Money Mustache and a few other early retirement and PF blogs. But I cater it to my own personal situation, I don't follow mindlessly (and no I don't think anyone else does either, just saying).
So..whats your advice? I need some perspective from more experienced folks and I would love to hear from those who transitioned from living with the parents to buying and from living with the parents to renting, especially in a big and expensive housing area. I have heard the sentiment that you don't own the house, the house owns you and well, that's a little terrifying tbh. But I still want that option on the table to explore. Is it a pipedream? Can you even buy a place to live around here for between $120-150k? What would be some concrete next steps? Are there even realtors who want to sell homes that cheap around here?? I've looked at low income rentals for Arlington and it's still around $1200-$1400 and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't qualify as low income. I feel so frustrated, hopeless and really overwhelmed. Please hope me!
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