How Did You Afford This, Scott L. & Jen D.?

We’ve all seen it: a Facebook or Instagram photo of someone we know showing off a big purchase. Sometimes we’re happy for them, sometimes we’re resentful, but one thing is usually true — we don’t know the whole story. In “How Did You Afford This”, we ask readers to let us know how they were able to afford big purchases in their lives. In this installment of the series, we are starting with one of the biggest investments any of us will ever make: home ownership.


  • Location: Urban in Concord, CA (East Bay)
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Type of Residence: Single Residential
  • Down payment percentage of home cost: 3.5% (first home), 25% (second home)

CH: How old were you when you bought/when did you buy?
SL: We bought our first townhome in Oakland, CA in June of 2011. I was 26 years old and my wife was 25.

CH: Why did you decide to buy?
SL: We bought at a downturn in the economy a few years out of college. I come from a real estate family and believe real estate is one of the best long term investments. Paying rent monthly for us was the equivalent of throwing away money and we wanted to avoid that as quickly as possible.

CH: How long did you save until you started your home search and what percentage of the value of the home was your down payment? If you have a partner, did you split the down payment?
SL: We were very fortunate and qualified for an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment. In 2011 Bay Area homes were surprisingly affordable and we had enough money on hand (it was about $9K) to purchase our town home. Our process from home search to closing escrow was approximately 6 weeks.

In the summer of 2015 we saw an Eichler home come up for sale in Concord about a half hour away from Oakland. My wife and I both come from architectural backgrounds and fell in love with the home instantly. We were not looking to sale/move but decided before viewing the home we were going to go for it. We sold our town home in Oakland and bought our Eichler in a span of 4 weeks. Given the increase in home values over the 4 years we owned our first home, we were able to put down 25% on the new home.

CH: Did anyone else contribute to the down payment? If so, what percentage of the down payment?
SL: No.

CH: Is there anything else you want to share?
SL: You’re awesome, and I want to meet your new puppy.


Did you enjoy figuring out how the fuck Scott afforded this? Find more stories in this series HERE.

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