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 Denver, CO
- Bedrooms: 2
- Bathrooms: 1
- Type of Residence: Condo
- Down payment percentage of home cost: 20%
(Scroll for media)
CH: How old were you when you bought/when did you buy?
KC: We were both 36 when we were finally able to afford a place on our own.
CH: Are you both on the deed/loan? If not, why?
KC: The condo is under my name only, mostly because my husband was still new at his job and we were worried that his year off from work after we moved would increase our loan rates.
CH: Why did you decide to buy?
KC: We’re originally from metro NYC and Suburban Long Island, NY where the housing markets have been out of our range ever since we were old enough to hold real jobs. We knew that if we were going to own a home we loved and didn’t feel house poor in, we’d have to leave our hometowns. When we moved to Denver in 2015 we were surprised at how – comparatively – pricey home ownership was. Because we’d been priced out of homes back east by the time we started looking, we didn’t want that to happen to us again. As soon as we figured out that we liked Denver enough to live here for a few years, we started brainstorming creative ways to buy something in the downtown area.
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?
KC: Crazily enough, we didn’t actively save specifically for a home. I’ve been lucky to have had one great paying job in my mid – late 20s that had matching retirement account benefits, and my husband had some investments his parents started for him when he was young. We made the hard but ultimately right decision to nearly liquidate all of that savings to put into our down payment and closing costs. We figured we would have better, happier lives overall if we risked a little bit of the far off future to take the next big step in our lives and relationship.
CH: Did anyone else contribute to the down payment? If so, what percentage of the down payment?
KC: Nope – we did it all ourselves! We didn’t ask our parents for help – we’re sure they would have chipped in what they could, but it’s something we wanted to do ourselves.
CH: Is there anything else you want to share?
KC: It still feels weird to say I own a home – full stop. I’m a city kid, but my parents owned my childhood home in Flatbush Brooklyn… my mom and I both still daydream about what life would be like if we’d held onto that amazing 3 story brownstone… it hurts, lol! They were able to afford that on their own as immigrants in the 80s. Contrast that with the fact that I never thought I’d own a home because the housing market where I’m from has been unattainable for years. Now that I’m someone who was only able to buy after moving to a ‘smaller’ town, I think a lot about housing equity, displacement of local and real estate opportunism.
Cat is pretty much a weirdo, but believes we all are- so there’s that. SoCal born and raised, currently living it up (all the city and outdoor things) in Denver and proliferating her eclectic tastes.