Buying a home in your 20s is easier than you think.

I never thought I’d want to buy a home before I was married, yet alone in my 20s. Nevertheless with my boyfriend being in the U.S. Coast Guard. I began to stress about if we ever would buy a home. It never made sense to me to buy a home if we would have to move four years later.

Recently, the thought of buying a home has become more realistic for myself. I was lucky enough to live with family for a few years after my college graduation and now I am renting. It is sickening to me, knowing my money is disappearing on a house that I won’t live in for more than a year. 

Nowadays, many Millennials refrain from owning a home mostly because of these two reasons.

The first reason being, they wait until marriage because at that point in their life, they probably have a better idea of where they want to live (like myself), stability in the workplace, etc. The second one is they value having a low-key, low-maintenance lifestyle. Home ownership often doesn't fit this value point.

But, owning a home is still a great money move in most areas. Here are some tips on how to buy a home in your 20s.

Be sure where you want to live.

I am originally from Upstate New York and moved down to Florida for school. Having that experience of living far away from home was an amazing thing because it taught me what I did and did not want. I knew that living back home was not for me.

My current situation is a little different. With my boyfriend being in the U.S. Coast Guard, it gives us plenty of opportunity to visit many places to decide what we like best before we settle down and put our official “roots” into a house.

After you're absolutely sure on where you want to live for the the next three to five years, it's time to roll up your sleeves and figure out how much you want to spend and can afford.

Build up your credit.

Twenty-somethings may have low (or no) credit, which means you'll have a hard time getting approved for a mortgage. Something small you can do if you have no credit, is open up a credit card with a small limit. The key to this is to be sure to pay it off every month.

If you do have established credit, be sure to review your credit report. It is important to keep your balances at 30 percent or below your credit limit in order to increase your score. Also, be sure to pay all your balances on time.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on a home and is easier than you might think. This Bankrate calculator plays with the numbers to see how your monthly payment would be affected, depending on your interest rate and down payment. You can get pre-qualified with any lender. Often, you can quickly do this right online. You should also be aware of the types of loan products that exist. It is important to use the loan that works best for you. Since my boyfriend is Active Duty, we will have the VA loan available to us. The VA loan is very beneficial to military families because it does not require a down payment or private mortgage insurance premium. 

Having a lower down payment helps ease a lot of the financial hurdles that come with owning a home.

SAVE consistently before buying.

Now that you know how much you can afford for a mortgage, it’s time to think about a down payment. That means trimming the budget and saving, saving, saving.

Some small things to do would be to steadily save a percentage of your paycheck and/or putting any extra money made right into your savings account (side jobs, bonuses, tax refunds etc.).

The most important thing is to set a goal and put aside money consistently for 6 to 12 months before you want to buy. This will help build up your down payment fund. That money could also go towards closing costs.

Get down payment assistance.

Make sure to research every down payment assistance and grant program you can find. It will provide you with a set amount of money to be qualified as a homebuyer.

Know what you’re buying.

It is not only important to worry about the finances of the home but to look into the home itself and its surroundings. Even when I am finding a house to rent, I make sure to do this. 

You want to get to know the neighborhood and areas around the home so you are aware of all that comes with it. Driving past the home in the morning, afternoon, and night is one way to get an idea of the people and traffic around your future home. To dig a little deeper, you could read press releases and news articles about the activity in the area or maybe do some Google digging. 

If your neighborhood has a neighborhood association group, that is one way to meet people in your community and get involved. It could really make all the difference in the home that you choose.

If you can’t afford it, DON’T buy it.

This is probably the biggest advice I could give 20-somethings who are looking to buy a house. While having a low salary, large student loan payments and other variables in your budget, it's important to buy a home you can comfortably afford.

Extra finances to keep in mind will making your budget include your mortgage, taxes, fees, insurance and maintenance costs. Here's another awesome calculator that can help you figure out how much you can afford.

Also, remember this: Just because you have been approved for an amount, doesn't mean you have to buy up to that limit.

Home ownership is smart, but it can be expensive if you don't prepare.

Fall is right around the corner!

Keeping your house maintained in the fall may seem like a big chore, but it doesn’t take much to keep your curb appeal up and maintained.


There is any easy way to clean up this season that will make your fall check list dwindle.

Before you worry about how much work it’s going to be to get this started, it’s simple! You can purchase a compost bin for as little as $25 and it’s easy to get started.

Pick up the twigs and miscellaneous pieces in your hard and put them at the bottom of the compost.

Your beds will need to be refreshed and remulched to keep it from molding and protecting it from the harsh winter weather. Rake out that top layer of rough soil and put it on top of the branches in your compost.

Rake up the leaves and add those to the compost pile next.

Cut the grass one last time close to the ground and put the trimmings in the compost pile. All your yard work is then done and you don’t have bags sitting in your front yard that you’ll need to figure out how to dispose of and when that pile has composted, you can use it for fresh soil later.

Don’t let fall yard work keep your from maintaining your yard. It can be simple!

Rent Rising? Roomates are a must!

Rent keeps rising, and with that comes a financial burden some can’t bear. Although buying a new home might not be on your mind, having a roommate in your newly purchased home or in your rented space is looking like a must have to get through this rise in price.


Shared spaces are hard to conquer, especially when you have been living on your own! Here are a few tips to help you get through the transition. Imagine cutting your belongings in half. All this storage space you have had before is now going to be shared. Be willing to split the space.


Be ready to mix styles. Each roommate comes with their own items and their own tastes. Each shared space should have a happy balance of each person. Be open to change and incorporating their items with yours.


Define personal spaces. When sharing a living space, it’s important to have your own individual space that you can escape to. Make this space feel like home to you.


Bathrooms can be the hardest to share! If you are sharing a bathroom make sure you have enough room. Double sinks is a major win when it comes to sharing a bathroom.


Go ahead and sit down with your new roommate and set up a plan. Work out a weekly/monthly cleaning schedule. Talk about what your daily routines are and find out theirs as well. The more you communicate, the better this transition will work out for both of you!

1.via bhg  2. via nousdecor  3. via bhg 4. via 100layercake 5. via sfgirlbybay

Are You Negotiating?

When most people sign lease agreements they may not realize that some things are actually negotiable! Most assume that everything is set in stone and they just have to take what they are offered. Here are a few things you might want to consider talking about during your next lease agreement:

Apartment Building CASP 74 / Bach Arquitectes


Your rent price is set by your landlord on what they think it is worth. That doesn't always mean that it is what it is actually worth! Take a look at other options and come ready to let them know what the true value of their space is and what you are willing to pay.

Classic and Elegant Townhouse


Most amenities come with additional fees. Gyms, pools, parking and add more than you were hoping for in your monthly bills. You can negotiate these to be put into your monthly rent or ask for one time only payments! Don't want all these amenities? Ask to only pay for what you'll use.

Primrose Hill - dream place to live really


Some places have a strict no pet policy and most of them choose this option because they have been burned before by previous tenants. If you have a certain size, species, or just a really well behaved quite pet - you might be able to swing getting them in with you! This might include an additional fee, but it may be well worth it in the end.

Pet Friendly Home Tour: Jess Lively & Franklin | Pretty Fluffy


Didn't know deposits could be negotiated? Have you been renting for a while and have a great record and some contacts to prove so? Do you have renters insurance to cover any damages? If you are able to prove those things you might be able to lower the deposit cost or have it taken away altogether.

What are you thinking about negotiating?

Traditional Wood Floors Are Gone

Traditional wood floors are now off the demand list!

Lauren Shadid Architecture - House of Turquoise

With so many options available what should you choose?

Robson Rak + Made by Cohen collaboration - Elwood House — The Little Design Corner (

Current trends are saying blonde, gray, and white washed are in.

Bespoke Natural Grey Engineered Oak from Reclaimed Flooring Co

Wide planks seem to be the  most desired but even herringbone is coming back in!

Large bank of floor to ceiling cabinets, beautiful windows & doors with oversized transom (so much natural light!), herringbone wood floors.

Let's just say you'll be safe to stay away from the traditional skinny wood floors for now!

Why Rental Costs Are Rising!

Rental costs are skyrocketing and you might not know why, but we do.

Family-sized: Chelsea and Marc splashed out on a $10.5million, four-bedroom apartment last...

A majority of the economy is renting instead of purchasing! Why?

Have a studio, no problem. Build a stage four your bed- and build a room divider- or install a curtain around your bed, in a sense creating a room divider.

With the economy down we are learning to live with less square footage and necessities.

Streets of Monaco at Night. I want to take you there forever.  That place has something very special and with you would be magical.

We find ourselves traveling more which means we aren't willing to be tied down.

8 Sneaky Small Space Solutions | Apartment Therapy

But because of these things, more renters equal higher rent. It's the average concept of supply and demand.

old apartment building

But with higher rent it is less affordable, so you end up in a less desirable area.

Go Whimsical in Your Color Approach. Teal front door and gray grey exterior on house home. (IDEA for front porch)

And you'll soon find out that the single family home you were looking at before, is not only more affordable. But you get a return investment from it!

Which is better? Neither. It depends on your living situation. But if you are looking for something more affordable, you might just want to look at your rent cost vs a monthly mortgage!

Great Descriptions equal great sales!

Selling a home isn't as easy as one would think. There are a lot of factors that are involved and then there's that terrifying word: marketing. Everyone knows enough to dabble in marketing but are you doing it well enough to grab the right people? Are you choosing your words carefully? What is the secret to selling a home fast?

There isn't one specific thing that sells a home fast. It's personal. When someone walks through the door, they either feel connected to the home or they don't. Sure there are pluses and minuses like does it have an office, is the backyard big enough, and is there enough space or storage. But what really pulls someone in, is the "Can I see myself living here?"

What I want to know, is can you get that question answered by someone who isn't even in the home? I bet you can. Words have transferred us to new places, given us a visual of what life could be like for decades in books, newspapers, and even blogs. Can words and pictures walk you through a home you've never been in and make you want to be there? I think so, and so does CEO Spencer Rascoff and Chief Economist Stan Humphries in their book, "Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate".

Real estate language and buyer language are quite different and very important in wording your descriptions of a home. Some are magical and some are very detrimental. Calling a home modern might seem like it's saying it's up to date, sleek, shiny, and new to a buyer, but calling a home modern in real estate means it was built in the mid-to-late 1980's.

Another example might be using words that say cozy, charming,  or quaint might seem like something that would bring a buyer who is looking for a cottage style home in, but to real estate agents you are saying it is less than 1,500 square feet. Small might not be the word you were looking for, but that's what it's saying.

So who are you writing these descriptions for? Buyers or Real Estate Agents or Both? If this were a few years ago I'd say you were writing descriptions for Real Estate Agents. These days, I say it's the buyers! With homes in books, magazines, blogs, and most importantly home websites like Zillow, it's the buyers searching through these listings and sending them to their Real Estate Agents for showings. It might be safe to cater towards both, but think with the buyer in mind and as long as you have great pictures to go with it, you are sure to win the hearts of many.

Reclaiming Your Castle | …loving the place you come home to.

Are there other ways you can go wrong in your description? Yes there is! Not using the allotted words in the description section are a waste of a great opportunity. If you have 250 words available to you, use every last one of them. People want to know everything there is to know about the home and they are willing to research and read all about it. Give them what they want, and who knows maybe those last three words are what grabs them the most!

ipincomplish: Welcome Post and Sign! So adorable!

Lastly, if there's something original, amazing, breathtaking about the home you are selling. Don't sell it short. This is competition!  Like Rascoff and Humphries advise, "If you've got it, flaunt it." and I think you should do just that.

Quick Tips on TIPA-RESPA by C.L.A Title

There are changes in the air! Starting this August you will be seeing new Disclosures and regulations on Loans. Don't worry though, we have all the facts thanks to!

"On August 1, 2015 the HUD 1 will be replaced by the new Closing Disclose and the new Loan Estimate will be replacing the Good Faith Estimate and the Trust in Lending Disclosure." - C.L.A Title

Closing Disclosures forms are going to be 5 pages long instead of 3 pages and must be given to the borrower 3 business days before closing! This is much earlier than the original 24 hours prior to closing. The Closing disclosures has much of the same info as the Trust Lending form and the HUD 1 explanation of fee's and closing costs is closely resembled in page 2 and 3.  There is more explanation on cash to close, which is wonderful, and page 4 has an easy to read section explaining escrow. The last page is a quick summary of loan calculations, contact information, and other disclosures.

Lenders are now going to be required to provide the borrower the Loan Estimate 3 business days after the application has been submitted by the consumer. The first page contains information on the breakdown of loan terms, projected payments, and closing cost. The second includes the break down information of the closing cost. The third page explains additional information about the loan along with the APR.

About C.L.A Title: 

C.L.A. Title is a nationwide title company providing title services for lenders nationwide. For more information please visit our website

Market Price vs. Market Value

Do you know what the difference is between Market Price and Market Value?If old houses make your heart skip a beat, you're not going to be able resist these real estate gems. just recently posted a great article explaining this and I thought I'd take the time to briefly explain it to all of you!  Market prices is the number attached to the home that the owner has decided is worth the sale of their home. Now many things will come to play in this number like; a realtors suggestion, how much it's worth it for the seller to move, and a market value.

Richmond, VA   You can have the American dream of a white picket fence and a tiny house too with this small home, located in Virginia. There's a lot of room for personality in the recently remodeled interior, so get moving—we'd snap this one up in a heartbeat.  Location: Richmond, VA Square Feet: 740 Price: $80,000

A market value is researched information and numbers that calculate what the worth of the home might be. For example an appraiser, competing homes, seller and buyer demand really play a role in coming up with this "number".

How to Get a Home Appraised for Its Maximum Value

Do you know what your homes market value is, and if so, what would be your market price?

Understanding How To Sell to the Current Buyers

With the economy rising and the next generation ready to move forward, we are seeing younger home owners more often! Are you selling to the right crowd or are you stuck marketing for the past buyers?

8 Smart Budget Curb Appeal Makeovers Upgrading your house's exterior. Check out these clever, thrifty ideas to create a more welcoming home

One of the most important things to do is market your home for the most current buyer. This generation of buyers is much different than what we have seen the past. Are you up to speed?

2015 Trends | west elm

This generation is familiar with what life is like when you spend all your time working and no time enjoying what you have. High end items are out and working with what you have is in.

pallet day bed

It isn't about having the best and living above your means. It's about picking what you enjoy and making it what you want it to be. You love huge windows and natural light, that's what you go after.

The Most Beautiful Kitchen Backsplashes We've Ever Seen via @domainehome

Great kitchens have always been a trend and to some extent they still are. This generation is eating out less and staying in more. They are enjoying their kitchen but they want it to reflect that as well. Bright happy rooms with a touch of character seem to draw us in more.

Creative workplaces. Why do they always have one focal luxury that I don't -- huge windows/natural lighting??!

Most of us are working from home! We've figured out what a great savings it is, you get to be where you are investing most of your money into, and you have more time for family and events now that you aren't commuting! This generation is looking for a space we can easily place an indoor office.

How to Live Stylishly in a Studio Apartment - Love the colors and set up of this apartment

It's not about the square footage. It's about how you use it. Is there enough of storage? Are all my basic needs being met? Can I spend a majority of my time here and be happy? Those are the things current buyers are looking for.

Are you getting the bang for your buck?

Finding the best home and getting the best bang for your buck don't always go hand in hand. Are you having to choose a good bargain for a decent home? Are you settling for something you didn't want just because it's a good deal?

Getting both a great deal and a great property has been a struggle for most but there is a solution. Buying a renovated home isn't going to cost you an arm and a leg, and you are going to get some high end materials out of this deal! Reno'd homes are usually purchased for near fair market value or a little less of the current state of the home.

Because renovator's do this often the usually have great deals for high end materials that you couldn't get on your own, they always work with the same contractors and designers to guarantee great quality. Because they are saving money, they aren't having to rack up their prices in order to gain as much profit as if a home owner would if they put their own personal money into a home.

This provides you with a move in ready home for a fraction of the cost. Are you ready to get your dream home and get more bang for your buck?

Why Zillow is Changing Real Estate

As we all know technology keeps getting better and the way we do things with it are expanding our opportunities. It was predicted by zillow that more homes would be sold this winter do to being able to view the properties online prior to going house to house to find the perfect one. I feel like the were right on cue and there's only more to come

With a zestimate to see what our current house is worth, what fees to expect, how much your mortgage is and how much you can put down. There are so many feature's that zillow has provided for us to make the thought of moving and searching options easier. They found an opportunity in what was lacking in the real estate and have changed the way we have viewed home buying.

Now they have come up with a new book about the rules of real estate. It talks about the new challenges to home buying and data providing insights on what we once thought were some of the most important aspects in searching for a home like "buy the worst house in the best neighborhood". Is that the best way to buy a home now?

Looks like we'll have to find out!

Flippers Save You Money

There are some serious advantages to selling your home to someone who is interested in flipping it. Here are a few reasons it can save you some money:


Most Realtors get 6-7% of your homes sale price.

You will also pay for closing and attorney fees which can range from $3,000-$5,000.

Typically, to get your home to sell at a decent price it needs to be up to date, which costs in repairs. This price can range depending on what your home needs.

Between showings and days that it sits on the market, you might not see the dollar savings in it, but you definitely will when you can't sell right away and you are paying to mortgages!

Money in your hands

When you selling your home to someone who is interested in flipping:

You are not required to do any upgrades. They take it as is.

If it is a good company, you will get fair market value!

There is no wait time that's going to eat at your wallet.

You also don't have to worry about any additional fees!

Interested in getting an offer on your house without a hassle? Give us a call!

A Few Reasons to Love 2015's Home Market

Colonial   Plantation   Southern   House Plan 86186 - Might like this one the best.  Time to play Lotto.  lol. We all know it's be a struggle these days in the real estate world but 2015 is a fresh new start, and with all those new goals we have in mind, maybe a new home might just be a great starting point. If you've been shying away from a new home because of the real estate market, you might want to change your mind while you can:

Thank you Fannie Mae! Like a long lost friend we are finally getting back in touch with great opportunities like lower down payments!

Perfect Little Cabin Plan!! Whisper Creek Plan #1653 - 17 House Plans with Porches - Southern Living

"Prospective buyers have another reason to high-five Fannie and Freddie: They’ve recently agreed to get behind loans with just 3 percent down. That lower benchmark, coupled with loosening credit standards, will likely help more first-time buyers enter the market. - 10news"

The rates are still low and seem to be pretty steady. You won't have to worry about a huge rise in mortgage rates, and all though they are stating that don't see a huge increase anytime soon, I'd still lock in those rates while you can!

a house in france home tour

Home loans are going to be a little easier to get. The Urban Institute estimates more “normal” lending requirements could mean an additional 1.2 million home loans every year.

Let the new year bring in new amazing options!

Tips on Real Estate Photography!

If you are interested in Real Estate Photography here a few tips to get you started: Camera: Purchase a good quality camera and read through the guide!! It's important to learn everything that it can do to help you maneuver a great photo.

9 Helpful Tips on How to Take Fantastic Photos Everyone Will Love … Learning how to take fantastic photos is actually quite easy. Everyone’s a photographer these days, thanks to programs like Instagram, …Practice: Practice makes perfect! Try getting great shots around your house, use different lenses and accessories (like a tripod!) to figure out what works best for you. Get used to different lighting and how angles look in each photo.

I really like Making It Lovely's explanation on how to photograph your house the right way.Editing: Find an editing program you like and learn everything there is to know about it! Figure out how to adjust your pictures to look how you want them to.

How We Shot It - Real-Estate Photography

But most importantly: Capture the homes best qualities! Make it a space worth falling in love and moving for.

My Formula For Pricing Real Estate Photography

Moving Must Haves

Moving into your new home can be exciting, overwhelming, and stressful all at the same time! Here are a few tips to help you get through the firs 24 hours: 1. Pack a suitcase:

I did this in my studio. Inside is vintage lace, velvets, silks, special threads and ribbons and a one case if full of antique quilt blocks. So cute!

Put in it the clothes that you'll need for two days and a night, bathroom necessities (including toilet paper), and maybe even your pillow and a blanket in case you don't get the bed set up right away!

2. Kitchen necessities:

Minimalist Danish Kitchen Designs by Kvik Kitchen Inspiration

Paper towels, paper plates, utensils, cooler of food, snack bag, and trash bags!

3. Label label label:

I like these ideas for moving!! And a checklist to print! Another good idea for our move coming up!!

Label those boxes with whats inside, color code them for each room in the house, and put a great big start sticker on the ones that should be opened first. I did this for my last move in and it saved us so much time and frustration of moving boxes around a millions times and opening the same ones to see what's inside!

4. Make a list:


Make a list before you move of things you might want to buy on your way there like batteries, a first aid kit, flashlight, light bulbs, paper products, or even some curtains to cover the windows the first night.

5. Enjoy:

Go Whimsical in Your Color Approach. Teal front door and gray grey exterior on house home. (IDEA for front porch)

Try not to stress about too much. Almost everything in the moving process can be replaced and it's more important that you enjoy the journey than worry about the little things. After all, you just got a brand new home!

Staging A Home to Sell

There are a few tips to staging a home that can really help in the final process of flipping.

Loving the height and simplicity of frame in the hallway mirror... it really contemparises an otherwise quite traditional hallway..

Making a statement as soon as you walk in the door can really grab a buyer as well as set the tone for the rest of the house. Going minimalistic can give you a feel of a large room as well as not cloud the idea of making it their own.

 Mix and match metallics to illuminate any room. Save 35% sitewide! Use code ARTPIN35 from 11/18/14 to 12/18/14.

Knowing what's on trend. Finding a few pieces that go along with the current trends can bring in a sense of feeling at home. All it takes is one piece for the eye to catch and love for an instant emotional connection.

Floor to Ceiling Dining Room Curtains

Floor to ceiling curtains make the windows feel larger and the room feel taller. They also give a sense of luxury that most buyers desire.

Fall Entryway Decor and Fall Home Tour |

Curb appeal is a must! Not only is it the first thing they see when they pull up, but also the last thing as they are leaving.


And not a mandatory thing, but one of my favorites is fresh flowers. There's just something about a little nature indoors to make you feel like this home is well taken care of.

Do you have any tips on staging a home?