A line from Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood has Leonardo di Caprio’s character Rick Dalton admitting, “What did I always say? The most important thing in this town is, when you’re making money, you buy a house in town, you don’t rent. Hollywood real estate means you live here. You’re not just visiting, not just passing through.”
In keeping with this sentiment, Trulia recently featured the story of Marta Aviles, a young woman who bought a home just outside Denver before she was old enough to buy a beer. “She’s not a trust-funder. She didn’t win the lottery,” they said. “She just worked two jobs, gave up luxuries, and saved for a down payment with financial discipline that would impress Dave Ramsey.”
Homeownership As a Sign of Stability
Like Tarantino’s character, Aviles considered owning a property a sign of stability. A native of Puerto Rico, she had moved to the U.S. with her family when she was 7. Five years later, her family lost their home in the Great Recession. She wanted a permanent home after experiencing lots of moves with her family. She was determined not to rent, considering it akin to making someone else’s house payments.
At the age of 18 and just months out of high school, Aviles began scouring Denver for condos, touring more than a hundred properties for two solid years. “Nine declined offers later, she became a homeowner,” says the Trulia article, describing how she did it.
Prepare Yourself for Homeownership
First, she established her credit by paying her bills on time and putting her cell phone into her own name at age 16. When she turned 18, she got her first credit card, never running up a balance on the card. She also worked two jobs through most of high school, laying the foundation for a solid work history.
Aviles started saving money as well, stockpiling funds for a small down payment. She pre-qualified for an FHA home loan, enabling her to buy with as little as 3.5% down. After looking at some condos, she quickly realized that an FHA loan wasn’t going to do the job, however. Denver’s prices were beginning to skyrocket. Buyers were paying cash, acing her out every time. So she regrouped, getting two better-paying jobs so she could look at slightly higher-priced homes. Aviles finally applied for a conventional loan and got approved.
Fulfillment in Finally Becoming a Homeowner
Six months later (with a frugality unbeknownst to most), she had saved enough for her downpayment. Aviles admits she passed up shopping trips, outings with friends, and even ended her Starbucks habit. And after more offers fell through, she finally went into escrow on a home she had seen before that was in foreclosure and needed work. She had originally passed on it because she didn’t have the money to repair it. Now? It looked like home, with a view of the Rockies and a field nearby where she could walk the dog she planned to get as soon as she had her own place.
Trulia reports that 5 years later, Aviles is still in love with her condo. She got that dog, and her condo keeps increasing in value, now worth around twice what she paid for it. Just goes to show that when your heart is in it, and you’re willing to sacrifice, homeownership can be within reach. A true success story.
Source: Trulia | TBWS