We officially became first-time homeowners this summer! It has been one of those things we’ve dreamed about for a really long time. Our journey to homeownership is a bit slower than most our age because of constant moves and changes in our location due to Dusty’s medical school studies, not to mention we haven’t had the budget to support home buying. Now that Dusty is officially no longer a “student” and is now making a salary, homeownership is one of the first things we prioritized as a family.
Throughout the years that Dusty and I have been together we’ve lived in a few different places in Michigan – Marquette, Lansing, and Skandia. All three have been completely different experiences. In Marquette, we were newlyweds and decided to rent a townhome for a few years, we then moved to Lansing where we rented a small home in Lansing proper, a neighborhood called Reo Town. Then Dusty’s medical school studies brought us back to the Upper Peninsula where we chose to rent a home in Skandia, which has been more of a rural country or woodland experience for us…we lived about 20 minutes outside of Marquette. Each rental experience has been completely unique and different and has allowed us to see what we want in our forever home. Renting has been good to us… the experience of being renters of different types of properties and in very different communities has given us a broader outlook on long term housing and homeownership for the future. We wouldn’t change these experiences for anything, it has definitely equipped us in being more responsible homeowners.
Photos below of us in our first townhome together as newlyweds! It was small…very small!
The “journey” to becoming first-time homeowners was not a simple one. We truly did not realize how much would go into the process. It was quite tedious and stressful! Our favorite thing about being homeowners is that we now have a true place to call our very own; a place that we can invest in and put our own personal touch on aesthetically with hopes to see a return when we go to sell it in a handful of years. Some of our main goals are updating the kitchen, painting throughout the house, landscaping in the back and front yard, and a handful of other small things. The things we are doing and plan to do will add long term value to the property. Renting was a wonderful experience and really allowed us the flexibility to test the waters and get a feel for different types of properties and home settings. Renting allowed us to grow and become the homebuyers we are able to be today.
Photo below of Dusty and I outside our rental home in Lansing, MI.
When it came to buying our first home this past spring we can definitely look back and say “I wish we would have known…” it all worked out but a better understanding of the ins and outs of home buying would have provided us with a much better foundation for success when it came to diving into the process.
If you’re looking to become a first-time homeowner I would absolutely, without a doubt, look into resources that can help you navigate and prepare for the process. If there is one thing we would have done differently, we would better prepare ourselves for the process and ins and outs of buying.
If you find yourself contemplating or moving toward homeownership, here is some very helpful information and resources from the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority (MSHDA) that can get you started.
Down Payment Assistance:
MSHDA offers loans with down payment assistance of $7,500. They also offer a unique set of mortgage products and are an affordable partner for all loans.
Housing Education Classes:
MSHDA has housing education classes and one-on-one pre-purchase counseling services that have been shown to benefit those who later became homeowners and improved the financial creditworthiness of those who did not. These housing counseling services include:
- Homebuyer Education
- Pre-Purchase Services
- Financial Capability Services (including credit repair information)
- Rental Services
- Foreclosure-related services to families.
Discounted Private Mortgage Insurance:
MSHDA helps make loans more affordable by offering conventional loans with discounted private mortgage insurance (PMI). A borrower with a conventional loan only has to pay PMI up to the point their equity in the home reaches 20%. Then it goes away. A government loan like an FHA loan carries mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. (VA loans have a funding fee. They do not require monthly mortgage insurance.)
If you’re looking to start your homeownership journey, learn more about MSHDA’s homeownership resources and programs on their website – click here.