Hey I’m Leah and Welcome To My Crib
Less than a week ago, I bought a condo in downtown Detroit—my hometown. It was more of a process than I was prepared for. Making a large purchase like this isn’t something that you’re taught within the educational system. For me, this was a learning process that I think more people need to have some base knowledge about. Before I break down what led me to make this decision, I want to put out the disclaimer that I am writing this from a place of privilege. I received money for my downpayment and closing costs from an older family member and came out of college with no student loan debt because my parents were in a place to pay out of pocket. Without these two factors, I would not be in any type of position to make a purchase of this magnitude.
Moving out of my parents home.
There comes a point in any child’s life where living with their parents has to come to an end. I graduated from college in May and moved back into my parents home. While at college I always lived by myself in a condo my father owned in Ann Arbor (he always hoped he would have a child who went to his alma mater). So moving back home was a very tough transition as I am sure most can relate to. Answering questions like “when I would be home” and “who I was out with,” many of which I did believe was their place as the homeowners. I was the one living in their house, using their water and electricity, and eating their food. So who was I to say they couldn’t ask whatever questions they pleased? The growing tension was also leading to more arguments between my parents and I. I made the decision to move out and started looking for apartments to rent.
Rent vs. Buy.
As soon as I announced to my parents I would be moving out because I could no longer remain sane living with them and that I had begun looking at apartments, they were supportive of me moving out their house. My mom, however, was adamant that I should reach out to a close family friend who happened to be a realtor to explore the option of buying a condo. While initially skeptical, the more I thought about owning the more excited I got about the prospect of being able to call something my own. Wanting to live in Detroit also made me warm up to the idea of buying because I did want to live somewhere that I would stay for an extended period of time and be able to truly make my own.
But let's get back to the moneyyyy.
At the end of the day who doesn’t want to say they own something? But can I afford to own?
I was surprised after some simple algebraic math, comparing what I would potentially pay for both the mortgage and homeowners association fees to what a lot of apartments in similar areas were asking of for monthly rent. After determining monthly costs, my mood was “fuck it, imma buy a condo.”
I aspire to be a rich b*tch, so building wealth is a step I had to take to reach my lofty goals in life. So as a Detroit Princess, being able to say that I own a piece of Downtown Detroit is meaningful. The location of the condo I fell in love with is next on the list of areas to be *cough cough* “revitalized” *cough cough*, so I also am positive the homeowner’s value will increase and I will make a profit off the property by the time I am ready to sell.
Finding a job that you like right out of college is a true blessing, mentally and financially. Right now I am working for a small Detroit-based PR & Media firm. My base salary is really enough for a 23-year-old, single young woman and there is always room for that number to grow as we bring on new clients. One of the best parts of my job is the autonomy it provides. Having recently founded my own media and entertainment company, I am hard at work on my first project. Being able to juggle both these streams of income in a manageable way has made me very confident. As I previously mentioned, Buying this condo has changed my spending habits and I currently have very little disposable income. However, I am confident in my work ethic and ideas that more money is coming my way and now I have a fire under my ass.
Budget budget budget
I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t take this opportunity to emphasize how important it is to work out your budget before you make the plunge to buy. Buying is a bigger commitment and typically more is on the line, such as your credit. I use Mint to help me track my spending in comparison to the budget I have created for myself. It sends alerts when I am spending too much and reminds me of bills I must pay. Having a budgeting app was also useful in helping me save, which is not a strength of mine, leading up to my purchase. Apps work for me but there are a lot of different way to budget and each person has to figure out what works best for them!
Leaving my comfort zone.
Life was starting to feel like it was happening around me and I was starting to feel stagnant. I am sure that a lot of people make the decision not to move out because even though they can afford to, they won’t have the same disposable income. Throughout this whole process, I had to look my budget and spending habits and thinking of new ways in which I can generate income. I am extending myself without a doubt. One of my older friends gave me the advice that “when you apply more pressure to yourself, you will reap the rewards.” More than anything, it was time for me to take this step in my life and move toward adulthood. I was full of anxiety as my closing date approached—nervous about whether I could pull this off or not. I still am very nervous; however, I have never been so determined and focused on getting the necessary things done around me.