What advice would you give to a young person contemplating buying her first home?

Tips and Deals Forums Buying Your Home Buying Your Home What advice would you give to a young person contemplating buying her first home?

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      It seems like one of the few silver linings of the gloomy economy is the real estate market that now has more affordable properties, and I’d like to explore the possibility of buying my first home. I am currently on a gap year in between high school and college interning, and next September I’ll be moving up to Palo Alto, California where I’ve discovered a few properties near campus that seem to be good investment opportunities. Ideally I would buy a three or four bedroom home and rent out the larger rooms to graduate students or young professionals, and keep the smallest room for myself for a weekend retreat from dorm life. I would give the roommates a discount in rent in exchange for taking care of my dog during the week.

      I recently read that one in three applications for home loans are now being denied, and I know I would be a long shot for approval primarily because of my age. What criteria do they look at when determining your eligibility? I’m young, but I’ve technically been working for 11 years now because I began modeling and acting at the age of six. I was never in the league of Dakota Fanning by any means, but I was able to earn a fair amount, and my parents have invested it wisely for me over the years. I could use that money for a down payment, and would still have enough in savings for a rainy day. I’ve never had a traditional 9-5 job, but I do have a steady income from modeling and my creative pursuits, and I’ve saved all my tax returns and other documentation showing my financial viability. My parents are paying for college, so the mortgage and other expenses related to the house would be my only substantial financial responsibilities.

      I’m going to talk with my parents about this, of course, but I’d like to gather a bit of advice and information first so I can be more knowledgeable before having a conversation with them. Based on what I’ve told you, do you think I stand a chance at getting approved for a home loan? How do you qualify for the first time home buyer incentives the government offers? Besides the mortgage, insurance, taxes, and maintenance, what other expenses should I expect? How much do each of those things usually cost? If you’re familiar with the Palo Alto area, do you think the home prices there will continue to drop, or is now the ideal time to buy? Would my parents have to co-sign the loan with me if I found a home I wanted to buy before I turn 18 next spring? Sorry for bombarding you with questions! If there are any books, websites or other resources you can recommend for learning more about the home-buying process I’d be grateful if you could list them in your answers. I realize that I’m a bit naïve about this whole process, and am appreciative of any advice and suggestions you may have.

      Thanks in advance for your answers, and for taking the time to read this lengthy question. : )

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