Buying My First Property: Was I Too Young?

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

At 21, I made a bold decision and bought my first property – learn why I did it and how I managed to make it happen.

Buying My First Property At Age 21
Buying My First Property At Age 21

Minimum Pay For Maximum Workload

I bought my first property at twenty-one, even though some friends thought I was too young and impulsive. I loved to work hard and equally play hard afterward.

It would have been comparable if I were to buy my first condo here in Canada or a flat for those of a British background.

I wanted to buy vs. rent because, with my down payment, I knew my mortgage would be less than rent.

My parents already had a few homes on the go and rented them out so the mortgage would pay for themselves. 

Investing in real estate was the best decision they had ever made.

They are still enjoying the benefits of those mortgage-free homes and rental income.

Somehow, I wanted in on the action early, so I went and found my first home fresh out of University.

How Much Money Do You Need To Buy A Home?

More than I bargained for, and many people suffer because they fail to plan.

I was almost one of those people because I didn’t consider all of the expenses needed to buy my first property.

Living Pay To Pay

Contrary to popular belief, I know what waiting for the next chunk of hard-earned money is like so I can pay the bills.

Living pay-to-pay is not a place anyone wants to be, but for many, that is a reality.

There are jobs, but seeing positions on the job bank is one thing; having the required skills and education is another.

Then, when you do, you are competing for the top spot with those fresh out of University, those already working in the field, and those still looking for work, so it’s tough beginnings.

So, I was a single homeowner, fresh out of school, and working full-time for just above minimum pay.

It reached the point where I had to make sacrifices to make ends meet, and only because I didn’t plan for the unexpected like I should have.

My parents warned me about it, so I knew it was bound to creep up on me.

It was probably the first time in my life that I started to feel the congestion of living pay to pay, and I wouldn’t say I liked it very much.

I don’t even remember the minimum hourly rate, but back then and still today, we can’t be picky; a job is a job.

Bachelor Cooking Skills

Although I loved to cook, grocery shopping wasn’t my top priority, and eating consisted of pretty much the same menu plan for the first year.

I was so busy that eating the same quick, frugal meals seemed the way to go.

Let’s say the tortellini and I were good friends in the kitchen.

Later, I learned how much I enjoyed cooking through worldwide travels which I brought into my kitchen.

Paying Less Than Rent

I put a nice down payment on the one-bedroom, one-bath property, leaving me paying less monthly mortgage than I would have if I rented in that area of the UK.

Sometimes, I felt like I had tunnel vision yet was mature enough to say, hey, I want to own my own home.

My parents were my money guides growing up, and it carried me through to University.

I was very aware and watched everything they did, and I listened.

Like many, my parents struggled to get where they are today, but they are living the good life. It came with sweat and an intensity to succeed.

Buying My First Property After University

Like many other students, I thought that after school, I would find a high-paying job, and life would be towering, especially since I had no school loans to pay back. 

As you can imagine, those pipe dreams did not happen, and after University, I had to settle for any job I could find.

The market was saturated, and competition for jobs was fierce.

I later learned that it wasn’t my calling, so I went on to take various jobs, some of which I stayed in for many years, and progressed through the company into management roles.

You learn a lot about yourself as you move up in a company, significantly how much harder it is to have one foot on the ground and your hands reaching for the stars.

Asking Your Employer For A Raise

It was clear that I needed to cut back on some expenses to ensure that I was saving money, which surfaced shortly after moving into my flat.

No, I didn’t have an actual budget like we do today; the thought never crossed my mind, as odd as that may be.

Like many other first-time homeowners, we don’t always think of all the “needs” of a home year after year.

Home maintenance wasn’t given high enough supremacy in the mathematical process of purchasing the home, and that’s why when my wife and I bought our house, things were different.

The thought of inquiring for a raise entered my mind.

Alternatively, I needed to make more money or get a second job.

How do I ask for a pay raise, though?

Not everyone is comfortable saying they feel they deserve a raise in income.

Sometimes, we must do what we must to make ends meet, but the same applies when more money is needed.

I asked for a raise by meeting with my boss and asking for more cash, but professionally.

At home, I prepared a pay raise letter, then pretended I was talking to my boss to compel myself to get in and get what I felt I had earned.

Sometimes, it doesn’t work out, but if you don’t try, you are no better off than when you didn’t ask.

Are You A Valued Employee?

First, I went over my accomplishments, my long and short-term goals for the company, and why I deserve a raise.

He must have liked my presentation because I received a raise and a promotion shortly after.

I learned that having fear in our lives sets us back, but remembering that we are only here once sometimes gives me the necessary acceleration to move forward.

I guess it’s just my way of being a positive guy, smiling and being friendly. Miserable is not me.

Buying My First Property With One Income Source

When you live on one income as a single person, everything matters, and somehow, you learn to make time to earn extra money.

I prioritized making extra money on the side, whether it was landscaping, cutting lawns, watching the kids for my siblings, or working for my parents.

Making time to chill out and relax was very important to my mental health.

When you know you must rely on yourself, you do what you can to keep the kingdom operative.  

You also know that you must take care of your health because there is only you and no one else.

Stashing Cash Away

It took some time, but I kept stashing away a few bucks here and there to build up what I like to think was a comfortable emergency savings.

My savings was used to put a down payment on my first property, so I needed some cushion just in case something happened.

I had a credit card with a high limit, but I was never one for paying by credit as I often used cash.

To be realistic, I knew I needed some money in the bank, just in case.

Even though I may have only added a fiver one week and more the next, the bank account grew over time.

That was the positive reinforcement I needed, just like when I was a child with my paper route.

I loved watching my savings grow, transforming into an adulthood expedition toward achieving my dreams.

Buying a house what to do- Investigate

Don’t be in such a surge when buying a home, whether you are young like I was or are well into your career and ready to step into home ownership.

Investigate all avenues related to home buying and talk to those living it.

Tips for buying a home when you are young

  • Save as much as you can for a healthy down payment
  • Do your research
  • Plan for the unexpected
  • Save for the unexpected
  • Be open to making extra money
  • Don’t be shy to ask for a raise
  • Do maintain your home consistently
  • Be realistic and set goals

What did I learn from owning my first flat at such a young age? 

I learned that although we have these ideals about where we want to go, what we want, and how fast we want to get there, we must plan.

If we don’t do our legwork before we jump into significant investments, the joy it brings us when we make the purchase can be the demise of our happiness.

If we aren’t adequately educated on what we need to keep the motor running, we may lapse under money pressures if and when they arise.

When I sold my first property and bought my second home a few years later, plus a few years wiser, things were much different for me as a homeowner.

Buying my first house so young may have been challenging, but I persevered.

Was I impulsive to buy my first property at 21?

No, I’d do it again if I could because the best lessons in life are the ones we create and learn from on our own.

I’m still young, so if taking risks means I’m young and wild, you can call me bonkers!

Question: How old were you when you bought your first home?

Please leave questions and comments below.

Thanks for reading my story.

Mr. CBB

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