Buying Real Estate for Millennials

A lot of people my age and younger feel like buying real estate will never be a reality for them or it’s something that you do after you get married. A lot of us don’t even know the first steps into preparing for homeownership. And how can I blame them? Managing your finances isn’t something that’s taught in school (it should be). Plus with increasing prices for homes and most Millennials living paycheck to paycheck it just seems like that dream of owning a home is exactly that – a dream.

The sunset from my front yard

The truth is being a homeowner takes a lot of sacrifice, I mean, saving money for a downpayment is no joke. You need at least 3.5% plus a number of other things like good credit, stable income, etc. But trust, the benefits and rewards far outweigh the sacrifice for that downpayment. So what are the benefits you ask? Why do you want to buy real estate you ask?

  1. You can do what you want with your home. You can paint the walls, change the floors, you can update your kitchen, you can have a pet without an increase in rent…
  2. It’s one of the best investments you can make. Yes, there are a ton of ways to invest your money – stocks, bonds, IRA’s, etc. But real estate is one of the most secure investments you can make. Most of the time, if you buy a home it will increase in value over time. Charlie and I bought our home in 2011 and it has increased in value by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  3. Most landlords increase rent over time. If you are renting, you pay money to a landlord. Typically you negotiate a lease with said landlord for 6 months or 1 year. After that time, the landlord will likely increase your rent if you want to continue. If you buy a home, a fixed rate mortgage locks in your monthly payment over the entire term of the loan – usually 15 to 30 years. That’s a long time with no increased rent, plus once the loan is paid then you have no more monthly payment!
  4. You can build equity. What’s equity? It’s explained in a simple equation. How much money your house is worth in today’s market – the amount of money you owe the bank = equity. Though this number changes as the market changes just remember that real estate is a pretty consistent investment. So usually (not all the time but usually) your equity will build over time.
  5. Tax deductions. This is a huge benefit. You are able to take a pretty significant tax deduction as the interest on your mortgage is deductible. 
  6. Increase your net worth. What is net worth? Another simple equation. Assets – debt = net worth. Assets can be cash, cars you own, real estate, investments, etc. Debts are normally credit cards and other loans against your name. 

So, have I sold you yet? Now that you know the benefits I just want to say it’s possible. This dream is attainable. But don’t get me wrong, it’ll take some time. If you decided today that you want to buy a home there are a few things you should start doing.

  1. Start saving. The median price for a single family home (detached house) in California was about $566,000 in August of this year. Los Angeles was higher. So you’ll need about $20,000 in savings to buy the median price home, but you’ll need more if you want to live in LA county. I know this feels like a lot, but this is where patience comes in. Start saving, economizing your spending, and put as much away as you can. You’d be surprise how much a little bit of restraint will do to your savings.
  2. Take care of your credit. How’s your credit score? If it’s high, keep it up! Now is not the time to abuse your credit. If it’s low, start repairing your credit. You can do this by paying down your debts consistently and on time. The less debt you have the better chances you have of qualifying for a mortgage. Again, patience is key here. Give yourself time to make this happen, it’s important.

Let’s start with that for now. In the mean time, stay tuned! If you have questions don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments below. I’ve got more real estate content coming soon!

xoxo,

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Why am I a Realtor?

We’re going to kick off a real estate themed series on the blog. I’m so excited to share this with you! This year has been a big year in real estate for me and I’ve learned so much along the way. I thought that I should pass on the knowledge that I’ve learned in case you’re planning on investing in the real estate market in the future.

First, I thought I’d share how I got into the real estate industry. Read on friends!

I’ve told the story before. My mom and dad were small business owners. My dad owned a trucking company and my mom was a Realtor for over 25 years. Blah blah blah. If you’ve been following my blog you know the story. You got the inside scoop 😉

I was surrounded by the real estate business all my life. My mom brought me everywhere. I mean everywhere. Even when I didn’t want to (which was always lol). She dragged me to open houses, caravans, house showings, listing appointments…she would even take me to her office and make me sit there until it was time to go home. Needless to say, I hated it. I used to complain about their entrepreneur life all the time. I hated how they would have to work while on vacation.

Mom’s Real Estate Headshot

Here I am, an entrepreneur just like my parents. I started my first business at 19 – a wedding planning company. I guess my mom saw that I had that entrepreneurial spirit so she started to hint about wanting me to go into real estate with her. And when I mean hint, I mean bugged me until I caved in. She wore me down and convinced me to get my real estate license in 2007.

I would help her from time to time, but I never really took it seriously. She wanted us to be partners, a team. She wanted to call us the “Solomon Team.” I know, not very creative lol. At one point I was kinda interested but she would do everything and so I got complacent and lazy to learn. I didn’t really pay attention because I wanted to pave my own way. I was the real independent type growing up. I didn’t want a hand me down. I felt like if I was a part of something my parents created they had the permission to always look at me like a little kid and never take what I had to say seriously.

But then one day my mom asked me to lunch. She rarely ever did that so I knew it was important. She told me about Ninong’s and she wanted me to help them. That day was the first of many that changed everything.

It was the first time my mom talked to me about something important. In the past, I was never consulted on big family decisions. Not only that but she spoke to me like an adult, like I was more than her little girl. At that moment I realized that to continue a legacy is just as important as starting one.

Shortly after I started my job at Ninong’s my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even more so, my life changed in a big way. Since then, being the rock for my family was the most important thing in the world to me. As my mom’s health gradually got worse I saw the role she played not just for me and my dad but for our entire family. I wanted a taste of what that felt like.

When my mom passed away I was completely shaken. I don’t think I’ll ever really get over it. Sometimes the memory of those last minutes of her life replay in my head and haunt me. But the one thing that really stuck with me more than that haunting moment was the idea of legacy. I saw the impact my mom had on so many people. I mean, I knew what she meant to me but I had no idea how loved she really was. She changed lives, she created a meaningful life far beyond her work and career. I realized that I wanted that for myself.

I don’t want to be remembered for how much money I made, the businesses I started, or how much stuff I had. I want to be remembered as a person that loved helping people – with no strings attached. I want to give what I can as often as I can to improve the lives of others, to make them happy.

After the dust settled I had a decision to make. Do I continue real estate without my mom? How the heck will I do that? When I decided that I was going to continue people thought it was out of left field. They knew I had a creative background as a graphic designer, they knew I had a wedding planning business, and that I had taken over at Ninong’s for my parents. Most people didn’t even know I’ve had a license since 2007. But it quickly made sense when people realize it’s the one thing (even more than Ninong’s) that helps me feel close to my mom.

She loved her job so much, she enjoyed every minute. To step into her shoes, to help people the way she did is the best way that I can continue her legacy and keep her close. To hear the beautiful things her clients over the course of her 25 year career continue to say about her always brings me to tears. Proud and happy tears. I hope I can do the same for people the way she did – selflessly, graciously, and with a smile.

Cheers to you, Mom! I’m honored and so happy that I have real estate as another outlet to help people and that’s all thanks to you. The moments when I see how happy our clients are makes me feel so close to you even when you’re gone. Thank you for that.

xoxo,

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I Closed Escrow on my First House Sale!

To give you a little background, here is the bio on my real estate website.

Since I was 7 years old I was immersed in the world of real estate thanks to my mom, Angelica. She was a Realtor for over 23 years and loved every minute of it. In 2007 [at the beginning of the Great Recession], she convinced me to get my [real estate] license and join her team. It was her dream to be a mother-daughter duo. In January of 2016, my mom passed away from cancer and I had a difficult decision to make – to leave the real estate industry behind or continue despite her absence. Obviously, I chose the latter. Practicing real estate is how I feel close and connected to my mom. She had a legacy of loyalty, dedication, trust, and honesty with her clients and I intend to uphold all those traits. This is in honor of you, Mom. An amazing woman, mom, and a damn good Realtor.

This past week, we had the opportunity to help a couple buy their first home. After searching and searching, they found a house they love! We opened escrow right before we left for the Philippines, perfect timing right? *rolls eyes* There were definitely bumps along the way and I wasn’t here for most of the process. But my team and I learned so much. I’m so thankful they held it down while I was gone. The moment we closed escrow was such a relief. To be able to tell our buyers that they were officially home owners was one of the best feelings. The feeling you have of helping people will always outweigh the selfish painful emotions I feel.

My mom has been an inspiration for almost all the businesses I’ve started in some way. In a way, she has been my muse. When I had to decide whether or not to continue real estate it was a tough decision for me. There could only be 2 outcomes from deciding to do real estate without her – that it would be too emotionally painful because it reminds me too much of my mom or that it would give me immense comfort because it reminds me too much of my mom. I think choosing to continue without her has challenged me to be strong despite the painful feelings of not having her here. It has pushed me to embrace these feelings and channel them into making something good out of it. I’m so glad that I decided to continue this journey.

The feeling I have when I have the opportunity to help people will always outweigh the selfish painful emotions I feel of not having my mom to do real estate with me.

Congratulations to our clients on your brand new house! I hope that you make many memories there and make that house your home. Thank you for working with us and trusting us to go on this journey with you, it was an honor.

xoxo,

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