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When is too Old to Buy a House

Veteran

DF Jackson Washington, DC

Wanted to get good "Professional" advice about buying a house at 58 years old. When is it too old. I am single with no kids and looking for a house, hopefully using the VA loan program. DO you have any good strategies or cautions you can advise me on? I live in the DC metro region.

18 December 2018 4 replies Mentoring

Answers

Advisor

Byron Andrews Houston, TX

DF, your a smart guy by virtue of your impressive education, so I wont provide a lot of commentary that could be obvious. But I have a few main points:
-You didn't mention your employment status: you will find many of the best (lowest rate) lenders are somewhat biased in writing new mortgages to ppl with only a retirement income, or no income! :)
-I have a handful of federal employee friends who did a tour in DC, and all but 2 (including myself) were able to sell into a favorable market when they decided to move. We all lived outside the beltway and I know nothing about market dynamics in DC today. I recall hearing of some great investment ops as urban renewal reclaims some previously run down neighborhoods, giving owners a huge equity stake one block at a time as the block turned the corner to being a nice place.
-My most important for last: you should approach this like a job, or a core college class, and study the market to the point where you know as much as most local realtors. You can "study the risk out of anything" to ensure you buy smart, and that's what its all about! That market knowledge may even help you along toward what you mentioned in your bio about wanting to work in commercial real estate.
Best wishes for a stellar 2019!

Veteran

Michelle Liulama San Antonio, TX

HI DF,

Are you a member of USAA Bank or a credit union? I know USAA and maybe even Pentagon Fed Cr Union and State Dept Fed Cr Union (former member) have a home buying program where they assign you an adviser who can walk you through all the ins & outs of home buying, and pay you a certain amount of $, depending on the house price, just for giving them the opportunity to find you a house. Same goes when it comes to selling, they pay you to let them sell yours. Same also for car buying/selling. You can only join USAA as a military member so you're a shoe in. But do search online for Pentagon Fed Cr Union, Penfed.org and State Dept Fed Credit Union, if they have such programs. I used both banks and they have many incentive-driven programs. Credit unions have always been my go-to banks because they seem to do more for the consumer and both of these mentioned are there in the DC area. Good luck with your search!

Veteran

DF Jackson Washington, DC

Ms. Loven, thank you for your advise. I will consider all your words. Thanks again.

Darryl

Advisor

Krista Loven New York, NY

Hi DF,

Thank you for your service and for your question! Buying a home is a big decision, and it is great to see you doing your research and not taking it lightly.

Honestly, there is not an age that is too old - or too young - for buying a home. What matters more is your finances. The first step to figuring out if this is a good decision for you is to review all of your expenses, debt, and income to craft a budget for yourself. There are online free tools that can help with this, like mint.com, but something as simple as a detailed excel sheet can work. While you do this you may realize some areas that you can cut back on your spending, in order to build your savings. If you have very much debt, it often makes sense to start by addressing that first. Additionally, you'll want to have money saved up for a deposit. While deposits can range, it is common for lenders to expect you to pay 10-20% of the house cost up front - and 10% of a $150,000 house is $15,000.

If you feel comfortable with your finances and have some money set aside to make a deposit, you'll also want to calculate what is realistically within your budget. Keep in mind banks offer different mortgages with different rates. The VA program is helpful here, and you can get a better interest rate if you have a good credit score. All that said, you are likely going to be paying the house back over the next 15-30 years, and you'll want to consider how long you plan on working and what your income will look like in the future.

If you do decide to move forward with buying a house, and I cannot stress this point enough, make sure to have any potential home thoroughly inspected by professionals prior to signing the contract and taking ownership. Anything but a very new home will likely have quirks here and repairs there - but it can be devastating to later find out the plumbing is a disaster and requires an unexpected $15,000 to repair.

Buying a house is not a simple thing to do! I am glad you are being cautious and gathering information before you jump in - and I hope this helps.

Best,
Krista

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