Sometimes, renting is the only option for people whether it’s lack of good credit, a divorce, loss of income or a dozen other reasons. But others strive to buy a house and go through some sacrifices, pain and financial adjustments to finally buy their own piece of America.
Here are some people from all over the country with all kinds of jobs – including real estate agents – who eventually were able to buy a house after years of renting. Their stories show perseverance, commitment to changing their spending habits, and pure joy.
Freelance writer saves big to buy
For 11 years, Blake Snow and his wife, and later their children, didn’t eat out much and visited regional national parks for vacation instead of more expensive long distance or abroad vacations. They also only owned one car. All this allowed them to finally buy a home with 20 percent down. They also were able financially to incur the higher monthly payments of a 15-year loan.
“That allowed us to save over 38 percent off the total cost to purchase,” says Snow, a freelance writer for some top media companies such as CNN and USA Today.
They bought the house a few years ago in Provo, Utah, that was built in 2008 with 2400 square feet and 1.5 stories with vaulted ceilings.
“It also helps that the house is bigger and newer and with a double oven kitchen that my wife always dreamed of. She likes to cook and bake,” he says.
Toddler & dog require more space after 10 years of renting
Stacey and Judd loved their two-bedroom apartment in a popular Chicago neighborhood. But after 10 years of renting, the landlord raised their rent for the first time.
“And after having their two-year-old son, Thomas, and getting their dog, Charlie, they were starting to feel pressed for space,” said Jake Tasharski, the couple’s realtor at Center Coast Realty in Chicago.
He helped them buy a 3-bedroom, 3 bathroom condo in November. It’s in a newer building in one of Chicago’s most desirable north side neighborhoods, he says.
“The two levels of the condo offer an accommodating floor plan, with multiple outdoor spaces and a full living room and fireplace on each level. They got a great deal in Chicago’s fall market,” Tasharski says.
Realtor couple buys fixer-upper after 4 years renting
Marc and Dawn Windheuser, both realtors, closed on their first house after four long years of renting.
“Prior to that, we owned a co-op but sold it due to issues within the building. It was the first time I ever rented, and it wasn’t a pleasurable experience,” he says.
He is a broker with Keller Williams Realty Landmark in Bayside, N.Y. They ended up buying a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Tudor home in Floral Park, that needs a good deal of work, he says.
“But we got it at a right price. We put a large down payment down, so our mortgage is only $2,000 a month including real estate taxes,” he says.
They saw the house once and put in a strong offer on the same day out of fear of being outbid.
Financial crash victim finally buys another house
Eleven years ago, Michael owned a home. The mortgage collapse caused him to lose that house, and he had been a renter ever since, says Seth Phillips, owner of for SP3 Realty in Los Angeles.
“He became more dissatisfied with having to deal with a landlord and watching the housing market recover and go into new all-time highs in value,” Phillips says.
However, he didn’t have enough savings for a down payment. Phillips’ company specializes in helping people utilize government programs and grants.
Michael was able to buy a $490,700 home in Lawndale, Calif., with almost zero down payment. It sits on a large lot, and he intends to build a guest house in back that he can rent out to help cover his costs. His mortgage payment is $2,300 – only $100 more than he was paying in rent.
20 Years of Renting for self-employed artist
Ken and Jeanine Griswa got a 60-day notice to move out of their rented house. They turned to Nicolette Summer, their neighbor and realtor at Red Oak Realty in Oakland, Calif.
Ken is a self-employed artist while she works for small local non-profit. They had been renting for over twenty years and thought that homeownership was not a possibility for them and their two children.
Summer found them a house to rent temporarily while she and a lender helped them for nine months get their credit fixed and be more financially sound. He got them pre-approved for a loan.
“After a couple of bids, we found a lovely home for them, and they had their offer accepted,” Summer says.
Small flat to big house
Ale and Glen rented a 678-square-foot flat in downtown Raleigh, N.C. They rented it for several years. Both at the age of 24 decided it was time to buy a house for more room. Their parents chipped in with some cash to help them reach the 20 percent down payment, says Ryan Fitzgerald, owner, and realtor at Raleigh Realty.
They ended up buying a $325,000 home with a conventional loan that has nearly 2,700 square feet. It included hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a nice backyard.
“It’s part of an up-and-coming neighborhood just south of downtown,” Fitzgerald adds.
Homeownership same price as rent
David and Stacey felt like they were throwing money away as renters and didn’t have much living space.
“After getting married in October, we didn’t want to start our family in a small two-bedroom apartment,” the couple says.
Jason Lerner, vice president, and area development manager of George Mason Mortgage LLC, Ellicott City, Md., was able to help them get a loan to buy a new townhome in Halethorpe, Md., for $232,000. Their monthly conventional loan payment is $1,450, only $50 more than their rent. The home has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a fully finished basement.
Real estate agent buys his first home
Chris Taylor, managing director of sales and leasing at Advantage Real Estate in Boston, helps people all the time buy their dream homes. But after renting for seven years, he and his wife purchased their first home last summer.
“It’s no secret that Boston’s real estate market is crazy expensive right now, so renting was our only option to start. All combined, we moved 10 times across six apartments, several sets of roommates, one dog and so many flights of stairs our poor couch had to go up and down,” he adds.
The couple was financially ready and wanted to end their New England winters of going outside to do laundry. They also wanted to end having the Boston Marathon running right outside their front door.
“At 30 and 28, we purchased a single-family property in Dedham, Mass., using a traditional 30-year fixed mortgage in the $500,000 range. I have to say, having multiple rooms and a place to park my car really has not gotten old,” Taylor says.