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On the flip side…

Scott Jagow Oct 15, 2009

Sticking with the housing market, here’s the story of a young first-time home buyer. And I mean young. She bought a foreclosed home about a month ago. At age 20.

In fact, Denise Tejada and her 22-year-old brother both bought homes in the San Francisco bay area. Denise is a reporter at Youth Radio, which featured their story:

You gotta like them. Two immigrant kids saving from age 15, working hard, encouraged by their father to be smart with their money. But we wanted to know why they wanted to buy homes, what the process was like and what they’re giving up to do this.

This week, I interviewed Denise. You can listen to it below, but here are a few details, some of which aren’t in the interview:

Denise works three jobs so she can afford her new house. She makes $2470 a month but pays $1328 to service her mortgage. That means 54% of her income goes to the house, leaving her with $285 a week to live on. Doable, but tight. She’s breaking the 30% rule and then some, not to mention she’s still spending out of pocket to renovate the yard, fix the roof and paint.

She got a loan to renovate the place, which was just a “box” with no kitchen or bathroom when she bought it. She says the renovation has increased the value of her home from $155,000 to $255,000. In the interview, she describes the process of getting the loan.

She also answers the question, “Do you see this as an investment or a home?” (That’s at 6:10)

Denise is clearly intelligent and motivated. She’s learning a lot through the experience. And she’s already light years ahead of many young people in terms of respecting the money she makes. But so far, she’s sacrificed going to college to buy this home. And she’s spending an awfully big chunk of her income on it. I hope she doesn’t lose one of her jobs.

If she can find a buyer, she might make a nice profit. She’ll also collect the first-time home buyer tax credit next April. But is this what young people should be doing? Take a listen. What do you think?

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