As I venture deeper into my thirties, one thing I’m surprised at is how nobody told me what it would be like to buy a house. Especially when it came to the cost. Sure, I heard a lot about people buying a house, but as a lifelong renter, I truly had no idea what that process actually involved.
So today, I want to do something a little bit different. I want to take you behind the scenes of buying a home as a business owner. Why am I doing this? Because I think as a business owner, every financial decision we make has an impact on our biz because it has an impact on us. And with a recession and an up-and-down rental market, I know there are probably a lot of you out there that have housing on your mind.
What was the mortgage application process like? How did my husband and I find a great deal on a house in a high-cost-of-living area? How did all of this affect my business?
Scroll on to hear all about buying a house as a business owner, and what to prepare for before, during, and after your closing date.
P.S. — keep in mind this covers my home in Washington, not the rental in Colorado!
As someone who is self-employed, I really didn’t think that there were many options for me as far as mortgages go. But when I went through this process with my husband, it became immensely easier (but not for the reason you think!).
My husband is in the Navy, so we were able to get a VA loan. And we didn’t put any money down. We had to pay the VA loan funding fee and the closing costs and we were able to secure a mortgage rate of around 4.8% — which was pretty great considering we bought in May 2022 when the spring interest rates were hiking up in the Seattle metroplex area.
And even though I was a first-time buyer, I really tracked the real estate market around the area and I understood that we were buying at the top of the market and putting no money down on a house would typically be kind of risky. Except that I had two business incomes to rely on at the time.
I felt really comfortable about this, especially considering our rental options were not great and barely less expensive than our mortgage was going to be.
Luckily we did have a good seller who was conscientious of the market. She put a new roof on this house right before we bought it, and has some of the issues looked at and disclosed on the seller disclosure. What an angel (IYKYK…sometimes sellers can be less than easy to work with).
Of course, once we got possession of the property, we did an inspection ourselves so we knew everything we were getting ourselves into, even though we couldn’t back out anymore.
Thankfully, nothing showed up! And we had budgeted accordingly for the costs that did.
At this point, it was really just me being nitpicky, but hey, I bought the house so…why not? Plus, we bought it knowing that we were going to leave in a few years for the next duty station. So we wanted it really solid to rent out.
Here’s what we did:
Were all of these things absolutely necessary? No, but the way I see it, if I’m going to be living there, and spent all the money to buy it, I want to enjoy it.
Moving expenses are something I think everyone — homeowners and renters — usually forget about when they’re moving. Movers usually charge a base fee, per hour, and charge for gas. Plus, the total cost can change based on where you live, where you’re moving from, and where you’re moving too.
If you have a big move, make sure you budget accordingly!
And after you move in, there may be a few things you notice you need, like extra storage space, shower rods, etc., that you should budget for, too!
Just remember that regardless of what’s happening in the greater financial picture or the world, the right time to buy is when it’s right for you. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself if you aren’t ready.
And especially as a small business owner, those decisions influence your entire financial well-being! I knew I wasn’t in a place to purchase a home until after my business reached a certain amount of revenue. And I sure wasn’t ready to buy an additional home to rent out until after I had sold The Contract Shop®.
It’s all about what’s a priority for you right now — and if homeownership falls into that equation.
But if you are ready, try to get as prepared as you can! There are a lot of costs involved throughout the entire process, from start to finish. And don’t forget — location matters too! Where you move will change how the market is, what costs are associated, and any potential repairs that need to be done based on geography.
Speaking of location…I know I talked a little bit about moving to Washington from Colorado, but if you want the full story (and to help better explain why we chose a more expensive area like the greater Seattle metroplex), get it in the video below!