I'm certain that I could have bought a home long before now, but when I graduated I came up with the plan to first pay off all of my student loans (as in every single last penny and because that was my only debt, be completely debt free) and save a healthy down payment before applying for a mortgage. I'm happy to announce that those two things are done and done and so the home buying adventure begins.
As I begin the search I am aware of how fortunate I am in my current position:
1. My medical school provides a pretty package aimed at assisting faculty in purchasing their first home. It's meant to both attract and retain faculty members and, together with a large cash gift to put toward a down payment, offers a brokerage service for applying for a mortgage.
2. This brokerage service meant that I submitted one mortgage application. The brokerage service then hit up my credit score (so only one hit as opposed to multiple hits were I to go to banks individually) and then sent my application out to all of the major banks (together with the information that I am a tenured faculty member, which obviously decreases lending risks because I can't lose my job unless I become a serial killer or the like) and then the banks competed for my business. Sweetness.
3. As a result, I have been pre-approved for much more money than I would have ever thought and at a lower interest rate than I would have ever dreamed of. I don't see myself ever using the full pre-approved amount (because owing that much money for anything makes me want to throw up a little) but it has certainly increased the scope of the properties that I am able to seriously consider.
All of that fortune aside, I live in a very expensive city. I currently live in the downtown core of my Fabulous City and always thought that I would buy here. However, now that I have started seriously looking at listings, I may not. Sure, I can afford to buy here in the downtown core, but when I look at what I can get here versus what I can get in one of the suburbs for the same (if not less) money then I start to reconsider quite seriously. Think the same amount of money for a one bedroom shoe box (downtown) versus a two bedroom/two bath (suburbs).
Problem: I am not a suburb type of person. The thought of having to drive to get my groceries (for example) makes me want to curl up in a corner and cry. However, all is not lost as not all of the suburbs of my Fabulous City are typical suburbs. I have found one south of the city that is freaking charming. I love it. It's still a relatively easy commute to both the medical school campus and the hospital (albeit not as easy as my current commute) and it's freaking charming.
And so the search begins. I am hardly able to sit still for all of the excitement. Woo hoo! Home ownership, here I come!