Home BuyingReal Life Situation March 4, 2024

Buying A House With Almost No Money




Are you currently renting? Do you want to buy a house but feel like you can’t because you haven’t been able to save enough money for a down payment? Are you worried buying a house is too expensive? Do you feel stuck in a cycle where your rent keeps going up and you have no control?


What if I told you that you could buy a house with a single month’s rent payment? If you live in North Dakota this could be a reality for you. How do I know? Because I’ve helped clients in this exact situation. You won’t believe how LITTLE money they had to bring to purchase their first home. And I’ll detail how it happened so we can make it happen for YOU. Let’s turn your home buying dream into a reality!

First-Time Home Buyer


When I met this couple, they were in a tough situation. For the sake of easy storytelling, while keeping their identities private, let’s call them Ryan and Lisa. They hated the place they were renting. They didn’t trust the company they were renting from. Prices were going up, again. And they were honestly at risk of losing their apartment. Ryan and Lisa didn’t have much cash available to buy. And they had major concerns about where they were going to live. It was the middle of winter. A winter that was exceptionally harsh, even for North Dakota. I don’t even remember how we got connected. But luckily, we did. We had them in a new place within 2.5 months. And that included a failed sale. How did it happen?


First, we sat down and talked. Ryan and Lisa shared their situation. They opened up about the details, their concerns, and their desired outcome. I asked questions, listened closely, and never cast judgement. It was a safe space for them. We were on the same team, and still are today. I gave them a copy of my “Buyer Guide”, and we talked through the details and nuances of buying a house. We set expectations and I set the stage for what would happen throughout the entire buying process. They became educated and prepared. Together we put a plan in place with action steps and a realistic timeline. We all had jobs to do and deadlines to meet in order to get them in a home. One of the most critical steps was working with a lender who could help with the financials.


Once they met with a lender, things got real. Ryan and Lisa knew exactly what they could afford monthly. We knew what price point to shop in. They learned how to manage their finances in the meantime. And I knew what I needed to negotiate in an offer to make the financials work. Inventory was low and options were limited. So, we got to work.


Ryan, Lisa, and I met again. We took the “shotgun approach” and looked online at all the available homes in their price range in Bismarck/Mandan. We narrowed the already slim list down and scheduled some showings.

First-Time Home Buyer


Remember when I said it was the middle of a harsh winter? It was so cold when we looked at homes that one of the lockboxes wouldn’t open. It was frozen. We couldn’t get in. I called the listing agent. We tried to troubleshoot. It wasn’t happening. It was simply too cold. We had to try again later, and finally got in. We made an offer on that place and ended up negotiating the details for days, from our homes, because we were all stuck at home due to a blizzard. Finally, we got a deal together. One step closer to Ryan and Lisa becoming homeowners and meeting our deadline. Until…


It was a condo. Typically, condos aren’t an issue. However, this specific condo combined with the specific first-time homebuyer lending programs Ryan and Lisa were using didn’t play nice. The condo association had too many rented units. It disqualified the down payment assistance program Ryan and Lisa planned to use, NEEDED to use, to buy a home. The deal failed. After being locked out because it was freezing and negotiating through a blizzard, we were back to house hunting.


With options limited in Bismarck/Mandan, we expanded our search to some rural areas not far from Bismarck. Ryan and Lisa didn’t fall in love with any of them. We turned our search back to the cities. Hesitant, we decided to view another condo. One that had been on the market awhile and we viewed online in the initial meeting, but Ryan and Lisa passed on the first go-round. Once Ryan and Lisa stepped into this condo, they loved it! This was the one!

First-Time Home Buyer


Still hesitant after the last condo didn’t work out, we worked with the listing agent and lender to confirm this was a viable option. Then, we negotiated a purchase agreement that ensured the financials would work for Ryan and Lisa. We were under contract to purchase their new home. Next, we worked through the contingencies. Combed through the condo association documents: bylaws, covenants, financials, etc. Ryan and Lisa hired an inspector. We negotiated repairs. The lender ordered an appraisal. Everything was moving along nicely, and we were on schedule to hit our deadline. We ordered a home warranty plan to help with peace of mind. This would help cover costs if a major item went out shortly after closing. Ryan and Lisa couldn’t afford any surprises.


We got to the closing table. Everything worked out. Ryan and Lisa ended up bringing less than $1,500 total, including their earnest money, to purchase this condo. They literally brought little more than their monthly rent to buy their home. And their new monthly payment wasn’t much more than they were paying in rent. But now, it would remain consistent. Month after month and year after year. It was locked in. Plus, now they were building equity with every monthly payment. So, when life changes and they’re ready to move again, they’ll have money built up in their home that they can turn around and use as a down payment for their next house.


So, how did this happen? Well, Ryan and Lisa leaned on their trusted advisors. They remained optimistic during the entire process. Ryan and Lisa listened, did their homework, and asked good questions along the way. They knew I had their best interest as our guiding light. Their lender and I worked closely together so we were all on the same page. We all had the same goal in mind, “get Ryan and Lisa into their new home at a price that makes sense for them.”


North Dakota has some really great programs available for the first-time home buyer. Working with an informed lender who had knowledge and access to these programs was crucial. North Dakota Housing offers down payment assistance. Plus, we were able to negotiate some closing costs from the seller. This helped cover expenses such as the appraisal, title work, etc.

First-Time Home Buyer


Ryan and Lisa love their place. They know it isn’t their forever home. But it is their right now home. We still talk consistently. They reach out with questions and I’m happy to answer them. They are looking to make some changes to the condo and ask my opinion on how it will impact their resale value. I shoot them straight. Some updates will boost resale value, some don’t.


Ryan and Lisa are happy where they’re at. But they already have their eyes on their next home. We’ve discussed the market trends and when might be a good time for them to sell in the future. They’ve talked to their lender so they have a clear idea of what the loan payoff would look like. How much equity they have in the condo. And what that means for their buying power when the time is right to move again. Ryan and Lisa aren’t my “past clients,” they are my “forever clients.” We have a long-term relationship and I’ll always be here to help them with their real estate needs.


That is how I run my business. It is about the people. Not about the sales. Sales are simply a byproduct of building relationships and putting the needs of others at the forefront of everything I do. I NEVER pressure my clients to make a decision. No pushy sales tactics. I’m here to educate clients and help them make informed decisions. I want to make sure they have all the information so they can make decisions that make sense for their life.


So, are you considering buying? Still worried that it wouldn’t work for your situation? I hear you. Maybe it won’t. Every situation is different. The only way to know for sure is to start the conversation. I’d be happy to schedule an initial consultation. 100% free. Absolutely ZERO pressure or commitment. Just a conversation. Click my logo below to contact me and take your next step to home ownership. What do you have to lose?

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