Looking for your first home is a daunting task. Not only are you deciding where to spend a significant portion of your life and potentially raise a family, but you’re likely making the biggest financial decision you’ll ever make.
Still, if you’re careful in your decision and you make responsible moves, buying your first home can be your ticket to near-complete financial freedom – from rent, utilities, a mortgage, and much more.
Below, you’ll find a handful of the most responsible steps to take in order to achieve financial freedom when buying your first home.
Pay more on each mortgage payment
Your mortgage payments might seem like a fixed monthly cost, but if you make the minimum payment each month, you’ll be paying off your home for much longer.
This is because paying less keeps the interest that builds up on your mortgage marginally higher – and over time, that builds up, especially when we’re talking about decades.
Instead, try your best to pay extra each month. Even paying 5-10 percent more – or paying more often – will make a huge impact in the long run.
Paying extra on your mortgage whittles away at the principal balance and reduces the time that you let interest build up – bringing financial freedom much faster.
Buy a smaller home or a transportable building
Homes get more expensive with every square meter, so buying a smaller home can help reduce the upfront cost of your first home substantially.
It also makes maintenance less expensive in the long run. Think about it: Every time you need roofing, wall cladding, or paint for your home, it gets more expensive as the area increases.
What’s more, it takes less energy to maintain the temperature of a smaller space,saving you money on heating and cooling costs.
When buying, you should opt for only as much space as you need. Transportable homes are a great way to keep the space to what you need – plus you get the cost savings of a factory-built home. You can also do the site works while the house is being built, which means the whole project will be completed quicker, saving you time and money.
Whatever small space you decide on, you’ll end up with a smaller mortgage and be that much closer to financial freedom.
Power your home with solar panels
Even as a homeowner, utility costs still account for a significant portion of your budget – that is, unless you move off the grid.
If you want truly complete financial freedom, that means supplying yourself with as many essential resources as you can. Investing in a solar array is a great way to do that.
This works especially well with a transportable home or other small option, as having less space reduces your energy consumption (and thus the amount of solar panels you’ll need).
While the upfront cost of the panels and their installation add to the capital needed to buy your first home, solar power will save you a lot of money over the life of the system.
Grow vegetables and keep low-maintenance animals
While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to feed your family year-round without outside resources, you can certainly cut costs by keeping a vegetable garden and some useful animals.
No matter how much land you have, maintaining a garden will be no issue at all. Even tiny spaces can allow for simple vegetables such as silver beets and other root veggies.
And while you probably aren’t looking to start a dairy farm along with your new home, egg-laying birds such as chickens are surprisingly easy to take care of, even for a first-timer.
You’ll still need to buy some food, but growing vegetables and raising animals will reduce your annual spending and increase your financial freedom even further.
Learn basic home-improvement skills
The classic adage is that if you want something done right, you should do it yourself – but this is also a good idea if you want something done cheaply.
A major source of new expenses for many first-time homeowners is repairs when you buy an existing house. Rather than having your landlord fix things that break, as a homeowner the responsibility is now yours.
Complicated specialty repairs such as electrical issues and plumbing problems are still better left to professionals, aside from simple tasks like fixing a leaky tap or replacing a blown fuse.
But learning how to work with different materials and do simple repairs like roofing opens up many avenues for saving money on home maintenance costs.
Fixing your leaky roof suddenly becomes a weekend project, while refinishing old furniture can save you from having to buy new pieces to keep your space looking homely.
Alternatively, if you buy a brand-new transportable home, you won’t have to do any repairs for quite some time!