The Ultimate Guide to Buying a House on a Tight Budget



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If you’re buying a house this year, you might be feeling discouraged. Cash buyers and lack of inventory are driving up the prices of homes, and it’s so tough to compete when you don’t have a cash offer (for well above list price in most cases). Buying a house on a tight budget is possible. You just have to know where to start.

2021 was a crazy year of shortages. There’s a shortage of homes, a shortage of vehicles, a shortage of foam to make sofas and recliners…

Forget the toilet paper shortage of 2020! This is serious business! You know exactly what I’m talking about if your lease is expiring soon, and you’re worried that your landlord may decide to sell the home. 

Rentals are not readily available either, so what can you do? 

We moved to Florida right as the pandemic was causing Governors to shut everything down. We decided to rent for a year or so before buying a home. We wanted to take care of a massive amount of debt we’d accumulated before we jumped into home ownership.

I also thought it was a good idea to get to know the area so that we could learn which neighborhoods flood during heavy rains and hurricanes and which are safer for kids.

The real estate market exploded in my small town, much like the rest of the US, but the difference was we have a lot of money coming into this beach town, which means lots of competition for home purchases with cash.

I shared awhile back why we chose not to use Navy Federal Credit Union for our mortgage and what the process was like prior to closing with Quicken Loans aka Rocket Mortgage. 

Long story short, Rocket Mortgage saved the day. We were able to buy the perfect house for us within our budget (a budget about $50k higher than Navy Fed was willing to lend us). 

We closed May 26, 2021, and we’ve been working on the house ever since. But how were we able to scoop up this home before anyone else had a chance to even see it?

I became friends on Facebook with a few Realtors in our local market. Sometimes, God just provides exactly what you need when you need it. 

One of my Realtor friends sent me a message on Facebook letting me know that she had a listing coming on the market in a week. 

It would have been illegal for her to show us the home prior to listing it, so she waited until she listed the house, and we viewed the property 30 minutes after the listing went live in the MLS!

We submitted an offer that morning, and it was a strong offer (over asking price), confident the house would appraise for more.

We were wrong. 

I was devastated when our home appraised for $20,000 less than we had offered! Yikes! But the sellers agreed to reduce the price by $17,500, and we were able to close on time! 

Here’s another cool fact that I must share with you.

Navy Federal Credit Union’s RealtyPlus Program

When we first applied for a loan through Navy Federal (as new members who are non-military), we were able to participate in a buyers’ rebate program. 

When you utilize one of Navy Fed’s RealtyPlus partners, you receive a rebate deposited into your Navy Federal savings account 10-14 days after closing. 

The best part?! You don’t have to finance your home through Navy Federal! So after closing, we received $1,750 back. 

Now, as a former Realtor, I have to tell you that this money comes straight out of the buyers’ agent’s commission, but you should NOT feel bad about that. 

These agents who participate in referral programs are willing to pay the fee to receive buyer leads. This is a buyer and commission that they would not have otherwise procured, so they’re happy to do it. 

You can learn more about the RealtyPlus program here

Buying a house on a tight budget is possible. You’ve just gotta have a little faith and a lot of patience. Don’t make a hasty decision that you’ll regret! 


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