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Old 09-21-2010, 02:03 PM
 
43 posts, read 120,513 times
Reputation: 54

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Afternoon everyone!

First let me explain our situation. My fiancé is in his mid-twenties, with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Unfortunately, he has been rejected by several police departments in the area, so he has stopped pursing that particular career path. Right now he just got hired to work for a defense contractor, though he’s at the bottom of the ‘food-chain’ so to speak. He works in the mailroom, and makes about 30K a year. My fiancé is also an officer in the Virginia National Guard, which brings in an additional 7k a year.


I am in my early-twenties, and make about 27k a year. I do not have a college degree.


Combined we average at about 64K before taxes. Right now we rent a 2 bedroom apartment in Prince William County for about $1200 a month. Our dream is to own a Single Family Home, but I am beginning to think that’s impossible on our current salaries. I don’t even know if we could afford to own a townhouse/condo at the moment?

The reason we want to own is that I am pregnant. (An unplanned, but none-the-less welcome surprise!) It would be ideal for us to settle into a place that we can call our own, and raise our baby. The biggest question is – is it possible in this area? And beyond that, is it possible to do so in a safe area?


My fiancé and I have a lot of potential, and I believe that with time and patience, our professional lives will pan out. It just hasn't been an easy start for us.

Anyway, sorry to rattle on, but my main question is. . can a family of 3 own and live on 64K a year in Northern Virginia? We would be able to pay 20k on a down payment for a house, if that helps any.

Thanks in advance for any advice/input.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:19 PM
 
617 posts, read 1,158,385 times
Reputation: 540
Default Depends

On if you're sold on a particular area or are flexible. I live in Lake Ridge currently, which is a nice section of Prince William country just across the river from Fairfax. My development is nice, common areas well taken care of, water access. Not the best neighborhood in the area, but not the worst.

Prices have nosedived from when we bought our place a few years ago. I don't know how big a place you're looking for. There are end-unit townhomes in my area (3BR/2BA) that are being offered for $119,000, less than half what we paid.

If you drop the 20K for a downpayment and did a 15 year mortgage, I don't think your payments would be any more than they are now when you're renting. Shoot, if you did a 30 year note, I'm pretty sure you'd pay noticeably less.

*I can't vouch for the condition of these places, they may be foreclosures or in terrible shape. This is just what I'm finding from basic searches.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:23 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,808,153 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsHunny View Post
Anyway, sorry to rattle on, but my main question is. . can a family of 3 own and live on 64K a year in Northern Virginia? We would be able to pay 20k on a down payment for a house, if that helps any.
You can, but it depends where you live and your lifestyle. First find a realtor who will suggest that you first find a lender to pre-qualify you. I believe there are some programs in VA for first-time buyers; Margery or someone else in real estate would really know.

Also, your fiance should be able to find something better in that field. My nephew graduated from college with the same degree and was hired with a govt contractor right away. You're right about being young and moving up in your careers. Best of luck to you!
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:28 PM
 
617 posts, read 1,158,385 times
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Congrats on the kid, by the way. Definitely a good life changing event. My wife and I had our first 4 months ago, and she definitely came earlier than we had planned. We were trying to wait till I was done with my masters degree, but nature has a way of making decisions for you.

Luckily, I'm managing to balance my studies with these changes, but it isn't always easy.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:31 PM
 
Location: VA soon to be NC
1,111 posts, read 2,055,740 times
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If you want to stay in Prince William then I dont see how that should be a problem..The real estate market is much softer that it used to be..Just get a good realtor.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,569 posts, read 12,688,681 times
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Don't forget though that with a baby come additional expenses. Either you have to give up your $27K salary and stay home with the baby or you need to find childcare. I don't think you will get away with much less than $200 per week which is $10K per year. Of course there are tax deductions for that, but it is still a huge percentage of your income. It might be best to rent until you are settled with your expenses after the baby comes. Best of luck to you.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,589,433 times
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Be sure to factor in child care costs (or loss of income if one parent is staying home). That will make a difference in your income.
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:01 PM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,154,836 times
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Besides the baby expenses....think about the house expenses, especially if you purchase an older home.

You may well be able to get yourself into a home and pay a mortgage that is just about at your rental costs. Your utility costs will probably be higher. You *will* have home repairs--some of them can be very expensive. You must have enough cash flow that you can take care of that. If you are in a neighborhood, many things that seem little, like a broken fence, or a falling shutter, you won't be able to "let go" until you get the cash. I think that total costs of home ownership are often overlooked by first-time homebuyers.

To be honest, on your salaries, I would be very nervous about committing to such expenses. While you both sound very ambitious, there is a lot in the economy that you cannot control now and defense contracting isn't looking to good for the future. I just would continue to rent.
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:37 PM
 
309 posts, read 739,238 times
Reputation: 99
Although rent is higher than you could probably get a mortgage for, I think renting makes sense now at this point in your life. You have the flexibility of moving if a good job opportunity opened up w/o having to deal with a 2 hr commute.

As others mentioned, childcare is going to take a huge bite out of your income. Count on 1/2 of your monthly take home pay based on child care costs in this area and your 27k salary.
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:40 PM
 
1,339 posts, read 2,972,813 times
Reputation: 2220
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsHunny View Post
Afternoon everyone!

First let me explain our situation. My fiancé is in his mid-twenties, with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Unfortunately, he has been rejected by several police departments in the area, so he has stopped pursing that particular career path. Right now he just got hired to work for a defense contractor, though he’s at the bottom of the ‘food-chain’ so to speak. He works in the mailroom, and makes about 30K a year. My fiancé is also an officer in the Virginia National Guard, which brings in an additional 7k a year.


I am in my early-twenties, and make about 27k a year. I do not have a college degree.


Combined we average at about 64K before taxes. Right now we rent a 2 bedroom apartment in Prince William County for about $1200 a month. Our dream is to own a Single Family Home, but I am beginning to think that’s impossible on our current salaries. I don’t even know if we could afford to own a townhouse/condo at the moment?

The reason we want to own is that I am pregnant. (An unplanned, but none-the-less welcome surprise!) It would be ideal for us to settle into a place that we can call our own, and raise our baby. The biggest question is – is it possible in this area? And beyond that, is it possible to do so in a safe area?


My fiancé and I have a lot of potential, and I believe that with time and patience, our professional lives will pan out. It just hasn't been an easy start for us.

Anyway, sorry to rattle on, but my main question is. . can a family of 3 own and live on 64K a year in Northern Virginia? We would be able to pay 20k on a down payment for a house, if that helps any.

Thanks in advance for any advice/input.
I concur with most posters here that renting seems like the best option for you now. You and your husband are young so you don't want to be tied down to this area just because you bought a house. My advice is to invest the saved money for educational purposes by getting a college degree and landing a steady, secure job. Once you achive this, you can then think of settling down by buying a house.

Congrats on the baby! And while you are pursuing your careers and pushing off certain purchases (because of additional expenses), remember that happiness is above everything. Love your family unconditionally and everything should work out fine!

Good luck!
K
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