A mortgage is one of those things that we tend to just assume is a part of growing up. After all, homes are expensive. How could you possible afford to buy a home without taking out a mortgage? Well, there are people who do it. And they aren’t just all rich! In this quick article, I’ll show you how they do it!
Save money by living on a single income
The key to being able to buy a home without a mortgage is saving up enough to be able to pay for it in cash. That might sound like a totally insane idea for anyone who isn’t a billionaire. But it is possible. If you’re like most couples, both you and your spouse or partner are working. Rather than living a lifestyle that requires both incomes, live as if only one of you were working.
Then, immediately squirrel away every single cent of the second income. Depending on how much that income is and how much the house you buy costs, you’ll have enough within a few years.
Sounds great in principle, right? But it also sounds impossible to put into practice. So here are a few tips for making it happen:
- Sit down with your spouse and plot out a sample budget based just on one income. How much could you afford in rent? Food? Bills? Don’t make a budget based on what you currently spend but based on what you would be able to spend if you only had one income.
- Now, look for a house or apartment that fits into that sample budget. If it’s really low, consider creative solutions like staying with friends, family, or renting a room in a shared apartment. Make up a grocery list based on how much you could spend on food in that sample budget. Look for real products and services that you need which you could afford under that more restrained budget.
- At this point, you have basically mapped out the lifestyle that you would be able to live on the single income. The next step is to actually transition to it. If you’re not immediately able to move, you can still start by changing smaller things like groceries, bills, and other expenses to mimic the sample lifestyle you made. With each transition step you take, immediately put that saved money into an actual savings account.
To help these savings grow a little faster, shop around for the best savings account you can find. Look for something like a CD account that allows you to make regular deposits.
Get a small fixer upper to start
This is equally important. Don’t aim for your dream house at the beginning. When you first buy a home, get yourself a starter house. That means something on the smaller side, enough space for you and your spouse (and any kids you already have). And look for something that needs some TLC.
A fixer upper will sell for an attractively low price since it needs work. You could even find something below the amount you saved and invest the rest in fixing it up. But that’s not necessary. Without the need to pay a mortgage bill each month, you’ll have plenty of cash to put toward renovations. Once it’s fixed up, you have two options:
- Flip it immediately for a profit and use that money to buy a better second home.
- Stay in it until you’ve saved enough money for a second home. Then, buy your second home, move out, and rent your first home for a steady source of passive income.
With either option, remember that you are living a life free of mortgage bills. And you are investing in something that can increase in value, meaning that you not only save money on not paying interest on debt but you are earning a profit.
If you already have a mortgage, pay it off ASAP
Many of those reading this have probably already taken out a mortgage. It’s something that has come to be seen as a “natural” part of life at this point so you probably did it without really thinking there was any alternative. That’s ok. It’s still not too late.
If you already have a mortgage, step one is to pay it off as soon as you can. Check your contract to make sure there is no early payoff (or “prepayment”) penalty. If there is, calculate whether it’s worth paying that penalty to save yourself from paying thousands of dollars in interest.
If you are already spending most of the money you bring in and don’t have a lot of extra cash to put toward larger mortgage payments, here are a few practical tips:
- Look for creative ways to tighten your belts and trim away waste from your budget. Put every single dollar saved toward your mortgage bill.
- Move out and sublet your home. Move in with parents if it’s possible or find a room in a shared apartment. No, it’s not ideal but remember, this is only temporary. Put the rent you’re getting from the new residents toward your mortgage. Then, put any money your savings from that cheaper rent (and otherwise cheaper lifestyle) toward the bill as well.
Whatever your situation is, you can find a way to get out of it if you are willing to make some temporary changes to your life. And once you’ve got the mortgage paid, you now have a home that you really do own. You can either flip it and follow the tips from the previous section for buying a home afterward or just continue living there and enjoying a mortgage free life!
A final word on how to buy a home without a mortgage
None of the strategies for how to buy a home above are promising to be easy or immediate. It takes some work and some extra steps that most people don’t think about taking. But by putting in this extra work at the beginning, you can save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run. The amount you end up paying in interest (even on the most amazing mortgage) is often nearly enough to buy a whole second house!
Now imagine if instead of throwing that money into interest, you could have saved it and put it toward actually buying a second house that you rented out as a source of passive income? The wait and the extra effort are absolutely worth it!