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A reader is "freaking out" over moving out. Does he have enough money?

2 minute read

Question: I’m freaking out. I’m 30 years old and saved  money even during the recession because I want to buy a small town home and stop paying a landlord. Sadly, my parents are both gone and I got no one to ask for advice.

Of course, the Internet is full of suggestions, but I don’t even know where to start. What are the basics, Howard? How can I figure out if I can afford a place and at what price? And what about hidden costs? I know about homeowners insurance, but what else?

Sorry, I’m losing it over here.

— Wesley in Pennsylvania

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

Howard Dvorkin on how to get out of debt fast

You know more than you think you do, Wesley. Your instincts are correct: Don’t just look at the mortgage payments.

Too many first-time homeowners stretch and buy bigger homes than they need right now because they think they can afford it, it’ll be a good investment, and their family will eventually grow into it. Meanwhile, they haven’t calculated what it costs to heat and cool the place, how much maintenance will be each year (especially if it’s not a new home), and other fees like a homeowner association, insurance, even lawn care.

You, on the other hand, are aiming at a modest townhouse, and you’re deeply concerned (“freaking out”) about cost. That’s actually a good thing, because it also means you have very little debt. In your letter, which I edited for length, you indicated you have $12,000 in student loans, a $1,000 balance on your credit cards, and a car payment of $324 a month.

How does that affect your ability to buy a townhouse at a good price with a reasonable mortgage? The best way to find out for sure isn’t online. I suggest you call Debt.com at 1-800-810-0989 for a free debt analysis from one of our trained counselors. Then you’ll know if those debts are hurting you, how to get rid of them, and how much you can comfortably spend. Good luck, Wesley.

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Have a debt question?

Email your question to editor@debt.com and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a  CPA, chairman of Debt.com, and author of two personal finance books, Credit Hell: How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt and Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC