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What Age Can You Buy A House? A Legal And Practical Look At The Question

Andrew Dehan3-minute read

March 31, 2021


In the United States, it is legal to buy a house without a co-signer at the age of majority, which is 18 in most states. Reaching the age of majority empowers individuals to sign legal agreements. Prior to reaching the age of majority, individuals can still buy a house with the aid of a co-signer.

The practical side of buying a house young is often the more limiting factor. Read on to learn the signs of being ready to buy a house, as well as the pros and cons of buying a house young.

Signs You Are Ready To Buy A House

What age you can legally buy a house is fundamentally less important than the other signs you’re ready to buy a house. Here are a few things you should have that show you’re ready to buy a house:

  • A solid debt-to-income ratio (DTI): Your DTI is an important calculation lenders use to measure your loan eligibility.
  • Income stability: A stable income is necessary to make monthly mortgage payments and pay for home costs.
  • Geographical stability: It’s best to buy a home when you know you’re going to be in the area for at least a few years.
  • Down payment savings: Conventional loans require a minimum of a 3% down payment and FHA loans require a minimum of 3.5%. To avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), you’ll need a down payment of 20%.
  • A high enough credit score: To qualify for a mortgage, you need a good history of repaying debt.

Pros Of Buying A House Young

If you’re in the right place financially, there are several positives to buying a house young. Here are some of the key ones:

  • Compounding savings: As you pay off your loan, you can build equity. A home can be a solid investment and if it grows in value, that investment can be used as leverage for buying a new home, consolidating other debt or paying for major life expenses.
  • Life stability: Having a place you can call your own can have a huge psychological impact. Investing in a home can ground you and help you put down roots.
  • Programs for first-time home buyers: Many local areas offer grants and assistance programs for first-time home buyers.
  • Building credit: Paying a mortgage regularly is one of the most effective ways to build your credit.

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Cons Of Buying A House Young

Along with the pros, there are some cons of buying a house young. The truth is that it’s not right for everyone. Review these cons before making a decision:

  • Feeling locked in during a time of change: A lot of change can happen when you’re a young adult. While some may see owning a home as stability, others may feel it’s a trap, especially if they’re interested in moving or exploring other opportunities.
  • Too much budget strain: Owning a house is expensive. If it would have you strapped for cash, you could consider roommates, tenancy in common or joint tenancy. These come with their own complications.
  • Extra responsibility: Owning a house comes with a lot of responsibility in terms of maintenance. Where renters rarely have to worry about lawncare or plumbing issues, if you’re a homeowner, these can fall on your shoulders.

Home Ownership By Age: Know The Statistics

The median age of a first-time home buyer is 32. As of the fourth quarter of 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 23.8% of people under the age of 25 owned homes. For the ages of 25 – 29, that number climbed to 34.8%. Between the ages of 30 – 34, 49.2% of people owned homes.

As the ages go up, homeownership rates climb. Whether or not people your age own homes shouldn’t be what determines if you do. If you’re in the position financially to buy a home at a young age, you need to think about what that means for you. It may make other things less feasible, like travelling.

On the other hand, mortgages can be cheaper than rent. If you’re ready for the commitment, owning a home young can be a huge asset. Bucking the trend could put you in a great place to establish your home, which could be a powerful investment for you.

The Bottom Line

You should judge whether you’re ready to buy a house by your specific situation. While the minimum legal age is 18, often other factors determine whether you’re ready. Your finances need to be secure, your income stable and you should be sure you’ll be staying in the area you’re buying the home.

Want some personal guidance? Speak with a Home Loan Expert today.

Take the first step toward the right mortgage.

Apply online for expert recommendations with real interest rates and payments.

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Andrew Dehan

Andrew Dehan is a professional writer who writes about real estate and homeownership. He is also a published poet, musician and nature-lover. He lives in metro Detroit with his wife, daughter and dogs.