(Closed) Advice Buying Home While in Graduate Med School

posted 7 years ago in Home
Post # 17
10363 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

OH! ALso, a lot of lenders won’t lend for a condo unless you put 20% down, some as high as 30% down. They consider condos way higher risk than single family homes. It also isn’t just FHA that wants to see owner occupied stats – every lender we have talked to wanted 70% or higher owner occupied for a conventional loan.

Post # 19
11744 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think 100-300 for HOA is reasonable. We pay 207$ now and it goes up about $5-$10 per year.  Don’t forget to factor homeowners insurance into your budget too – you’ll definitely need it!  There are just a lot more variable costs when it comes to owning a home and you may not want to deal with it while you’re in school – you’ll already have a lot on your plate! I don’t know anyone that has bought a house in med school but many do in residency that I know (for the same reasons with the added bonus that they figure they may stay in that city after their residency is complete) whereas with med school, it will be up in the air with where you are placed after.  (if you rent it out because you can’t sell it, you may be across the country and will be tough to manage the property yourself – you’ll have to pay someone to manage it for you, as well as potential realtor fees to help rent it).  My sister and Brother-In-Law own a townhouse from his residency and now live 500 miles away and it’s been a huge expense and pain in the ass for them.  

It’s definitely good you’re thinking about all of it.  I guess if I were you, I’d find an apt/house to live in with a few roommates (maybe other med students?) so the rent is cheap and you can still save some money for a downpayment down the line.  Renting can suck (pissing $$ away) but it does have its perks too! (low – no unpredictable variable costs and stress!)

Good luck!

Oh and just want to reiterate again how much paying back student loans sucks!  My monthly payment (for 80k of loans) is $1700 (almost our mortgage!) The interest is awful. I really wish I had worked my way through school (not really an option for you) and paid as I went along. I’m just so thankful I wasn’t ever able to get all the extra living money (my school was small and didn’t have tons of loan $ available)

Post # 20
3109 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

$10k is a nice down payment but unless you put down 20% you will have to pay private mortgage insurance At about $150/mo until 20% is paid off the principal. Also, do you have money to cover closing costs- probably about 5k for 100k loan. For FHA you only need 3.5% down. 

Don’t think of rent as a black hole. It’s serving the purpose of making your life easy while you are in a very stressful program. 

Post # 22
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Go to your bank and ask for advice. I work at a bank and the things we look at are your credit score and debt to income ratio mostly. Add up your monthly loan payments, credit card payments, new monthly mortgage payment and divide that by your gross monthly income. If it is 38% or less we would approve you. 

Post # 24
772 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I have friends that did this and are totally underwater.  If you buy something, it needs to appreciate at least 6% by the time you sell it to cover realtor fees.  I assume you will live there 5 years, which means you need more than 1% appreciation per year.  Plus, you will be paying only the interest on your loan the first few years, so that means you won’t be building equity.  Take a look at comps and see if this is realistic for your area.   It is not true where I live.

I would only do it if the cost of buying works out (with maintenance and taxes) to be less than renting.  It is not “throwing money away” if renting let’s you live for cheaper with less responsibility for maintenance and more flexibility if you need to move to a cheaper place, decide to move or want to take a job in another state.  I have friends who are trapped in their market and cannot move for better jobs or downsize to save money without becoming a landlord at a loss. 

Post # 25
3650 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2000

@RawHoneyBee:  Be aware of one fact:


Whatever payments you throw toward the mortgage in the first 4 years will go LARGELY to interest. You will pay down very little on the principle.


It means that in four years you won’t establish much equity at all.

Post # 27
2889 posts
Sugar bee

I am just now finishing a 4 year Ph.D. and I am moving. I can 100% say I am so glad to not have a house to see at the moment. Darling Husband and I have lived in a cheap apartment for 3 of the 4 years (downgraded from the place we rented on 2 corporate incomes in order to increase savings). Honestly, in those 3 years there were not many repairs but the entire bathroom pipes had to be replaced which was no small job. In this case, my only responsibility was to allow access to the work crew. We were able to know our costs each month and apartment living meant out heating costs were very low as we are a middle unit so 2 of our 4 sides are insulated by other apartmetns. My schedule was hectic and unpredictable, especially around deadlines and Darling Husband often traveled for work so neither of us had the desire to maintain a house or condo. Yes, we paid rent and don’t have anything tangible to sell BUT it was cheaper than any mortgage would have been, we don’t have to deal with the stress of selling/repairs/renters and we were able to save a good amount of $$ by living below our means instead of trying to stretch our income. So, I hear that you think rent is throwing $ away but respectuflly disagree that it is a waste to rent. Especially, if you are living alone, I would highly recommend finding a roomate and looking for a place to rent for $500 or less per month so oyu can reduce your student loan burden.

Post # 28
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

A responsible realestate agent in our area would never recommend buying unless you plan on living somewhere 5-7 years min.  Our market has barely recovered since 2008.

Some HOA’s/condo associations do not permit subletting.

Post # 29
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Just another perspective – my Darling Husband is in medical school (not sure if your natropath physician program has the same timeframe) but essentially it is 2 years of “school” school, and then 2 years of rotations. He’s in his 3rd year now, and luckily is in the area for most of his rotations, however his 4th year rotations will not be in this state. It would be awful if we had to keep up a home from a distance, WHILE he’s in school (read: CRAZY stressful and you’re not going to want to deal with house problems and/or tenant issues in the midst of rotations/exams).

Also, I know that M.D./D.O. residency programs are paid by Medicare, and during that period they earn around $40K-$50K/year. And are required to start repaying student loans during that time. Which doesn’t allow much wiggle room in terms of monthly cash flow, assuming you also want to buy a house where your residency is.

Do what you want, but I’d suggest finding a cheap apartment for a couple years and taking out less in loans, rather than hassling with home ownership during med school.

Post # 31
3460 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@RawHoneyBee:  In addition to insurance, don’t forget to include taxes, utilities –  gas/electric/hot water/sewage costs (many of these are often subsumed into rent charges), and annual maintence costs (I’ve researched a little for myself and apparently 1-3% is average).  Heating is can be fairly pricey, particularly in colder climates like Portland, OR.

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