This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The Co-operators. The opinions and text are all mine.

Owning a home has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember. I used to spend my afternoons after school drawing out each room of my dream house, and although my taste has evolved from an under-water themed bedroom, owning and designing my first home is constantly on my mind. I have 2 years to go and I’m confident that by the time I reach 30 I will own my own home. It’s not going to be easy, but once I have a goal, I set a plan of action to reach it. If you’re a first-time home buyer, here are some tips you may find helpful. These are strategies I’m going to put into place so I can buy a house in my twenties!

1. Go Full Force Saving for a Period of Time

Money should consistently be flowing into your savings account on a regular basis, but if you want to buy a house in your twenties, you need to go one step further. This is going to take some self-control and quite a bit of sacrifice, but if owning your own home is one of your goals, they won’t feel like sacrifices in the long run. No more eating out, no more grabbing drinks with friends after work, and forget about that daily latte. These activities are indulgent. They’re fun for us and make us feel good, but they’re also a huge money grab. Think about how much you could save if you brought your lunch and coffee to work every day and made your own dinners every single night. Think about future you. What are you willing to give up now so you can have more (aka your own home!!!) in the future?

2. Find Your Ideal Location

Location is everything when it comes to owning your own home. If you buy a house in your twenties, you’re likely staying put for quite some time, so it’s really important you buy in an ideal location for your lifestyle. For me, that means a quiet neighbourhood that’s a short walk away from caf├ęs, groceries, shops and transit. In Toronto, a lot of the time you’re paying for location, so you have to get crafty. I know I won’t be able to buy a house in my dream location, as it would cost well over $1 million. But there are lots of up and coming areas that are more affordable, even if they’re a little out of the way.

3. Use the Home to Be App

I don’t know about you, but there are SO many questions I have when it comes to buying and being able to afford a home. There are so many details about home-purchasing I feel like I need to know but have no clue about.

The Home to Be app is magic. It tells you important details like what a home is actually worth based on similar properties that have recently sold in the area; an estimate of your monthly mortgage payments; neighbourhood trends (so you can decide if it’s a neighbourhood you can see yourself living in for years to come); hidden costs; and a calculation of what you can expect to pay in insurance premiums. It pretty much shows you all the information you need to know when it comes to making a smart home-buying decision. All you have to do is enter the address of the home you’re looking into and get the scoop on what the house is really worth, before calling your realtor. It will save you time by helping you weed out properties that don’t fit your checklist or budget. If you’re a first-time home-buyer, this app will be your saving grace!

4. Work on Smart Spending

We all need to spend money. There are essentials we need to live and sustain ourselves, but there’s also quite a bit of spending we do that’s frivolous and unnecessary. Whenever you’re spending money, ask yourself, Do I really need this? If the answer is no, put it down. If we’re not conscious about what we’re spending on, we end up throwing our money away, so keep track of what you’re spending and don’t spend on things you don’t absolutely need at this point in time.

5. Find Ways to Bring in Additional Income

Saving money is great, but sometimes it’s just not enough. These days with the internet, there are so many ways to bring in additional income, and that’s on top of jobs that aren’t online. Look into creating a side-hustle, which is a job you have on top of your full-time day job. Do you love to knit? Why not sell your creations on Etsy? Are you a born writer? Pitch some stories and start freelance writing. Do you have bartending experience? Work weekends at a local restaurant. Have you always wanted to start a blog? Start monetizing your passion! Additional income sources can help you save for a mortgage and all other home costs.

If you’re looking to buy a house in your twenties, try these 5 tips to save up and find the house of your dreams in your ideal location!

Note: The Home to Be App is only available in Ontario.

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