If you want to buy a house or condo immediately after college you'll need to start preparing early. Here's everything you'll need.

Readers, can you help with this question? Another reader wants to know if he’ll be able to buy a home or condo right after graduating from college this year. He’ll be armed with a degree in accounting, already has a job lined up, and will have $30k in student loan debt. I’ll share my thoughts below, but I know some people out there who did buy homes right after school, and I’m curious to know how it went.

I think your ability to a purchase a home straight out of college depend upon a few factors. Certainly you will need to have good credit. The question, when you’re around 21, 22, 23, is have you had a credit card or two open throughout college and always paid them on time? Then your credit should be OK. If you haven’t opened enough credit though, getting a mortgage these days may be tough. And, with such a short credit history, even one late payment could foil your score.

Second, how much are your monthly student loan payments as a percentage of your monthly income? Less than 10% you should be fine. Possibly even 20% if you have no other debt. Next, do you have a down payment? I don’t know that it’s absolutely necessary if your credit is excellent, but I have heard that it really helps these days to have as much as 20% down.

Finally, will your salary qualify you? You need to make a certain amount to even be considered for a mortgage. Here in Boston that was, until recently, hard to do on a single income–let alone a single entry level salary. Then again, the recessed housing market has lowered purchase prices and made affording a modest condo with reach. Also, I’m a journalist, not an accountant, so it’s possible your first gig will pay a healthy bit more than any of mine to date! A good tool for seeing what you can afford is CNN/Money’s affordable home calculator.

That’s about all I can think of–again, did anybody buy a house or condo right after college? How’d you do it? What do you recommend?

Related Tools

About the author

David Weliver
Total Articles: 285
David Weliver is the founder of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues he faced during his first two decades as an adult. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.