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This Single Mom Became a Homeowner at 25 and Here's How She Did It

“It doesn’t matter if it takes you years, as long as you get there someday.”
This Single Mom Became a Homeowner at 25 and Here's How She Did It
IMAGE Elle Magno
“It doesn’t matter if it takes you years, as long as you get there someday.”

Deciding to finally own a home is a major decision—very few can afford to buy one and not take on debt. But for Elle Magno, a single work-at-home mom, having a house that they can call their own was the “most logical choice” for her and her daughter, Ia.

That’s why at 25 years old, Elle became a proud homeowner. “I didn’t want to keep on renting because it’s more expensive, and at that time, I wanted a stable environment for my daughter. Ayaw ko nang palipat-lipat kami once the lease is up,” she explains in an email interview with SmartParenting.com.ph.

Elle with her nine-year-old daughter, Ia.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno
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With a little help from her mom, Elle was able to afford the downpayment of a small bungalow from Amaia Land. She applied for a home loan, where her mom was also named a co-borrower. When she first got the house, it was a bare but finished pod. Six years later, it has transformed into her dream home.

Take a look at the before-and-after photos below!

Elle's house has gotten a few upgrades over the past six years.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno
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Elle's house upon turnover.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno

Now 31 years old, Elle has become the sole borrower for the loan since her mother passed away. “Currently, I’m still paying for its mortgage, but it’s still definitely cheaper than renting,” she says.

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Here are some of Elle’s most important learnings as a homeowner:

1. Plan what you want for your house before starting renovations.

Elle jumpstarted her home upgrade by hiring an interior designer friend to design her space. She held on to it and renovated the house whenever she had extra budget.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno
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As a single mom still paying for the mortgage and all their living expenses, Elle decided to renovate her house little by little.

“I hired my interior designer friend to do a few designs and I chose one that I liked,” she tells Smart Parenting. “Whenever I have extra [money], I will renovate small parts of the house, furnish or DIY to achieve the look that I want.”

Elle started by adding a ceiling and painting the walls. She also added an extension for the kitchen.

Then, she worked on completing her bedroom, her daughter’s bedroom, and their bathroom. She worked on the living and dining areas last, since it just needed furniture.

“My space is small, just about 35 sqm, so I don’t want it to feel crammed. I made sure everything that I have here is not only pleasing [to the eyes] but multi-functional as well. I maximized the storage spaces,” Elle shares.

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2. Hire a trusted contractor.

How Elle's bedroom used to look like.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno

Elle has had her share of hits-and-misses in the process of upgrading her home. “In the first parts of the renovation, I just hired someone who I thought knew what they were doing so I ended up with back jobs. Or someone who just took the downpayment and didn’t always show up, which caused delays in the construction. It was really frustrating for me,” she shares.

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Elle is renovating her kitchen at the moment, and the next phase is to finish the interiors of her home. She also plans to landscape the backyard and build a carport.

3. Choose quality items and materials.

Their living room.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno

There will always be impulsive buys, but Elle has learned to think hard before making a purchase. “Always do your research and go for quality versus cheap [stuff],” the mom advises.

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“It’s good to have furniture, dinnerware, or appliances that will last longer (maybe even forever!) than keep buying the same things every few years or buying something that aesthetic-looking but will just break easily,” she adds.

She also says invest in functional appliances, especially for the kitchen. “Years ago, I purchased a smart oven that has microwave, baking, grill, and air fry function. Recently, I bought a 2-in-1 washer dryer and a countertop dishwasher.

“I always go for these types of stuff because I want my kitchen to be functional for someone like me who works full-time and is still taking care of a kid.”

4. Learn to compromise.

Now she has a beautiful loft bed!
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno
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As a homeowner, changes are inevitable, so Elle’s advice is to learn how to pivot or adapt to them. “When I built the loft bed that I wanted for my room, my daughter was still so young, so I had to make sure it was safe for her,” Elle shares. “I didn’t get the look I wanted, but it eased my mind knowing that she will be safe when using it,” the mom adds.

5. Go for a theme and stick to it.

The living room was recently completed since she only had to buy furniture for it.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno
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For her house, Elle went for the Scandinavian look or a light, airy theme with a mix of white, gray, and black. “My mind still shifts so I might add some splash of colors here and there, but ideally, the light and airy feel are what I go after.”

One thing she’s learned: “Buy only the items that go with your theme, or else you’ll end up with items you might have to sell or give away because it doesn’t match the theme you are going for,” she says.

6. Be patient and enjoy the journey!

How Elle's home looks now.
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Elle Magno
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Despite being a homeowner for six years now, Elle says her house is still a work in progress. But she is perfectly content with it.

“It doesn’t matter if it takes you years, as long as you get there someday,” she shares. “It may look plain at first, but if you persist and continue working on that goal, you will achieve it.”

*This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.phMinor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.

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