Need Home Buying Advice PLEASE

Hello, this is going to be a long post but I need help badly. So thanks in advance.

Me and my wife (both very frugal) (married about a year) have been renting my parents basement “apartment” for about 6 years now to save money. We pay $700 a month. It’s been great for the time we’ve been here but we are 27 now and will be looking to buy a home for ourselves probably in the next 1-2 years to start a family (2 kids in mind). We are pretty financially responsible. The problem is we live on Long Island, New York and the cost of living and housing is absurd here. I barely know anybody my age or even in their 30s that has their own place. So I’ll give our numbers, prices, and strategies I hope you can help me with. We both work in healthcare.


Combined gross yearly salary: 124.7k ($10,392 monthly)

Combined net yearly salary: 82k (payroll taxes (21.7k) health/dental/vision/life insurance (7.5k) pension contribution (5.5k) union dues (1k). Comes out to $6833 monthly.

I have a good secure union state job with a pension making 95k currently that I intend to stay for at least 20 years (therefore any home we will buy we intend to stay in for at least 20 years). 2-3% raise annually. Wife works privately per diem (about 2 days/week) and then does some other side stuff like child care for a few thousand more a year which I’m not including in this. Consider it cushion money for now. When we have kids this will be good because she can be flexible with work and we have a bunch of family here to help us watch the kids when she does work so we will not have to pay for any child care which will save a ton of money.


Current expenses are about 22.2k a year. This includes 8.4k in rent which we be gone once we buy a home. So once we are moved in our current pre-anything home related expenses would be about 13.8k. This includes all expenses (groceries, car insurance, fuel for cars, and misc. expenses). We have 0 debt and 780+ credit scores. I have a 2022 EV that i got for 24k after incentives because of a long commute (saves me a ton of money on gas and maintenance) had a 20 yr old dying car before this, and she has a 2016 that’s in good shape so we should not need cars for a long long time.


Ally HYSA: ~110k (in prep of down payment, move in expenses, furniture, appliances, repairs etc, more on this later)

Roth IRAs ~50k combined

Taxable brokerage ~44k (neither of us were eligible for 401k/403b until very recently)


Like I said, COL is crazy here. Even with prices somewhat coming down (barely). Pretty much the CHEAPEST home that’s not in a bad neighborhood and that’s not a shack, (we’re talking BASIC 3 bed, 2 bath house like 1500 sq ft that’s like 70+ years old) is 400k. For anything close to “decent” its 500k+ and still 50 years old. Keep in mind this is a house we are going to spend the next 20+ years in (probably 30+ if we’re being honest). Also we’re extreme introverts so we spend like 90% of our time at home so I really want something that’s somewhat “nice” and we can happily grow a family in.

Home price examples (based on Zillow) (30 year fixed w/ 20% down, current rates)

400k home – $2926 monthly. (P+I = $2016, Property taxes/mo = $770, Insurance/mo = $140)

450k home – $3295 monthly. (P+I = $2272, Property taxes/mo = $866, Insurance/mo = $158)

500k home – $3662 monthly. (P+I = $2524, Property taxes/mo = $962, Insurance/mo = $175)

Can we afford… any of these realistically? Even the cheapest of a 400k home comes out to 43% of our net monthly take home. The 500k home is 54%. And this is with 80k-100k down to avoid PMI too. Looking at the numbers honestly its just disheartening and I don’t know how regular people like me and my wife who compared to most people I know make decent money, still cant even afford a “normal” home.. the thought of spending $11k annually just on property taxes.. makes me wanna puke. The people I work with live in homes twice the size in great areas that they paid like 200k for 20 years ago that are now worth like 600-700k+. It’s just like.. I don’t understand how my generation is supposed to just have enough money to just pay for shelter here.. a basic human necessity.


So.. what do we do? My wife is very paranoid about having enough money for a down payment plus moving in, repairs, furnishing, etc. etc. which I understand. So the first thing she wants us to do is get to ~$125k in our HYSA. This would cover down payment (IF we did 20% (80-100k?), still don’t know about this) + all those other expenses that I’m sure add up super fast. After we got to that number we would start investing all extra money we have until we bought a home. Is this smart? Should we even use a down payment of 20%? Or do we try and get a bigger mortgage, put a smaller down payment, pay the PMI, and invest the money instead? But then again our monthly payment would be even BIGGER which it’s already enormous.. Putting 5% down on the 450k home instead of 20% brings the monthly payment to 4k.. As you can see my head is spinning trying to figure out the best way to do this. I honestly don’t know what to do. I really appreciate anyone who took the time to read this essay. I’ll take any advice to heart. Thank you.