Life and Money With Helaine

Dear Helaine: Almost two years ago I moved into my parents' house to save money. Thanks to that decision, I've been able to pay off my student loans, and now my only debt is a car loan. I pay $530 a month, and the balance is $8,800. It comes due at the end of 2019.

I've been saving $2,000 a month and have $22,000 saved. I'm hoping to use this money in the future for a down payment on a condo. Do I use some of this to pay off my car loan in one lump sum and put the additional $500 into savings every month, or do I continue to add to my savings? I know I won't be able to look at condos till I have at least $35,000 saved up. -- Hoping for a Home of My Own

Dear Hoping: Oh, how I wish all reader questions were as easy as yours. It sounds like all is going well with you right now. You seem to like living with your parents. You are on track to pay down your car by the end of the year. You'll have the money you need to begin looking at a home set aside by the fall, if you remain on your current savings schedule.

I wouldn't mess with a situation that's working for you. In fact, I would suggest beginning to look at homes now. This way, when you have all the money together, you'll possess a good sense of the market in your region and have a better sense of what you do and don't want in a home, including what you are willing to compromise on to find a condo in your budget.

Will it be a distance from your mom and dad or work? Is it on a lower or higher floor than you would like? Will you want new construction, or will you take on something that needs some renovation? The only way you can begin to answer these questions is to spend time learning about what is available in your area and at what price point. Happy home hunting!

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