Buying a house should never be entered into lightly – and often many potential buyers may not realize the process involved. Doing as much research as possible can help determine exactly what is needed and required to make a home purchase happen.
Here are 10 great ways to help you identify the point at which making a home purchase becomes feasible for you:
1) Reduce Card Debt
When you’re trying to obtain a mortgage, perhaps the most important aspect of doing so is getting your credit card debt reduced as close to zero as possible, according to Money Under 30. That’s true for two reasons. First, the size of your credit card balances relative to your limits makes up a significant portion of your credit score. Second, lenders look at debt-to-income ratio. As long as you’re carrying relatively small balances from one month to the next (or ideally, not carrying a balance at all), you’ll be in good shape.
2) Pay Off Loans
One of the biggest hurdles (for the Millennial generation) when it comes to being financially capable of buying a home is student loans. It doesn’t mean loans have to be paid off in full, but they certainly need to be somewhat small relative to your income.
3) Having Savings
If you’re trying to buy a home in today’s market, you’ll almost certainly need to make a down payment. While it’s possible to get mortgages with down-payment requirements as low as three percent, the added long-term expense could end up costing you significantly over the life of the loan. Making as large a down payment as possible is going to keep your borrowing costs down. (Don’t forget to look into sponsored programs that help with a down payment!)
4) Rainy-Day Fund
In addition to the money that will go toward your down payment, it’s vital to have some additional money saved just in case something goes wrong with the home. As a general rule, having about $1 per square foot – or one percent of the purchase price – in the bank will help cover some basic expenses you’re likely to encounter after your home purchase.
5) A Long-Term Plan
Whether you’re buying a home as a single person or for a whole family, you need to consider what your situation is going to look like two, five, 10 or even 20 years down the road. If your housing needs are going to expand or shrink in the near future, this will affect to size and kind of home you’re looking to purchase now. (For example, it is best not to buy a small home now if you know you’ll need a larger one in a few years when you have kids.)
6) Reliable Income
Lenders also want to make sure you’re going to be able to keep up with your mortgage payments in the long term, so a steady job is a must. While no one can predict their employers’ future with 100 percent accuracy, it might not be a good idea to go house hunting at a time of turmoil. As long as you’re fairly confident in your position, home shopping should be no problem.
7) A Comfortable Cushion
One issue some homeowners encounter after buying a home is they’ve pushed themselves so far financially trying to get ready for the real estate sales process that they come out the other side in rough financial shape. Being “house poor” means people own a house but otherwise struggle financially because of the cost of that property. You’ll need to make sure you’re not buying too much house or else risk running into other financial problems even if you can technically afford the mortgage and other costs.
8) An Understanding of What Constitutes Affordability
Along similar lines, it’s vital to not only factor in the cost of the mortgage and taxes for your home budget, but also other expenses. This may include higher electric and heating bills that come with living in a bigger space or more costly insurance coverage.
9) A List of Must-Haves and Nice-To-Haves
When people actually start shopping for homes, it can be easy to fall in love with certain properties, according to Forbes. However, while it would be nice to have a state-of-the-art kitchen with stainless-steel appliances, it’s probably going to be expensive and not necessary for your happiness in the home. Having a list of things that you will absolutely need out of your new property – big backyard, finished lower level or a home office – will help you get a better idea of what you can actually afford.
10) Your Real Estate Agent
The key role of real estate professionals in every portion of the process cannot be overstated. They will be able to help first-time buyers as well as those who have previously been through the process get as prepared as possible so they can maximize their understanding and the value they get out of buying a home.
Need help qualifying for a mortgage? Contact Sibcy Cline Mortgage Services. They have professionals who will guide you through the entire lending process.
Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more: www.hmsnational.com