Am I Ready To Buy a Home?
For many people that are considering purchasing their first home, the idea can be a bit frightening and overwhelming. After realizing that they would like to buy a home, the next thing they’ll wonder is if they’re ready and if they can.
The first thing that usually stops potential homebuyers in their tracks, especially first-time homebuyers, is the much known, but very outdated notion that you must have 20% down in order to qualify for a home loan. This is no longer true! There are many different home loan products available and they vary from zero money required as a downpayment to 3–5% down, all the way to a standard 20%. Of course, the more money you put down on the purchase of a home, the less amount you require for a home loan. The lower your home loan, generally, the lower your monthly payments. So, you may prefer to put more down, and that’s fine. But, don’t be scared away from the thought of buying a home because you think you have to put that much down and you don’t have enough saved. It’s best to first speak with a few lenders or mortgage brokers to find out what programs are available to you. Then you can have a better understanding of whether or not you have enough saved for a downpayment.
Here are some other things to think about to help you determine whether or not you are ready to buy a home:
- While renting a home does involve monthly living expenses, owning a home usually involves more expenses than renting. When considering your budget, in addition to your monthly mortgage payment and all of your usual lifestyle expenses, don’t forget to include estimates for your monthly:
Property tax and special assessments
HOA fees, if applicable
- In addition to those expected monthly living expenses associated with owning your own home, you need to consider the responsibilities associated with owning your own home:
Like, maintaining the grounds of your property. Will you handle yard maintenance, or will you employ a gardener or landscaper?
What happens if something stops working at your home, like the water heater, the garbage disposal, the dryer, or the sprinklers? You will be responsible for taking care of the issue, whether it’s fixing it yourself or hiring someone else to repair it. Is this a responsibility that you are willing to take on? Is it a responsibility that you have the financial means to address when it unexpectedly presents itself?
Once you’ve considered these preliminary factors and determined that you are, in fact, ready to buy a home, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to live. You can’t seriously consider where you want to live without also knowing how much home you can afford to buy. There’s no use spending time and energy falling in love with an area only to learn later that the area is far out of your budget. So, first, interview lenders and mortgage brokers to select the person that you want to work with during your journey to owning a home. Then, work with that lender or mortgage broker to determine the home loan price you are pre-approved for, adjust that amount by however much needed so that your purchase price fits within your desired monthly budget, and then decide on your desired purchase price range.
Now that you know your homebuying budget it’s time to start considering what area you would like to purchase in. Spend time in the area — go have lunch or dinner, shop, go to the park, drive around. Get a good feel for the area. Once you’ve identified some general areas of interest to you, it’s time to start interviewing real estate agents that are local to those areas. Interview at least three, and then select the agent that offers the type of customer service that best fits what you need and expect from an agent.
Best of luck to you!
If you have any questions, we’re always here to help! Contact us today!