Preparing your Finances for Home Ownership
Are you considering buying a new home? Now is the perfect time to get organized. Buying a home is one of the largest investments you will make, so it's important to be well prepared before taking the leap. Follow these tips to prepare your finances for home ownership.
- Get your credit in order. Your credit is a large factor in determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage, so find out your credit score at least three months before buying. The higher the score, the easier it will be to qualify for a mortgage.
- Prepare for Expenses Before you Buy. Understand and plan for what you will need to spend before the actual purchase. You'll need enough cash for a down payment, closing costs, and a few months worth of mortgage payments. Go ahead and figure out other expenses like moving costs, furniture, and repairs.
- Know how much you can afford. Before you jump into a contract, make sure it's something you can actually afford. List and total your monthly expenses, then subtract that from your monthly net income. Here's a good rule to keep in mind: your total housing costs should be no more than 30% of your net pay. Also, remember that a larger down payment of about 20% or more can save you hundreds and even give you more buying power.
- Have trade lines. Did you know that most lenders prefer that you have three or more trade lines open for at least a year? These can range from credit cards and student loans to a car loan. You should also avoid closing them because it can hurt your credit score.
- Do your research. Above all, it's crucial that you do your research before buying your new home. In addition to the price of the home, you must always consider other factors such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities, maintenance, and repairs.
- Consult a Real Estate Professional. The right real estate professional can walk you through all the steps. Whether you're buying your first home, forever home, or a vacation retreat, the right Realtor can not only help you get ready, but they can also negotiate the best deal and help you navigate through financing, contingencies, and closing. Choosing the right real estate partner is the best investment you can make when buying a home.