Buying a home is a big step for anyone, but especially for those of you who’ve never bought a home before. You probably have a ton of questions about how the process works, finding the right home, what to offer, getting a mortgage and more. But there’s an even bigger question you have to consider:
Am I ready to buy my first home?
Yikes. That’s an intimidating thing to think about, isn’t it? Here’s some advice that can help you decide. If you answer “yes” to these questions, you’re probably ready to buy your first home:
Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
If you’ve just started a new job, and it’s in the same field you’ve long been in, that won’t be as much of a deal breaker as if you’ve just began a new job in a new field for you. If you’re a salesperson or in a commission-based job, the bank needs to review your earning history to see if you’re likely to keep making the same amount of money.
Do I have a good record of paying my bills on time?
Your credit score is key, and your score may be lower than you’ll need it to be if you’ve skipped a payment — even just one.
Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments?
The bank likes to see that you’ve made a commitment to paying for something large over time — but not too many commitments!
Do I have money available for a down payment?
There are some loan programs available where the borrower doesn’t need to bring any money to the table. However, as a rule, when you have some money that you’re contributing to the process, you have more “skin in the game,” and are therefore considered a better risk to the bank. In addition, the more money you have to put down, the smaller your loan amount will be and the less money you’ll need to borrow.
Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional property maintenance costs involved in owning a home?
Owning a home often brings additional costs to your life that you don’t have if you’re renting. If the HVAC goes on the fritz, or a pipe bursts, guess who pays for that? You, of course. If money is already pretty thin with your existing monthly expenses, it may not be the right time to buy a home.
Do I plan to stay in this community for at least 3-5 years?
No real estate agent has a crystal ball, and any market can start to rapidly appreciate or depreciate at any time due to economic and/or environmental factors. But, as a rule, when it’s time to sell the house you’re about to buy, waiting 3+ years will give you a better chance of recouping all the costs involved in buying the home. And the longer you stay in a home, the better your chances of realizing a profit when it’s time to sell.
Did you answer “yes” to all of these questions? If so, congratulations! You’re likely a good candidate to be a home buyer. And if you’re ready to get that process started, give us a call or contact us via the form below. We’ll have you talk to a trusted lender partner and then get started in helping you find the best home for you!