If you are thinking about purchasing a home for the first time, here are some important tips to consider:
1. Pay Off As Much Debt As Possible
Owning a home may be a little more expensive than you may realize, even if your monthly mortgage payment will be similar to your rent. When you own your own home, you will be responsible every bit of maintenance and that tends add up fast! I recommend you think about your budget, pay off as much of your debt as possible, and then begin thinking about your home search.
2. Realize How Much You Can Afford
Before you begin searching for homes, you need to check your monthly budget to determine how much you can afford. You should to leave room for other expenses such as car payments, student loans, utilities, etc. Make sure your monthly housing costs (mortgage, HOA fees, taxes, insurance) will be less than 33% of your income.
3. Saving Your Down Payment
You really should try to save 20% for your down payment. Once you have the 20% down, you won’t have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI protects lending companies in the case that borrowers default. It usually costs about 1% of the total loan value, and is added to your monthly payment. Its best to avoid this expense if you can, as it will save you quite a bit of money in the long run.
4. Save Extra Money For Closing Costs
In addition to your down payment, you should have some money extra for the closing costs. Closing costs will be roughly 3% of the purchase price. Your mortgage lender should give you an exact amount so you know what to bring with you to the closing table. You can talk to me, or to your lender about what these charges will include. These costs usually covers things like the appraisal, attorneys fees, home owner's insurance, etc.
5. Get a Pre-approval From Your Lender
Before you start the home searching process, I recommend that you contact a local bank or mortgage company and start the pre-approval process. Getting pre-approved is a very important step because when we write an offer, it gives the sellers confidence that you can afford the home. If you don't know a good lender, I can refer one to you.
6. Call Me!
Once you’ve made the decision to purchase - call me! You can start your home search on my website, or let me know what your looking for and I can set you up with an automated online search for you.