Home ownership is undeniably considered the ultimate achievement of the American dream. However, with so much uncertainty surrounding the current market and a newer strict lending climate, we want home buyers to know that no matter what is going on in the world, there is nothing to fear when you know these 5 things!
#1: TRACK YOUR EXPENSES
Most times we underestimate how much we really spend from day-to-day on things like fast food and entertainment. To get a firm understanding of what the financial impact of owning a home look like, start by tracking exactly how much you spend each month and where you spend it. A good way to track your spending is to use a budgeting app, spreadsheet or even keeping a journal of your spending habits. However, if you want a real time way to track your spending, use nothing but cash for a full month and see if your spending habits shock you.
#2: SET YOUR BUDGET
Now that you know exactly what you’re spending each month it is time to create a realistic budget. The most important part of setting your budget is to include the amount you expect your mortgage to be.
This should include two amounts:
The first amount should be what you expect your house payment to be plus monthly taxes and insurance. If possible, try to pay this amount into savings for a few months so that you can get an idea of what payment amount will allow you to maintain your current lifestyle.
The second amount is for repairs. This will ensure that you will have the funds to fix something when the inevitable happens. Owning a home comes with more than just the cost of a house payment, it comes with repairs, maintenance and upgrades. You never know when something will go wrong, so it is best to be as prepared as possible to avoid adding debt to your budget.
Setting this budget will serve as your road map to finding the home that fits perfectly into your budget.
#3: GET PREAPPROVED
The single most important part of buying a home is getting approved for a mortgage. By starting with your preapproval, you will have a clear understanding of what you can spend as well as an estimate of your closing costs. This will also give you the opportunity to see exactly what your credit and income to debt ratio looks like and how your lender will view your financial strength.
To ensure that you are connected with the best possible lender for you, contact a realtor before you start the process. At Jacob Realty, our experienced agents understand the value of local lenders, so we have a network of the best lenders in the industry. This will help you avoid the traps of online lenders and unnecessary hits to your credit.
#4: FIND A GOOD AGENT
It is always a good idea to have the best agent by your side. At Jacob Realty, we are not your standard real estate firm, in fact we are a full-service boutique real estate agency. Now, we know that you are wondering what that means exactly, but in a nutshell, it just means that we are here for you from start to finish. We will not only connect you to the service industries best in lending, inspections, and everything in between, but we will be here for more than just direction. Our firm takes pride in our ability to understand clients in every stage of life across all generations.
At Jacob Realty, we are focused on developing long-lasting relationships that will provide you with resources to last a lifetime.
#5: KNOW YOUR NEEDS
Not everyone knows exactly what they want when they start house hunting, but they do know what they need. Your needs list should include the location that you want to be in (county, area, etc.), as well as the number of bedrooms/baths needed, square footage, school zones, etc. By creating this list, you will give your realtor a starting point for reference.