I just came across this excellent blog on Active Rain, and had to pass it on! Andrea Bedard is a Realtor down in Silver Springs, MD., but the formula works in any market, and when when properly applied, can put any first-time buyer on the path to home ownership!
The Path to Home Ownership: from the impossible to the possible.
You would really like to buy a house but your credit is not so hot, your savings are … where are your savings? and you are not really sure where to start. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve already started. You have made the decision, you have dreamed about it, you have wondered what it would be like and you have started researching... I’m excited you found my blog!
How do you go from the seemingly impossible to making it all happen? You
"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
~ St. Francis of Assisi
Start by doing what’s necessary
Most of us do not just wake up one morning and decide to buy a house today. It takes a lot of planning and preparation to assure your financial health and happiness. Your first step should be to check your credit, find out where you stand, verify accuracy of all information and dispute what’s not. Take advantage of your free annual credit reports and educate yourself about the FICO score lenders use. If you haven’t kept book about your finances, there’s never a better time than now. It doesn’t matter which way you do it, just as long as you do. I, personally, prefer the old-school method of book and pen and it has been working well for me. Track your income and expenses for awhile and scrutinize your findings. Are you spending more than you should? Is there anything you could possibly cut back on? Do you really need that second car or can you make do with one for awhile? Is there anything in your home just collecting dust? Is a yard sale in order? Find some ways to cash in on items you don't use and apply that to paying off debt or to kick-start your saving.
Do what's possible
Your next step should be to work on your credit. Don’t tackle everything at once but pick a goal that is attainable in the near future. It is smart to pay off high-interest loans first but, on the other hand, you may have a much smaller debt that you can eliminate fast. The feeling of accomplishment will give you the boost to keep going. Set yourself little goals and don’t forget to reward yourself once you’ve accomplished those. When you have paid down your debt, you should start focusing on saving! You will need money for down-payment and closing costs. Even if we can negotiate a sizable seller contribution and/or you can take advantage of grants, you still want to be financially stable. Owning a home means maintaining it, too. You will want to decorate, buy new furniture and have a safety net for when the big ticket items break down.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help either! If the task seems too daunting at first reach out to a Realtor® to help you map out a road-plan and to educate yourself about the process.
Be realistic! Wanting that $800,000 house on a $50,000/year income is not it. You will set yourself up for disappointment and may lose focus. Staying focused really is the key. Write it all out in the beginning and check off each goal when accomplished … it may take months or even years but if you stick with it you will go to doing what you once thought was impossible.
This blog was inspired by Maria. Maria contacted me a few days ago. She and her husband are taking the first steps on the path to home ownership. Her husband is deploying to Afghanistan very soon and they are planning on working on their credit and savings while he is gone.
I’m proud of you Maria. I speak from experience when I say, it’s going to be a tough time but you’ll get through it. Even though every day will seem like 100 hours long, time does not stop and before you know it you’ll welcome your husband home again. And if you need someone to vent to or a shoulder to cry on or to share a cup of coffee with ... I’m just a call away.
I’m excited to help you make your dream come true!
ANDREA BEDARD, M.A.
Andrea is a proud military spouse, mom of 2 beautiful little girls, Maryland licensed Realtor and hobby decorator. She enjoys everything beautiful in life and always answers the phone with a smile.Subscribe in a reader
All photographs are my own and I'd like to keep it that way. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. I always give credit were credit is due, if you feel I've missed something, please do contact me.