This sold sign can be a message for you! This is a new day in January - one to join other firsts in this tumultous year. Many of us felt like we were turning a life page on January 1st - the chance to start anew. January 20th brought another of those days, particularly in DC which is filled with news junkies. A change in administration always brings a new start in Washington - new people, new policies, new hopes and dreams for individuals and the country.
This has always been a country that embraces dreams - the American dream - defined by each person for his or her own life. One famous example of a dream is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech. Today, reflecting on his message encourages many of us to think about our own dreams, goals, beliefs, and aspirations for our country and for ourselves. For many Americans, one of those common goals is owning a home: a piece of land, a roof over our heads, and a place where we can grow and flourish.
If you're dreaming of buying a home this year, start by connecting with a local real estate professional to understand the homebuying process. With a trusted advisor at your side, you can then begin to answer the questions below to set yourself up for homebuying success.
1. How Can I Better Understand the Process, and How Much Can I Afford?
The process of buying a home stressful but joyful. You should think about what your needs and wants are. You should decide on key things like how much space you need, how long you plan on living in an area, school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can afford to spend.
Before you fall in love with a particular property and start the real nitty-gritty process of buying a home, you should also talk to a lender. You need to make sure that you are looking at homes in the right price range and that when you find that dream property you will be able to get the right mortgage.
Lenders will guide you to the right lending programs for you and will evaluate several factors connected to your financial track record, one of which is your credit history. They'll want to see how well you've been able to minimize past debts, so make sure you've been paying your student loans, credit cards, and car loans on time. One way to find a reputable lender is to talk to your friends and families about their home buying experience and the lender that they used. Your realtor also is likely to have a trusted loan officer or two or three and will provide a referral for you.
2. How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?
In addition to knowing how much you can afford on a monthly mortgage payment, understanding how much you'll need for a down payment is another critical step.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that you need 20% to buy a home. There are lots of programs that require less than 20% down and there are many different loan programs tailored to specific needs, like renovation loans or state programs for first time home buyers.
If you're concerned about saving for a down payment, start small and be consistent. A little bit each month goes a long way. Jumpstart your savings by automatically adding a portion of your monthly paycheck into a separate savings account or house fund. Before you know it, you'll have enough for a down payment if you're disciplined and thoughtful about your process.
3. Saving Takes Time: Practice Living on a Budget
As tempting as it is to pass the extra time you may be spending at home these days with a little retail therapy, putting that extra money toward your down payment will help accelerate your path to homeownership. It's the little things that count, so start trying to live on a slightly tighter budget if you aren't doing so already. A budget will allow you to save more for your down payment and help you pay down other debts to improve your credit score. Lots of people have used the last ten months of not being able to go out as frequently as a great way to save some money - perfect for getting rid of credit card debt and putting money awa y for a down payment!
The combination of low rates and the opportunity to save is enabling many millennials to move up their home buying timeline.”
You don't have to go on a starvation financial diet and cut out all the joy and fun in your current lifestyle, but by making smarter choices and limiting your spending in a few areas, you will be ready for home ownership much sooner.
Interest rates are at historic lows but they won't stay low forever. Get your credit in shape and take advantage of these interest rates before they disappear.
If homeownership is on your dream list this year, take a good look at what you can prioritize to help you get there. To determine the steps you should take to start the process, let's connect today at 240-401-5577. That dream of home ownership belongs to you too!