It’s common for people who are dreaming of owning their own home to feel like they couldn’t possibly make it a reality.
Maybe you feel like you can’t qualify for a mortgage, or you’re concerned about having enough of a down payment. Perhaps the market seems too competitive and you won’t stand a chance at getting the house you want. Or, maybe you feel like you can’t even find a house you want in your price range. So, why even try…
Well, the good news is, whatever’s holding you back might not be as much of an issue as you think it is.
So before you give up on buying a home, do these five things first:
1. Look up buying assistance programs
Believe it or not, there are literally thousands of homeownership assistance programs out there — some at the federal level, others at the state level, and some that come from non-profit enterprises. A great place to start is the federal government’s site, but even a simple google search of your state can return some results. So don’t count yourself out just yet, there are programs that might be able to help.
2. Expand your radius
Of course, the most sought-after neighborhoods are likely to be priced in line with the demand. That said, if your goal is to own a home, and you’re not focused on a narrow location, there are likely to be plenty of opportunities, especially if you’re willing to be flexible. Expand your search area to include other towns, and if you’re really open-minded, other states. This will, of course, depend on your job and your family commitments, but don’t pigeonhole yourself into one area, as you’ll limit your opportunities.
3. Review all available down payment options
Down payments often come from personal savings, but that’s not the only place they can come from. The government and lenders want people to own homes, so there’s usually some flexibility on where you can get money to put down on a home. Of course, you should ask your mortgage lender about the acceptable sources, but gift funds, money drawn from your retirement accounts, and even the cash value of an insurance policy are all possible sources that can be utilized to get into your dream home.
4. Review your credit report
If your credit score is preventing you from buying a home, don’t give up hope just yet. You should carefully review the report, look for any potential discrepancies, and dispute anything that you believe might have been reported incorrectly. This process won’t happen overnight, and will take some commitment and legwork on your part, but the time investment is likely to pay dividends if it means that you can get your report corrected and put yourself on the path to homeownership.
5. Get in touch with an agent
Oftentimes, searching for houses online isn’t enough to get a full understanding of what’s possible. Before you assume that there’s nothing out there for you, get in touch with a real estate agent and talk about the possibilities. In many cases, an agent will know exactly what might be a good fit for you. And if not, an agent can at least point you in the right direction, and work with you to get yourself ready to buy. In any case, don’t hesitate to reach out to one, you might just find out you’re in a better position than you expected.