Ask almost any American if he or she wants to own their own home and the answer will be "Yes!" The motivation to buy a house and put down roots in a community is a universal one. Especially in America, owning one's own home is seen as achieving the "American Dream".
While the desire is there, the dual challenges of low housing inventory and higher interest rates are stressing out today's home buyers. Interest rates are averaging ~7.09% now, which is more than double the rates during the early years of the pandemic, which often ranged from 2.5% to 3.5%.
Keep in mind this advice: "Marry the House" but only "Date the Rate." One commits to living in a particular house, yet when interest rates begin dropping and changing in borrowers' favor, homeowners can then refinance with a new mortgage at a lower interest rate and begin saving money on interest.
Here is Part 3 of a 3 part series on "More Affordable Monthly Payments."
Step 1 was Secure and Maintain a High Credit Score. Step 2 was Opt for a Higher Down Payment-Even If Part of It Is Gift Funds.
Explore Buying a Smaller, More Efficient Home.
Once a borrower consulted with a real estate expert and has identified the true "must-haves" of the house, it's time to get real-especially about one's budget. Ask oneself the following:
Do I truly need a home this big in size, square footage or number of bedrooms...or would a smaller one work just as well?
Do I need a home this expensive or am I trying to impress someone?
Do I need a property this large or is a smaller one a better fit?
For example, buying a 1200-sf 3-Bedroom, 2-Bath single family home may be $300,000 less than a 1500-sf one in Silicon Valley. If one can feel comfortable with a smaller, more efficient home, one can reduce the amount of mortgage financing required, as well as lower monthly payments and even utility costs.
Some folks find that certain townhomes can provide a similar feel and size as a single-family home but at a lower price. There are still HOA costs to account for with a townhouse option though.
One other option, which isn't necessarily recommended, is picking a longer term mortgage. Most folks choose either a 15 or 30 year mortgage, although sometimes a 35 year may be an option.
Once a home is purchased, commit to paying additional principal monthly or annually to help shorten the term, resulting in a faster loan payoff. For example, paying one full extra payment amount (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) at the beginning of every year can result in paying off a 30 year mortgage in just 23 years.
This blog post is for the September AR Challenge.
Thanks for reading "More Affordable Monthly Payments Part 3 of 3".