One of the major milestones and most exciting times of your life is when you make the decision to buy your first home. However we often get caught up in the status quo, whether it is because your friends are all buying homes, or you have reached the magic age where it is determined you should have one.
While you may be eager to find that perfect house and move in, there are a three major things you should consider before buying a home.
Are you actually ready for home-ownership?
Although it may sound crazy, the first question you should be asking yourself is if buying a home makes sense for you. Since you were little, you probably dreamed of growing up and owning your own house in an area that you like. After some consideration, you may come to the conclusion that you are better holding off. For example, if you travel often for work, you will not be able to enjoy the home that you are making your mortgage payments on. Worse yet , you may find yourself in a situation where you need to relocate soon after you purchase your home, and forcing yourself to have to go through the house selling ordeal.
Can you actually afford it?
We live in a time when many people try to live above their means. People are constantly buying the newest cars, electronics, and whatever other toys their hearts desire. They are also putting themselves into tons of debt every time they buy something new. It’s important to take a good look at your finances and make sure that you are in this for the long term. Consider how steady your pay is, debts you already have (student loans, credit card bills, etc) and an emergency fund for any unseen circumstances. Often times it’s a hard realization that you might have to settle for something a little different than your dream home.
Are you responsible?
You may have reached a point in your life where you are finally financially responsible. You pay everything on time, never call out of work, and generally don’t live beyond your means. Great, you can probably afford your mortgage and not miss any payments. Have you considered what to do with your home when you go on vacation? In the summer, you may need to hire someone to come and take care of your lawn for the week, and in the winter you may need someone to make sure your heat is on so your pipes don’t freeze. You are now responsible for the maintenance of your house, and it is important to stay on top of it or you may have a few large bills later down the road.
If you still think that you are ready to buy a home, then the first step is to begin talking to different lenders and see what is offered. You should be looking to get the lowest mortgage rate you possibly can. A loan officer can also point you towards a program that will fit your needs. After talking with the loan officer and deciding on your program, you rate will be locked. Your home will go through a final appraisal, underwriting will approve the conditions, and you will get a final approval. Once you are approved, you can get ready to move in, and enjoy your new home!