ARE YOU FINANCIALLY SECURE?
A house isn’t something you should consider buying unless you have a stable income source that can be verified by the lender for a minimum of two years. Lenders also like to know the income will continue for at least three years into the future. In many cases, lenders also consider whether you are employed in a job with consistent income that does not change much month-to-month. You need to be able to manage your expenses responsibly and make sure you’ve learned to manage any ongoing ‘money problems’ which prevent you from paying your bills on time.
IS YOUR CREDIT IN GOOD SHAPE?
Your credit report says a lot about you. Lenders use it to evaluate your risk potential and to inform themselves on how responsible of a borrower you are. Make sure you’re
paying all bills on time, don’t open new credit cards if you don’t need them, paying credit card bills in full each month, and keeping credit utilization low. Lenders want at least two trade lines open for at least two years with no late payment of twelve months.
Make sure to check your credit report early on to determine if there are areas you need to improve, or if you need to dispute incorrect information on your credit report if there is any.
CAN YOU SAVE MONEY FOR A DOWN PAYMENT AND CLOSING COSTS?
Becoming a homeowner takes money and you need to start saving to cover the costs. When you purchase a home you’ll need to funds for the down payment (a percentage of the purchase price) and closing costs (the bank fees to complete the transaction. The amount you need to save will depend on the price of the home, required down payment, and fees charged by the lender.
ARE YOU READY TO SETTLE DOWN IN ONE PLACE?
Homeownership is a long-term commitment and requires long-term thinking. It’s not for everyone. If you’re someone who likes to travel all the time, if you’re thinking of going back to school, or if you are considering a job transfer, then buying a home might need to wait. If you’re not ready to settle down for at least five years, renting might be the best option right now. You don’t want to put all of your money into building a house, only to lose equity in a couple of years when you want to move or relocate.
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HOME MAINTENANCE?
You don’t have to be Mr. or Ms. Handyman, but it’s important to be able to take on the responsibility of fixing things yourself. You are the one responsible for replacing appliances and fixing any repairs the house might need. You won’t be able to call up the landlord to take care of things. You either have to fix them yourself or pay for them to be replaced or repaired.
CAN YOU AFFORD TO PAY A MORTGAGE?
If you stop paying your rent, the landlord will eventually evict you. Similarly, a bank will foreclose on your home if you stop paying your mortgage. Unfortunately, a foreclosure can be a devastating hit on your credit report. A mortgage payment is a long-term commitment. Make sure you’re ready to prioritize the mortgage payment before all other expenses.
For assistance contact Pam Ranslam