There's nothing quite like turning the key and opening the door to a new home. But, as anyone who's already bought will tell you, it can be quite the journey to get to that doorstep.
Buying a home can come with its own stresses, even if you're not buying for the first time. But if you start by planning ahead, you'll be in good shape for a stress-free mortgage application and closing process.
It can take a while to raise your credit score, so it's best to start working on that right away, even if you won't buy your house for a few years. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rates will be. Over a 30-year mortgage, that can mean thousands of dollars in savings. Do your best to pay off as much debt as you possibly can, as that's one of the fastest ways to increase your score.
In many areas, home ownership is more costly each month than renting. To get used to the switch, make a budget that mirrors what you would likely pay if you owned. Pay attention to your estimated mortgage, homeowners insurance, taxes and utilities. And don't forget to put something away each month for home maintenance. Take the excess and put it straight into your savings account for a down payment.
Know what you're getting into before you start looking. Research the different home loans we offer and decide which one is best for you. You can apply online or in person at one of our banking centers. Once you know how much of a loan you qualify for, you can choose a house that fits into your budget more easily.
Don't be afraid to look at a wide variety of houses to get a sense of the market. Knowing what other houses are going for will help you negotiate when you find the one you want. You may also want to use a buyer's agent, a real estate agent who will represent your best interests in the process. A buyer's agent can help you find houses and walk you through the buying process.
When you've found your dream home, it can be be tempting to rush into the purchase. Take the time to negotiate with the seller, though. You can save yourself thousands of dollars in the price of the house, closing costs or even home repairs if you do. Relax and don't take the negotiations personally. It's just part of the process.
You probably want as nice of a home as possible, but you also want to be able to afford it. What you can afford depends on the size of your mortgage, mortgage rates, costs of home ownership, your other expenses and your income. One rule of thumb to consider is that the total of your mortgage payment, property taxes and insurance should be no more than 28% of your household income.
The first step in investing is defining your dreams for the future. Imagine what you want your life to look like in 5, 10, and 15 years. You'll end up with a list of goals. You can then decide how much money you'll need to accumulate and which investments can best help you meet your goals.
A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration and made by an approved lender in accordance with the FHA's regulations.
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