It’s the start of a new year which means it’s New Year’s Resolution time. If you have vowed to buy a home this year, then it’s time to get moving! Even if you’re months away from hiring a Real Estate Agent and touring homes, there are things you need to do now to make that dream happen. After all, this is one of the biggest purchases of your life and it requires preparation. Getting the building blocks in place will ensure a seamless transition from renting to buying, upgrading or downsizing. In other words, keep the stress low.
1. Automate your down payment savings. Saving for a down payment is often one of the biggest barriers to home-ownership. One way to jump start your savings is to automate your checking account to automatically save a small amount of your paycheck into a separate savings account or ‘house fund’. Plus, with down payment requirements as little as 3%, it won’t take long to save what you need to buy that home.
“Amassing enough for a down payment takes discipline and perseverance, but setting up automatic savings can make it easier. If you never see the cash, you won’t spend it.” -Marcia Goodman, Realtor with Re/Max Gateway
2. Build your credit history and keep it clean. When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will want to see that you have been able to pay off past debts. This does not mean having no debt. Having no credit cards or bank loans means you wont have a credit history. The only way banks know if you will pay back your mortgage is if you have a history of taking debt and paying it down. This means staying on top of your student loans, credit cards and car loans and paying them on time. Credit bureaus recommend using no more than 30% of the credit available to you to maximize your credit scores. Warren Buffet is famous for saying, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” If you make purchases on credit, make sure you pay it off every month otherwise you might end up paying a lot more for something than it is worth.
3. Practice living on a budget. Downsizing your spending now will allow you to save more for your down payment and pay down other debts to improve your credit score. A survey by the advisory firm The Collingwood Group, showed that consumers saving for a home are willing to forego modern conveniences in order to secure a down payment. Cutting out costs in your budget that you know you wouldn’t miss and renegotiating terms on things you can’t live without are a great way to start.
4. Talk to a Mortgage Adviser. Did you know that getting advise from a Mortgage Adviser is free? Yup! It’s one of the few professional services that doesn’t cost you any money. When thinking about buying a home a Mortgage Adviser should be step #1. A great Mortgage Adviser can give you a baseline of where you are now and where you need to be for the best home financing options. Face it, on steps 1-3 above, you are basically guessing on what you need to do. A Mortgage Adviser can give you exact numbers on what you should be striving for. We put structure in your plan to help you achieve your home ownership goal!
According to the data pulled from Google by iQuanti, more Americans in 2017 made resolutions to be more healthy than any other resolution. Consider including or adding financial health to your list of 2018 resolutions. Trust me, taking the time will reduce stress and keep you more happy throughout the home buying process.
About the Author:
Sarah Lindsey is a home loan adviser with over 12 years of industry experience. Her core values are based on one simple approach – provide clients with trusted expertise, personalized information, specific to their needs. Sarah currently serves as a Vice President with Synergy One Lending, is a regular guest on the television show, The American Dream with Craig Sewing, is a resource partner for the San Diego Chapter of the Financial Planner’s Association, is a board member for Junior Achievement (a non-profit focused on bringing financial education to all school age children) and can be heard on the radio station AM 1170 advocating consumer awareness on financing.