If the lure of owning a home is one that you can no longer ignore and you often find yourself poring over all the homes for sale in your local newspaper, it may be time to seriously consider becoming a first-time homeowner. But even though the urge is strong, you may still be wondering if you are really ready to take on the responsibilities that come with home ownership. Maybe you are concerned that you have missed an important step that could lead to failure. If thoughts like these are troubling you, the following checklist will help you make sure you are thoroughly prepared and ready for a very positive experience as a first-time homeowner.
- How's your credit score? The better your credit score, the easier it will be to qualify for the mortgage and get the best possible mortgage interest rate and terms. Better credit scores can also help you get lower home and car insurance premiums, saving you even more money. Learn more at how your credit score is generated and how you can improve it here.
- Do you have enough income? Owning a home requires sufficient income to cover not only the mortgage, but all the other expenses that are included in home ownership, such as property taxes, insurance, and repairs. In most cases, experts agree that the total of your debt payments (including mortgage, credit cards, car loans, etc.) should not be more than about 36% of your monthly income, before payroll taxes.
- Have you saved enough money for the down payment and closing costs? Having enough savings to put a full 20% down on your first home will help make the experience more affordable because it will prevent you from having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) costs. By taking the time to save up a down payment that will eliminate the need for PMI, you will be substantially lowering the monthly costs associated with owning a home. Additionally, make sure that you have sufficient cash to cover your expected closing costs (typically between 2 and 7% of the purchase price of the home) to avoid unwelcome last minute surprises.
- Are you working with an experienced real estate professional? Any home buying process can benefit from the knowledge and experience provided by a professional real estate agent, but a first-time purchase is even more likely to need this type of skilled assistance. Before beginning to look at homes for sale in your area, take time to interview several real estate professionals to find the one that you feel most comfortable working with. As a buyer, their fee will typically be paid by the seller at the close of the transaction, so it makes sound financial sense to utilize these professional real estate services.
To learn more about the home-buying process, contact a company like South Florida Property Team.