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Seven questions to ask yourself before buying a home

By Ryan Tufts on June 17, 2014 in Financial Tips, Ryan Tufts

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Why do you want to purchase a home?

People buy homes for many reasons: freedom, space, and stability to name a few.  Buying a home takes a considerable amount of your time, energy, and money; you may even feel like you have a new part time job.   There are many ups and downs, but if you are determined, committed, and realistic you will be able to reach your goal.

 

How much can I afford?

Where you live and the kind of house you purchase depends on what you can truly afford to spend on your monthly mortgage payment. Consider what you are paying for rent now.  Is it manageable?  If you are planning on paying $1,200 a month on your mortgage and your rent is $900, try to make “practice payments” by saving the extra $300 each month.  If this proves difficult, you may need to scale down to a more affordable amount.  Avoid becoming “house poor:” unable to afford anything in life but your mortgage and monthly bills.  There are many mortgage calculators to help determine the monthly cost of home ownership, and determine what price range of homes you find affordable.

Is your financial house in order?

Can you afford to pay all of your monthly bills?   Do have a savings account… with money actually in it?  Have you established a good credit history?  In order to obtain a mortgage preapproval lenders evaluate these three criteria to ensure you have the means not only to purchase the home, but stay in it.  Unsure of where to start?  Attend the next HOMEteam Financial Capabilities seminar to start getting your financial house in order.

Where do I want to live?  What type of house do I need?

There is a great deal of research required before buying a home.  Even if you have a sound budget, make more than you spend and have established a savings, you still need to be aware of how much the right home will cost.  Part of that is deciding what is important to you in buying a home. Do I need a garage? Is the school district important? How many bedrooms do I need for my family? In order to properly answer these questions make a list of wants and needs, find a real estate agent you trust, and start browsing properties online.

Have you considered the hidden costs?

Your mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes are all expenses you can plan for, but they are not the only costs associated with owning your own home.  The increased cost of utilities in a larger space and the cost maintaining a house can come as a shock to first-time home buyers.  As the owner, you can’t call your landlord when your toilet stops working.  You either have to do it yourself or hire a plumber.  Make sure factor in increased utility costs and include savings in your home owner budget to ensure a smooth transition.

Is now the right time for me to buy a home?

Have you ever heard anybody say “you have to buy now, the market is great” or “it’s a great investment, you have to buy!”  Regardless of what friends, family, and TV talking heads tell you, the best time to buy a home is when you are ready.  It is likely the largest purchase you will ever make, and you want to do it right!

Have you attended a Home Buyer Seminar and met with a Home Ownership Coach?

HOMEteam offers a no cost, comprehensive Home Buyer Seminar available in Nashua, Manchester, or Concord.  In this day-long seminar you’ll learn the steps involved in preparing to purchase a home and meet the professionals who will help you along the way.  After completing the course, return to HOMEteam for personalized Home Ownership Coaching where you will receive a free copy of your credit report with a score, and develop a customized plan leading you to homeownership.   We will work with you through preparing a household spending plan, credit repair or credit building, comparing loan options, and answering all of your questions up through your closing.  If you’d like we can even attend your closing with you!

Ryan Tufts is a HomeOwnership Counselor at HOMEteam. Whether his clients are three months or three years from purchasing their home, Ryan assists clients in developing customized plans leading to home ownership. Ryan also conducts HOMEteam’s Home Buyer Seminars and Financial Capabilities Workshops, guiding clients towards mortgage affordability. He also conducts the Financial Capabilities Seminars and consults Individual Development Account (IDA) clients.