Are You Ready to Buy a Home?
A growing family, freedom from renting, space to entertain or run a home business – there are plenty of compelling reasons to leap into homeownership. Still, you need more than good intentions to manage a mortgage. See how you measure up in the following categories.
Qualities of a Prepared Homebuyer
Past employment: Two years or more on the job. This shows the stability of your employment and income.
Future plans: Live in the area five years or more. If there's a chance you'll need to relocate for work or other reasons, renting may be a better option than buying.
Existing savings: A respectable down payment. First-time homebuyers may qualify for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans with a lower down payment. A 10% down payment is even better (and may be required for a conventional mortgage).
Emergency savings: Enough to last three to six months. Maintain a reserve of money to pay the mortgage and other expenses in case of a job loss or other emergency.
Home budget: Property taxes, insurance and repairs. The costs of owning a home far exceed the mortgage amount. Estimate all of these costs and build them into your budget.
Sweat equity: Time and money for home upkeep. Depending on the home, you could spend a small fortune (and/or many hours) on repairs, refinishing and redecorating. And there also may be ongoing maintenance such as mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, etc.
The answer is D. These are all good signs, but no single achievement is a green light for homeownership.
So, are You Ready or Not?
Which of the following milestones show that you’re ready to own a home?
A. You have a steady job.
B. Your high-interest credit card debt is paid off.
C. You saved $10,000 for a down payment.
D. All of the above – and more.
It's important to feel good about your decision to buy. At SCCU, we can help determine if you're qualified to buy and how much you can afford.