Building your homeownership budget
Making the transition from renter to homeowner is likely one of the biggest decisions you’ll make throughout your lifetime. It can also be a stressful experience if you don’t plan ahead by building a budget and saving prior to embarking upon home ownership.
Budgeting is a core ingredient that helps alleviate the stress associated with money issues that can sometimes arise if you purchase a home without knowing all of the associated costs – including down payment, closing costs, ongoing maintenance, taxes and utilities.
The trouble is, many first-time homeowners fail to carefully think about their finances, plan a budget or set savings aside. And in this society of instant gratification, money problems can quickly escalate.
The key is to create a realistic budget based on your goals. Track your spending and make your dollars go further by sticking to your budget once it’s in place. Budgeting offers a step-by-step formula for figuring out how to best save your hard-earned money to invest in homeownership.
Following are three top tips to help you prepare for the purchase of your first home:
1. Set up a savings account You can deposit a predetermined amount into this account each pay period that you won’t touch unless it’s absolutely necessary. This will enable you to put money aside for a down payment and cover closing costs, as well as address ongoing homeownership expenses such as maintenance, taxes and utilities.
2. Save up for big-ticket items As you accumulate money in your savings account, you will be able to also save for specific purchases to help furnish your home – avoiding the buy now, pay later mentality, which can have a negative impact on your credit when you’re seeking mortgage financing.
3. Surround yourself with a team of professionals When you’re getting ready to make your first home purchase, enlist the service of a Licensed Mortgage Expert such as myself and find a trusted real estate agent. Experts are invaluable as you set out on the road to homeownership because we help first-time buyers through the home purchase and financing processes every day. Experts can answer all of your questions and set your mind at ease. We have access to multiple lenders, and can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know exactly what you can afford to spend on a home before you head out house hunting, while a real estate agent will be able to match your needs with a house you can afford. Both parties will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you get the best bang for your buck. And, best of all, these services are typically free. Experts will also be able to refer you to other reputable professionals you may need for your home purchase, including a real estate lawyer, home appraiser and a home inspector.