If you’re thinking about taking the leap – or rather, settling down in a home you can call your own – check out this cheat sheet.
1. Start Saving ASAP
When’s the best time to start saving for a home? Right now. Get your financial plan on track today by mapping your income and expenses for one month. Once you have a clear idea of what you’re earning and what you’re spending, you can trim unnecessary expenditures (we’re looking at you, pumpkin lattes) and start building your down payment.
2. Plan Your Down Payment
The average down payment is 10 to 20 percent of a home’s final price – but don’t let that figure scare you. First-time home buyers can often take advantage of loans designed especially for them, such as Fannie Mae's Home Ready Program with as little as 3% down.
3. Know The Score
A good credit score is one way of assuring lenders that if you get a loan, you’ll pay it back. Get a copy of your credit report and score before you begin applying for loans. That way, you’ll know what interest rates to expect or if you’re likely to be turned down – if your score is too low. If you don’t like what you see, improve your credit score by working with a financial planner to pay off debt. At HUECU all qualified borrowers will obtain the most competitive rate but you should aim for a credit score of 720+.
4. Get Pre-Approved
In a competitive house-hunting market, home buyers can show that they are serious by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval lets a seller know that your credit is in good shape and that if you bid on a house and win, you’re ready to start paying for it. Reach out to one of our originators to better understand how the pre-qualification process works.
5. Find Your Place
Before you consider what you want in a home, determine where you want to live. Walls can be repainted and knocked down, but the land you own is there to stay. Make a list of your needs now and in the future –schools, transportation, supermarkets and so on. Be sure to research upcoming city works projects and see how they might impact neighborhoods that interest you.
6. Don’t Do It All Alone
Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll ever make so if you need help, just ask. HUECU offers free home buying workshops to help you through the steps to home ownership.