If you are interested in buying a house and you are a first time home buyer this is for you!!! I just recently purchased a home last August. There are things I wish I knew before I pursued to purchase my first home. But hey we live and learn right? Without any trials and tribulations, I wouldn’t be able to share my story and my lessons learned with you.
#1 – Ask yourself WHY are you trying to purchase a HOME.
Do you ever talk to yourself? If not, then START! You need to ask yourself WHY do you want to buy a home. Don’t wait until closing or after you closed to figure out why you brought a house. Understand now! Are you buying a home because you are trying to keep up with the Jones on social media? Or are you actually passionate about buying a home AND aware of the responsibilities of homeownership. Anyone can WANT to purchase a house, however, not everyone is responsible enough to OWN and maintain a home.
#2 – Know your finances!
I cannot express this enough, KNOW YOUR FINANCES! Buying a home is a major life decision (some will argue it is an investment… see later post). Before seeking pre-qualification from a lender or bank you want to know how much you can afford. I recommend coming up with a budget and abide by that budget for AT LEAST SIX MONTHS. Anyone can make a budget but if you can not live by that budget consistently then how can you determine what you can afford. It is very important to make a thorough and realistic budget when buying a house because owning a home can be very costly. At least with an apartment or most rental property you kind of have all of your major costs scheduled. First month rent, moving expenses, and deposit are all usually applied around the time you move in or out and then your rent is usually on the first of the month. While renting you can spend over budget here and there any it may not impact your expenses as much. But with owning a home you must learn to live within in your means at all times. There could be times where your A/C goes out? Who is going to pay for that? Your Realtor? NO! Your lender? No! Sorry to say but it will be YOU (unless you have home warranty – best thing for first time home buyers). Also, you need to be able to determine how much of a monthly payment (includes mortgage, taxes, and home insurance) that you can afford. Don’t wait on the lender to tell you how much you can afford (in other terms how much they are willing to give you). The bank might say you qualify for 250k but YOU know you can only afford 200K. So BUDGET accordingly and determine the total monthly mortgage that YOU can afford.
#3 – CHECK your Credit Report and Score
This is 2017 and there are SOOOO many affordable options to retrieve and monitor your credit report. Do not apply for a home mortgage pre-qualification if you have not reviewed your credit report. If you are thinking DUH then you would be amazed to know there are many people that are very responsible and they THINK they know what’s on their credit report and then they are shocked when the bank or lender tells them they need to resolve XYZ before they get approved. I know when I graduated college I checked my credit report and I had thousands of dollars worth of medical bills in collections. Now I pay all of my bills on time and I don’t like for my credit cards to hold a balance. But when I was away at college I was still on my parents health insurance but the doctors were mailing my bills IN MY NAME to my parents house after I turned 18. Of course I never had mail when I went home therefore all of my mail just sat in my parents house and collected dust while my medicals piled up. I knew nothing about medical bills in college I just knew I had insurance and I had to pay a copay; didn’t know I had to pay the remaining balance after the insurance paid their portion OOPS! So of course after graduation I focused on getting my medicals paid off and removed from my credit report. If you don’t know how to check your credit report I can make another post with instructions but each bureau (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) provides a free credit report every 12 months.