Tips for First Time Home Buyers
Most people dream of buying their first home. Until recently, many waited until later in life to make this important purchase. Today, younger adults are purchasing homes at an extremely high rate. In fact, Zillow recently reported that more millennials will buy homes in 2020 than Baby Boomers and Generation X combined.
Regardless of age, buying a new home can feel overwhelming. This is especially true in Southern California where median home price sits around $549,000 and new homes sell in as little as three weeks or less. In this competitive real estate market, it’s important that new homebuyers take care not to make an impulsive decision that hurts their long-term financial goals.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Even if your rent is less expensive than what your monthly mortgage payment will be, it’s important to remember that when you buy a home you are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your new home. Before purchasing a home, it’s important to pay off as much debt as possible and build an emergency fund for unexpected maintenance and repairs. Most lenders require two months of payment reserves before they will finance a mortgage.
Determine How Much House You Can Afford
Depending on the type of mortgage you can qualify for, the monthly housing cost (including HOA fees, insurance, and taxes) shouldn’t be any more that 35% of your take home pay. For example, if you make $10,000 per month, your housing costs shouldn’t exceed $3,500 per month.
It’s important to remember that property tax rates and home insurance premiums can vary. A reputable mortgage lender can help you determine how much house you can afford based on local rates and online sources can help you understand payment calculations and interest rates, like bankrate.com.
Down Payment: How Much Will You Need to Save?
Some homebuyers can use their ex-military/Veteran (VA) status to qualify for a zero down mortgage but most homebuyers are not that fortunate. If the home you are considering can qualify for an FHA loan, then you will need to come up with 3% of the price in down payment plus closing costs. All FHA loans require mortgage insurance which is factored into the loan qualifications, but they also allow for higher debt to income ratios to qualify.
If financing conventional, down payments start at 5% down depending on qualifying. Some conventional loans will increase the interest rate to include the Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) which is typically required for conventional loans less than 20% down.
Many millennials are staying home longer to save the additional down payment to own, even others ask your friends and family for help.
Save for Closing Costs
Closing costs are due at the time of sale and typically cost between 1% and 2% of the purchase price of a home. Many times, the Seller will help a home buyer by offering a closing cost credit or the mortgage lender will offer a no fee loan.
Remember that rent will always increase but once you own a home, the payment if fixed and you are increasing your wealth with both tax deductions and equity. It’s alright to put your retirement savings on hold for a short period while you save to purchase a home.
Strategic Sales and Marketing offers a variety of real estate sales and marketing services. Our team has years of experience working with the real estate industry and understands the steps required to identify and connect with potential buyers. Please contact us for more information about our services.