Joleen Rose's Blog
If you want to purchase a home, it pays to establish a homebuying budget. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and narrow your search for your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three best practices to help you create a homebuying budget.
1. Look at Your Finances
Your finances will play a major role in your ability to purchase a home. Thus, you should evaluate your current financial situation closely so you can map out an effective homebuying journey.
Request a copy of your credit report – you'll be glad you did. You are eligible for a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) annually. Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can gain deep insights into your outstanding debt.
If you have outstanding debt, try to pay this down as much as possible. That way, you can boost your credit score, which ultimately will help you improve your chances to acquire your ideal residence.
2. Meet with Banks and Credit Unions
When it comes to buying a home, meeting with banks and credit unions usually is a great idea. That way, you can learn about your home loan options and get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Apply for a mortgage from several banks and credit unions. Then, you can receive various mortgage quotes and select one that suits you perfectly.
Also, don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions during a lender consultation. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals – all of whom are happy to help you make an informed mortgage decision. Therefore, if you're unsure about whether to proceed with a 15- or 30-year mortgage or can't decide between an adjustable- or fixed-rate mortgage, you can ask these mortgage professionals for expert advice.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A homebuying budget is tricky to establish on your own, especially if you are entering the real estate market for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you plan ahead for all stages of the homebuying cycle.
During a real estate agent consultation, a housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals. Next, this professional will help you establish realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.
Of course, let's not forget about the world-class support that a real estate agent provides after you kick off a home search, either.
A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about open houses and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on a house.
Ready to begin your search for your dream home? Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can craft a homebuying budget and start your homebuying journey.
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Up to 9.2 million Americans will purchase their first home in 2020. Homeownership is a wonderful and sometimes overwhelming experience. It's exciting to have a place that you can personalize and call your own. However, owning a home can quickly become a burden if you don't plan carefully. Keep in mind these five tips to make your first-time home-buying experience a success.
Essential tips for first-time homebuyers
1. Save until you have a 20 percent down payment.
Paying cash for a home is out of reach of most families. However, there are big advantages if you have at least a 20 percent down payment to offer. This automatically means that you won't have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), something that generally adds a full one percent to the cost of your loan. In addition, a sizable down payment means you'll likely have equity in your home when it comes time to sell.
2. Get pre-approved for a loan.
When shopping for your first home, it's easy to fall in love with a property that may be a little beyond what you can comfortably afford. Getting pre-approved for a loan lets you know what you can safely pay for home payments. Plus, the sellers will know that you're serious about buying and that financing won't be a problem for you.
3. Get your agent's advice on how much to bid.
Real estate markets vary dramatically around the United States. Your local real estate agent is well-suited to help you navigate the market in your particular region. In some high-demand areas, you may need to offer more than the listed price, but in most areas, a seller is likely to accept an offer below the listing price, especially if the property has been on the market for a few months.
4. Be prepared for closing costs.
Closing costs, the money that you'll owe at closing for property taxes, title insurance, the title company's fee and other related costs, can be a surprise to a first-time homebuyer. These costs can vary between 3 and 5 percent of the total purchase price. The average closing costs for a single family home is $3,700 and is due when you sign the purchase papers, usually between 30 and 45 days after your offer is accepted.
5. Make sure you have an emergency fund.
While it may be tempting to sink your all of savings into your new home, what with a deposit, closing costs, insurance and doing any necessary remodeling, it's important to put a few months' mortgage payments in an emergency fund just in case life throws you a curveball. Many things can affect even the most responsible homebuyer's ability to pay their mortgage, things such as illness, job loss or a reduction in work hours. Plus, you'll sleep better at night knowing that you have that financial cushion.
Home improvement is something we all strive for, but many of us never really follow through with completing that goal. With the hectic lives that we live, it’s hard to find time to make those important upgrades to your home. However, home improvement doesn’t always have to be hard and time-consuming.
Add Some Fresh Paint
You won’t believe the kind of impact a fresh paint job can have. In fact, new paint could be just what your home needs to really come to life. And better yet, painting a room is relatively easy and inexpensive. It can have a huge effect on the look and feel of any room in your home, so be sure to be strategic as you’re choosing colors. Adding color to your walls can give your home the “pop” you’ve been looking for. And better yet, depending on how much paint you purchase, this home improvement tactic can cost you less than $200.
Install a Stair Runner
Wooden stairs can add a nice touch to any home, but they can be very slippery and dangerous. If your kids — and even your pets — are constantly slipping on your stairs, then you may be weighing the options when it comes to installing some grip. While you could always add carpet, this can be extremely expensive and the installation process can be time-consuming (then you’ll have to deal with stains and vacuuming). One easy and cost-effective method is to add a stair runner. These come in many different shapes, styles and sizes, and these can really add a nice touch. Instead of spending over $2,000 on carpet for your stairs, you can purchase a stair runner that should cost you under $300.
Upgrade Your Dishwasher
Are you and your family using too much water? Looking for ways to save? While those 20-minute showers could be a factor, the water use issue could be due to your dishwasher—or lack thereof. To the surprise of many, dishwashers can waste hundreds of gallons of water each year. And if you’re washing by hand, that can also waste a great deal of water. By upgrading this appliance to a new Energy Star-rated dishwasher, you save more than $30 per year on energy and nearly 500 gallons of water. If you want to complete this home upgrade, it’s very easy to do yourself. Just head on over to the nearest home improvement store, purchase a dishwasher, then follow a few simple steps to install it in no time.