5 Financial Steps to Buying a House
Buying a home is an exciting experience and a big investment in you or your family’s future. Like any financial commitment, it’s important to educate yourself on the options and make sure your bases are covered. Follow these 5 steps to help get your finances in line… and you and your family on the road to a new home.†
Step 1: Assess your financial situation
Before you start shopping for a new home, you want to be sure that your earnings are steady and can handle the financial obligation of a mortgage. That means taking stock of your budget and expenses, and making sure you’re on track with retirement goals. And it’s a good idea to make sure you have an emergency fund to help cover unexpected expenses.
Step 2: Check your credit score
Having a good credit score can help considerably when negotiating a better rate on your home loan. For a clear idea of your credit health, obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. If there are any inaccuracies, contact the reporting company to make a correction, as it could help improve your overall score.
Step 3: Figure out your price range
Look into the potential cost of a new home and how much you can afford. This means doing a little research and taking all potential home-related expenses into account including your mortgage payment, homeowner’s insurance, property tax, utilities, HOA fees, maintenance costs and so on. The mortgage calculator on Pulte Mortgage’s website is a good starting point for more information.
Step 4: Save up for a down payment
Conventional loans have minimum down payments ranging from 5% to 20%; FHA loans require 3.5% if you qualify. If you’re eligible for veteran financing through the VA, you may not need a down payment. Once you have your down payment goal, designate a monthly amount to put toward it in a separate savings account. Remember, the more you can put down when you buy, the lower your monthly payments will be and the less interest you’ll pay overall.
Step 5: Get prequalified
With basic information on your income, savings and credit, your lender can give you an estimate on how much you qualify to borrow.