They say that buying a home is the biggest financial decision you’ll ever make in your life.
“They” is just about everyone you’ll meet and “they” are all pretty spot on with that assumption.
When you’re young and just starting out, you typically don’t have much money to be making huge life decisions with and you certainly don’t have the home buying experience to boot.
That makes for a pretty intimidating experience for first-time home buyers.
Luckily, there are a few tips for young first-time home buyers to help you save money and find the right home.
1. Check Your Credit
Have you checked your credit score recently? Have you checked it ever? Your first step in the home buying process is to take a look at your credit score and see if it needs work. This should be done long before you make an offer on a home, particularly because fixing a bad credit score takes some time. You might still be able to get approved for a mortgage with bad credit with options such as FHA loans but if you go the conventional route, either you’ll get denied or your interest rates will go through the roof. Consider this, the average price of a new home in the U.S. in 2016 was $372,500. With a lofty interest rate, you could end up paying closer to $400,000 by the time you pay off the loan. You can fix your credit score by paying off debts, consolidating credit lines, disputing discrepancies on your credit report, and making good purchasing decisions from this point on.
2. Start Saving Money Now
Unfortunately, when you take out a mortgage loan they typically don’t cover the cost of the entire house. Meaning, you’ll have to pay a down deposit on a home. Usually, a deposit has to be a minimum of 10% of the entire loan amount so for a $300,000 home, your down deposit would be $30,000. That’s a lot of money that most people don’t have lying around nor did they account for. It’s important to start saving for your down deposit early in advance to give you some room to add a bit more as well. A bigger down deposit means less you’ll have to pay in the long run. You’re also going to have to worry about closing costs, real estate agent fees, and taxes as well. While the taxes on a new home are significantly less in the first one to two years in juxtaposition to a comparable resale home, it’s important to map out all of your expenses before you start putting money down.
3. Figure Out Your Type of Home
For many first-time home buyers, the phrase “champagne tastes on a beer budget” is an exceptionally accurate description. Most want their first home to be their dream home, despite having the lack of funds. It’s essential to figure out what you want out of your first home and to be realistic about them. For instance, three out of every four homes in America have some type of lawn or landscaping. Do you want to be responsible for maintaining your property or would you rather have a condo-style home that is relatively maintenance free? How many bedrooms do you need to have? One floor or two? Questions like these can help you narrow down your search and find a home that’s within your budget and hits all of your necessary points.
4. Buy at the Right Time
It can be frustrating, especially when you’re ready to make an offer, but the value of a home is contingent on the housing market. All of the real estate transactions in the U.S. amounted to $467 billion in 2017, which is a lot of money exchanging hands. That also means that if the market goes up, the home that you thought was in your budget just went up another $20,000. However, you can also play this to your advantage by waiting until the housing market dips and buy a great home for cheap. That means you’ll have to keep an eye on the housing market or find someone to help you.
There are plenty of other tips to help you find and finance your first home but it all comes down to being able to stretch your money as far as possible. Don’t feel as though you have to pay what they’re asking or that the area in which you’re looking is the only place in the world with homes for sale. By keeping your options open, you’re more prone to finding a great home that’s within (or under) your budget.