Lisa M. Corr's Blog
You want to buy a house, but you know that you need to save as much money as possible for a down payment. Although you've tried to save money in the past, your best efforts have failed to help you collect the funds that you'll need to make a down payment on your dream residence.
Let's face it – saving for a home can be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to offer creative ways to help you get the money that you'll need to make your homeownership dream come true.
Now, let's take a look at three creative ways to save for a down payment on a house.
1. Start a Friendly Competition
Competition often brings out the best in homebuyers. Much in the same vein, you and your friends may be able to compete against one another to see who can save the most money for a down payment on a home.
If you and your friends intend to buy a home together or separately, a friendly competition can make a world of difference in getting the required funds for a down payment. In fact, you can even award the winner of this competition with an "Ultimate Saver" trophy or other fun prizes.
Ultimately, a friendly competition is a great way to have fun with friends and save money for a down payment on a house at the same time. Regardless of who wins the competition, you'll notice that your down payment savings will increase, moving you one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Use a Rewards System
Saving for a down payment on a home may seem like a long, arduous process. However, if you build rewards into your day-to-day savings efforts, you can earn incentives as you reach various milestones.
For instance, you may want to reward yourself with a special dinner every time that you reach a savings milestone. Or, you can always celebrate hitting a savings milestone with a trip to the dog park with your puppy.
3. Trim the Fat from Your Budget
It sometimes can be tough to remove cable TV, takeout meals and other excess items from your budget. But if you consider the long-term benefits of these short-term sacrifices, you may be better equipped than ever before to save significant funds for a down payment on a home.
Look closely at your daily, weekly and monthly budgets. Then, you can determine which budget items are essential and which are not and trim the fat from your budget accordingly. This will allow you to speed up the process of saving for a down payment on a house and ensure that you can achieve your homeownership dream faster than ever before.
Lastly, as you prepare to explore available homes, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent for extra help. By hiring a real estate agent, you can get the assistance that you need to discover a great house that falls within your price range.
Obtaining a mortgage can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of analyzing various mortgage options and choosing one that matches or exceeds your expectations.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers secure the ideal mortgage.
1. Assess All of the Mortgage Options at Your Disposal
Both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are available, and homebuyers who understand the pros and cons of these mortgage options may be better equipped than others to make the right mortgage decision.
A fixed-rate mortgage ensures a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage enables a homebuyer to budget for monthly home payments over the course of three decades. And in many instances, a homebuyer may be able to pay off a fixed-rate mortgage early without penalty.
On the other hand, an adjustable-rate mortgage may start out with a lower monthly payment that escalates over the course of a few years. An adjustable-rate mortgage, for instance, may allow a homebuyer to acquire a home that surpasses his or her initial budget thanks to a lower initial monthly payment. However, after the first few years, the monthly mortgage payment may increase, and a homebuyer will need to plan accordingly.
Assess your mortgage options closely – you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you can boost your chances of selecting a mortgage that works well based on your current and future financial needs.
2. Evaluate Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may impact his or her ability to get the right mortgage. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can analyze his or her credit score without delay.
You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, with your credit report in hand, you can better understand how potential lenders may view your mortgage application.
Of course, if you receive a copy of your credit report and find glaring errors, be sure to let the credit bureau know immediately. This will enable you to get any mistakes corrected and ensure these problems won't slow you down as you pursue your dream residence.
3. Consult with Potential Lenders
Although getting a mortgage may seem like an uphill climb at first, consulting with potential lenders may prove to be exceedingly valuable, especially for a first-time homebuyer.
Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to educate you about assorted mortgage options. These lenders can teach you about the ins and outs of various mortgage options at your convenience.
Lastly, if you need extra help in your search for the perfect mortgage, real estate agents may be able to offer assistance. These housing market professionals can provide honest, unbiased recommendations about lenders in your area so you can move one step closer to securing your ideal mortgage.
Ready to get a mortgage for the first time? Use these tips, and you can accelerate the process of obtaining a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
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.
There are important points that first time homeowners should consider. These points can help homeowners avoid future head and wallet aches. Other advantages embedded in these important points include better understanding of homeowners association rules, house inspection preparation and mortgage repayment expectations.
Don't let homeowner excitement force you into a bad house buying deal
You'd be hard pressed to find an experience that is more exciting or stressful as buying a house. First time homeowners are people who are generally hopeful and ready to go after their dreams. Their backgrounds are broad, diverse. Hopefulness aside, buying a home is a large step. It's the largest purchase that many people make.
If house shoppers aren't careful, they could sign a lousy mortgage contract. The below points are great to consider before buying a house:
- Credit history - Access your credit history.Check your credit report with all three major credit agencies. The major agencies are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Don't stop there. Consider how ready you are to take on more debt.
- Check the neighborhood - Visit the neighborhood during the day and night. Pay attention to the condition of painting and siding on houses, sidewalks, driveways, community facilities, schools and lawns.
- Speak with neighbors - While you're walking around the neighborhood, introduce yourself to neighbors. Ask them what they like best and least about the neighborhood.
- Think about how long you plan on living in your new home - Because lenders build mortgages that require you to pay most of the interest during the early part of your home loan, you could save if you stay at your new home longer than five years. Otherwise, it might be more cost efficient to rent.
- Familiarize yourself with homeowners association(HOA) fees - Ask your real estate agent what the monthly homeowners association fees are. Go with a HOA that is well funded. Also, choose a home that is managed by a HOA that invests part of fees it receives toward savings.
More ways that first time homeowners can get ahead during the house buying process
- Understand HOA rules - Some states set HOA rules. Other states do not. Check with your state to see if they have regulations that HOAs must abide by. If the state doesn't have HOA regulations,get a copy of the HOA rules. Take your time reviewing the rules. If you are adamantly against a HOA rule, buying a home in a different neighborhood might be the right decision.
- Calculate your monthly mortgage payments - Do this before you agree to move forward with buying a home. Don't just factor in the principal. Factor in interest, closing costs and inspection fees.
- Shop for a fixer upper - Compare the costs of buying a fixer upper versus buying a key-ready house. If you buy a fixer upper,make sure that you can afford to cover repairs. Should you or someone you know be a handy person, buying a fixer upper as first time homeowners could prove smart.
- Consider other expenses - As first time homeowners, you may need to buy furniture. Think about these costs before you become first time homeowners.
- Buy a large enough house - Get a house that's large enough to accommodate your family, now and several years into the future.