The new year is quickly approaching and, if you’ve read our last few blogs, we know that 2017 is going to be the year for many potential homebuyers. If you’re one of them, you should begin planning for the home buying process now…even if you are months away from making a purchase.
1. Automate your savings for a down payment. The 20 percent required for a down payment is a huge chunk of cash. If you’re buying in Orange County where the median home price is over $600K, you’re going to need upwards of $100K down. Saving regularly can be difficult because you have to hold yourself accountable, even when other expenses arise that you could put your money towards. If you’re serious about buying a home, the simplest and most effective way to do this is to automate your checking account to set aside a portion of your monthly payments.
2. Clean-up your credit. Your credit is the single most important factor in determining how much a creditor is willing to lend you and how high your interest rate will be. If you have a credit score below 620 (an A grade), the more difficult it will be for you to qualify and/or receive approval for loan. Build your credit by paying off your credit cards and making consistent and timely payments on other loans.
3. Live on a budget. Since you’re looking to buy in 2017, now is the time to start being conservative. Compare buying vs. renting in the area. Weigh your options so you can determine what makes the most sense for you financially. Anything you can cut back on now can go towards a down payment, moving, and closing costs.
4. Get your handy on. If you were renting, you were probably used to a landlord doing all of the maintenance repairs for you. Becoming a homeowner means that you are now responsible for any and all needed repairs like leaky faucets or electrical shorts. Brush up on your handyman skills and save money by fixing it yourself.
5. Prepare yourself to make an offer. Keep abreast of what’s on the market in the area and price range that you’re looking. Educate yourself on what you can afford and what would be a fair asking price. You don’t want to go into the home buying process with unrealistic expectations.
You can never start preparing too soon. Begin developing and practicing these habits now. When it comes time to buy, you’ll be happy you did.