Buying a home is the largest purchase most people will ever make. Homeownership has great benefits. Homeownership also comes with certain responsibilities.
Are you ready for homeownership? Look at your current situation and determine if:
Once you fully understand your current situation, it's important to look at the pros and cons of homeownership to make the best decision for you and your family.
Homeownership has many advantages - both financial and personal. But buying a home is an important decision. Look at the benefits and the differences between homeownership and renting to better understand if owning a home is right for you.
What are the benefits of homeownership?
Homeownership is not right for everyone. It may not be the right time in your life or you may not like the commitment associated with owning a home. Here are some differences between renting and homeownership:
To get a quick idea of what you can afford to spend, multiply your annual gross income (before taxes) by 2.5. For example, if your annual household income is $50,000, you might be able to qualify for a $125,000 home. This is just a rough estimate - the actual number will vary based on factors such as your debt and credit history.
Mortgage lenders typically use the housing expense and debt-to-income ratios to more accurately determine how much you can afford to spend on your mortgage.
A mortgage lender, a housing counselor, or consumer credit counselor can help you better understand these guidelines. Before you talk to a financial professional, you can organize your financial picture by creating a budget. Don't forget that you also have to save for the down payment, closing costs, inspections costs, moving, and other related expenses.
Lenders evaluate mortgage applications a lot differently today than they did even 10 years ago. And even more has changed in the last 20 years. What used to close the door to homeownership may not be a factor today.
Here are some common homeownership myths:
Myth: You need great credit to become a homeowner.
Fact: You may still be able to buy a home with less-than-perfect credit. And remember, you can improve your credit over time.
Myth: You need to put 20% down to buy a home.
Fact: There are many types of mortgage products and programs that allow low and no down payments. But remember to factor in other costs such as closing costs, property taxes, moving expenses, and repairs.
Myth: You can't buy a home in the U.S. if you're not a citizen.
Fact: If you're a legal resident, you can purchase a home in the U.S.
Myth: If you don't have a bank account or credit cards, you can't qualify
for a mortgage.
Fact: Having a bank account is always a good idea and helps you establish credit. However, lenders can approve you for a mortgage even if you don't have a bank account or credit cards. You'll likely need to keep records showing a history of payments you've made for items such as rent, utilities, and car payments.
Myth: Lenders share your personal financial information with other
Fact: By law, banks and other financial institutions are restricted in their uses and disclosures of information about you. In some situations, you may choose to restrict the disclosure of your information if you don't want it to be shared.
Myth: If you're late on your monthly mortgage payments, you'll lose
Fact: If you have a financial hardship, like the death of your spouse or a medical emergency and fall behind, it's possible to keep your home and get back on track if you contact your lender early.
Myth: You can't get a mortgage if you've changed jobs several times
in the last few years.
Fact: Not true. You can change jobs several times and still get a loan to buy a home. Lenders understand that people change jobs. The important thing is to show that you've had a stable income.