Aim for 25 Percent
Most financial calculators state that it is totally fine to spend 30 percent of your take-home pay on your monthly housing payment, but it’s alright to be a little more conservative. It is important to remember that being a homeowner requires much more spending than renting does. Factors such as real estate taxes, home insurance and annual upkeep—which can easily be another 2 to 5 percent of your paycheck—will have to be accounted for. You should bulk up your emergency savings account and have at least a six-month cushion in the bank before applying for a mortgage to be safe. Mortgage lenders will be impressed to see that.
Clean Up Your Credit
Your credit health, especially your credit score, will be one of the first items lenders will want to analyze. Borrowers with scores of 760 or higher are earning the best rates, according to FICO, which is the biggest credit score issuer and the one used by over 90 percent of lenders. You can view your score by first checking with your bank or credit card issuer—some offer customers a free look. If you discover that your number needs some R&R, make sure you’re paying all your bills on time and knock down any outstanding balances on those credit cards. You should notice a difference within a few months, but in the meantime, avoid opening any new credit cards.
Look at Your Resources
Having a great real estate agent doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read up on your own. It is important to be an informed buyer. Consider going to your local library or checking out online resources to find out your rights as a buyer and learning about home-buying programs.
When deciding how much home you can afford, it is important to consider all recurring expenses that come with owning a home. Beyond mortgage payments and closing costs, this includes expenses such as home maintenance and repairs.
If you’re still unsure about being turned down for a loan because you’re buying on your own, try not be. Qualifying for a loan on one income may mean you purchase a smaller home, but it doesn’t mean you can’t buy. In fact, banks are not allowed to discriminate against potential home buyers based on marital status.
If you are buying a home alone on one income, consider an FHA loan, as borrowers with good credit can qualify for a small down payment.
Choose the Right Home Type for You
Are you looking for a home to grow into? Or are you wanting a small starter home you can rent out in the future? Whatever your current and future home needs may be, it is important to know that you have options regarding the type of home you purchase.
While buying a condo or townhouse may leave you with a lower mortgage, don’t forget about possible homeowners association dues and storage fees. And a smaller place means less to maintain for one person, but regular maintenance is still a homeowner must.
Search with Confidence
Pursuing home-ownership alone doesn’t mean you have to decide everything solo. Consider bringing one or two of your close friends along who have recently purchased a home and who you know can offer helpful and honest feedback.
If your are looking to move to the suburbs to get more house for your buck, consider if you’d really be happy living away from your favorite downtown spots. Try commuting from your potential home to places such as your work, your friends’ homes and your favorite shops and restaurants. There may not be someone home during hours you’re typically away, so you’ll want to be mindful of security precautions during your house hunting process as well.
Make an Informed Offer
If you’re buying a home alone, you may not have someone by your side to assist your with figuring out what to offer or how to negotiate. This is where finding the best real estate agent for you will serve you well. Contact DBL Real Estate to hire a real estate agent who can best serve you as a single home buyer!