Along with year-end parties, comes New Year goal setting, right? It’s time to look forward and envision where you see yourself this time next year. Is owning a home on your list of goals?
Before you stumble upon that dream home while out looking at holiday lights, take these three simple year-end steps that will jump start your journey to homeownership. You’ll be well on your way to a new home before that New Year’s Eve countdown begins.
1. Simple budget review
How much are you currently spending each month on rent and other housing related expenses, like utilities? What is that amount annually? Do you anticipate any rent increases?
Take a look at your other expenses too. You want to have a solid understanding of your monthly income and expenses so you know what you can handle for a mortgage payment. This exercise will keep you from jumping into a mortgage payment that stretches you and your family too far.
And, with homeownership comes home maintenance so it’s important to have a cushion for those necessary (and sometimes fun!) projects.
2. Interview lenders
Mortgages are never one size fits all. You want to work with a lender who can listen to your goals and budget to find the best fit for you. Make a plan to talk to at least three lenders before year end. Learn about their low down payment options, fees and the monthly and lifetime cost of your mortgage.
Check out our five essential lender interview questions for a guide on what to ask prospective mortgage lenders.
3. Search for down payment programs
Do you know about homebuyer programs that can help you save on your down payment and closing costs? Down payment programs can give you a major homeownership boost in the form of grants, forgivable loans and tax credits. But, they also require approvals and paperwork so you want to get your options on the table soon.
Investigate what’s available in the area you plan to buy. Use our program finder to answer a few question about your household to narrow down your options.
Good luck and happy New Year!