Long before you make an offer on your dream home, it is important to honestly look at your current financial situation.
Variables such as your credit score, employment history and how much you have saved for a down payment can greatly influence the type of loan that you qualify for. Equally as important, the type of loan you qualify for can impact how viable and attractive your offer is to a potential seller.
It is important for you to analyze your spending habits. If you do not have a budget, you should start one now. This will help you understand you spending habits so that the lifestyle that is important to you will be maintainable as a homeowner.
One of the most important considerations is how comfortable with your monthly payment. For a great app to calculate a payment, click here.
As a rule of thumb, total housing costs should be no more than 25 percent of your net pay. So, if your net monthly household income is $3500 per month, a safe mortgage payment would be $875. No two households have the same expenses, so it is important to honestly look at what your expenditures are when you do a budget.
Note that lenders do not use net income when they calculate your debt to income. They use gross pay. The formula they use oftentimes (but not always) allows you to borrow more than you may be comfortable with or should spend. I call this giving you enough rope to hang yourself. No one wants to be house poor and feel strapped paying for a mortgage they really can’t afford. That is why knowing your budget, comfort level is so important.
It is also important that you are aware of the expenses prior to closing.
- Earnest Money or Good Faith Deposit
- Home Inspection
- Appraisal Fee
- Closing Costs and Pre-Paids
These costs vary and some of them can be paid on your behalf by the seller. Additionally, it is a good idea (and sometimes required by financing) that you have a few months mortgage payments in reserves, any moving costs, furniture, appliances, etc. You can typically estimate how much you will need for these costs by getting pre-approved for a loan by a lender that you trust and is highly recommended to you.
Your credit rating is a primary factor in qualifying for a mortgage.
The type of loan, down payment required and the interest rate you qualify for are all dependent on your credit score. Sometimes you will need funds to pay down credit or pay off derogatory credit.
It is important to consider all of these variables well in advance of looking for a home to purchase. Make sure you have enlisted a trusted advisor who can guide you through this process so that when the time comes, you will be in tip-top shape to purchase your dream home.