How to decide when the time is right for you to buy a home.
With interest rates low and inventory lower, it's hard for potential buyers to sit back and watch home prices soar while they hope to get in the game. But this kind of frenzied home-buying market can make it difficult to stay calm and make rational decisions, especially when you feel like the doors may be closing on your dream of homeownership.
A scarcity mindset focuses on the notion that there isn't enough to go around, and it leads to a focus on short-term decision-making while ignoring the long-term consequences. And when that involves a major purchase like a home, the consequences can be personally and financially stressful.
If a buyer rushes into a home purchase before they are ready, it can lead to buying a home that's too expensive, not the right fit, or overwhelming to maintain—and force that buyer to turn around and sell it too soon.
Fortunately, guidance from a good Realtor and a mortgage lender can go a long way in helping you decide when you are ready to buy a home. Here are some questions they might ask to help you determine if the time is right for you to buy a home.
Is your income stable?
When applying for a loan, you'll need to provide proof of income to show that you are earning enough money consistently to pay your mortgage. If you've recently changed jobs, you might want to give yourself a few months to ensure the new job is a good fit. After all, if it isn't, you may be faced with an unexpected job search and relocation.
If you are self-employed, ask yourself if you feel confident with your average monthly income and current cash flow to meet your mortgage payments each month, and consider your options if you have a slow month or lose an important account or client.
Do you have adequate savings and an emergency fund?
We've all heard the term "house poor." Owning a home and having nothing left to spend on anything else, in reality, means that the home owns you. Financial experts recommend having 3 to 6 months' worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, as well as a savings account to address emergencies, repairs, maintenance, or expenses that pop up both in your home and in your life.
Do you have enough for a downpayment?
Having a sizable (20% or more) down payment is ideal, and can qualify you for more attractive loan products, better interest rates, and spare you the cost of private mortgage insurance.
Is your credit in order?
Your credit profile and credit score will majorly impact what kind of loan you are approved for. Higher credit scores usually lead to lower monthly payments which could save you thousands over the life of the mortgage.
Once you've answered these basic questions, you'll be much more clear on if, when, and how you should buy a home. To find out if you're ready, or get help preparing yourself to be a homebuyer, contact a lending professional at lennarmortgage.com.