As the economy grows, Millennials are taking a second look at the housing market. Let's review ten tips that will smooth the path to your first house, no matter what your goals are.
- Think About a Starter Home
You don't have to go straight into a lavish home. If you start with a smaller home or fixer-upper, you'll often be able to get even better mortgage terms in the future-thanks to your established history with your first property.
- Pay Down Debts
Millennials hold a record amount of student loan debt, so odds are you won't be debt-free when you're ready to buy a house. That's okay! Pay down whatever credit cards and smaller debts you can. It will benefit you in the long run.
- Don't Open or Close New Credit Accounts
Older credit accounts actually help boost your credit score, so you don't want to close them down--even if you manage to pay them off. On the other hand, when your shopping for a home, it isn't the best time to accept other card offers, finance a car or make any other big moves.
- Start Saving for a Down Payment
Although a hefty down payment isn't a requirement for buying a house, it subtracts from the amount you need to finance and saves you thousands down the line. The sooner you get started with your savings the better, even if you can only put aside a little bit at a time.
- Make a Budget
You'll need two budgets: one during the period when you're saving for a home and another to help you determine "how much house" you can actually afford. This will protect you from becoming "house poor" after buying your property.
- Consider Your Commute
Your commute should be one of your biggest concerns when you're comparing homes. A long commute is a huge source of expenses in the form of gas or public transit. Just as importantly, however, it generates tons of stress and tends to make buyers less happy with their homes.
- Look for First-Time Buyer Programs
First-time home buyers have access to many different state and federal programs to help them make the leap from renter to owner. Do your research early. If you find a program you like, look for a lender who understands it inside and out.
- Get Pre-Approved
Lender pre-approval will make it far easier for you to move fast when you find a home you love. It's essentially a written agreement to provide a mortgage loan with certain terms if you decide to move forward. The time you save by doing this early can make a huge difference when buying a house in a competitive market.
- Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Do you feel like you'll scream if you read one more article about young people cutting out extravagance? Don't stress out: Small things (like whether you spent $4 for coffee) will usually take care of themselves as long as you do the big things right.
- Get a Real Estate Agent You Can Trust
No matter who you are or where you'll be buying a house, your real estate agent is your #1 ally. He or she can help you stretch your budget further, find the ideal home for your needs, and give you the facts you need to make informed decisions.
Our REALTORS® work hard for our clients. If you're house hunting, our homes in Mansfield may be perfect for you. Contact Haring Realty for expert advice that will make your home buying journey easier.