You’re finally ready: it’s time to plant roots. Buying your first home is an exciting time, but it’s also one of the biggest money moves of your life. Take the time to nail down what your dream home looks like, and what you can do to make it happen.
Get a Big Financial Picture
- Speak to a mortgage advisor about pre-qualification to get an idea how much house you can afford 1
- Calculate how much of a down payment you need, and set up a savings plan
- Determine which type of mortgage fits your unique budget
- Fix money woes
- Check your credit score 2
- Improve your debt-to-income ratio 3
Edit Your Dream List
- Write down your dream home list and highlight your top 5-10 must-haves.
- Cross out any feature that could affordably be altered/added later.
- If you are purchasing a home with someone else, coordinate your dream list with your partner
Location, Location, Location
- Potential pluses for a property’s location4
- Close to workplace
- People on walks or sitting on their porch and kids playing outside
- Low crime rate
- High ratings for schools
- Near churches, schools, and parks
- Potential negatives for a property’s location 5
- Poor property upkeep in neighborhood
- Near city services, like power plant or landfill
- Vacant of foreclosed buildings
- High traffic area
- Noisy neighborhood
Focus on Potential
- 71% of Americans want a move-in-ready home6, but fixer-uppers can potentially shave costs off of a home’s price tag
- Having to make quick and affordable changes yourself may not be a deal breaker — these can be quick refreshes, not major overhauls:
- New paint color
- New landscaping
- New flooring
- New countertops
- New appliances
Focus on Your Future Home Needs
- Consider your current and future needs
- 13.3 years is the average length of homeownership 7
- Questions to ask:
- Will this home survive life events, like marriage or having children?
- Can I afford this home with a pay cut or if my financial responsibilities change?
- Is this the area where I want to grow in my career or raise a family?