Owning a house gives you a sense of fulfillment, and helps boost your self-esteem. It is a long term investment and should not be taken lightly. The present state of your finances is possibly the single most important factor when contemplating home ownership. Before you start shopping for a house, take into consideration the following factors.
Have you set aside enough money for the down payment? The amount you need varies based on the price of the home and percentage required by your lender. Zero down mortgages are possible, however the interest rate is typically very high increasing the amount paid out over the life of the loan. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is typically required for this type of loan, again increasing your monthly payment.
How high of a mortgage payment can you afford to make ? If you opt for a fixed rate, your payment would remain consistent throughout the period of the loan. This type of loan is favorable for future financial planning. Adjustable rate mortgages make it a bit trickier to predict your monthly payments based on the fluctuating interest rate throughout the duration of the loan. This type of loan could be risky if interest rates rise and your payments increase significantly higher than anticipated.
The security of your financial future is paramount when acquiring a mortgage loan. You would not want to enter into this long term investment without stable employment and a definite career path. Most banks and lending companies require a borrower to have been with the same employer for at least 2 years before considering a loan of this nature. Secure financial footing is key when applying for a mortgage loan.
When determining your readiness to purchase a home, your credit score is as important as your finances. If you have a low credit score, you'll attract a higher lending rate. This implies an increase in the amount paid back to the lender over the duration of the loan. An excellent credit score of 720 or above attracts the best interest rates and repayment terms. If your credit score is too low, improve it by:
- Becoming Debt Free
- Removing all inaccuracies from your credit report
- Making all monthly payments in a timely manner -- eliminating late payments
- Avoid applying for new loans and opening credit accounts
The commitment of home ownership comes with financial responsibilities beyond the monthly mortgage payment. Be certain to consider additional expenses such as property tax, utility bills, and home maintenance costs when calculating your budget. Carefully weigh out all the factors to ensure you will be comfortable with your monthly payments allowing you to enjoy your new home for years to come.