Do you spend hours looking a photos of homes online? Are you watching Chip and Joanna work on their Fixer Uppers? Has Pinterest given you too many amazing ideas for decorating your future home? Before you go any further, let’s have a chat.
First, before you head out to look at open houses, sit down with your check register, or download your activity to a spreadsheet and figure out your expenses. Are you saving enough money for a down payment, and couple of months mortgage payments and closing costs? Do you know what closing costs even are? If you have never purchased a home before, or it’s been 10 years since you purchased your last home, it’s a good bet that you will need some information.
Second, no, you do not need a 20% down payment. Yes, you need to put some money down on your purchase and I want you to have a little something left over for emergencies, but you absolutely do not need a 20% down payment.
Third, if your local bank turns you down for a mortgage, don’t get discouraged, come and see me. Too often Mortgage people who work with banks have much more rigid guidelines than those of us who work primarily with Mortgage Lenders. We take the time to help you structure your file properly, and if we can’t do your loan right now, we tell you what you need to do to get all your ducks in a row.
Fourth, get pre-approved for a loan and then make certain your are comfortable with the loan payment you have been pre-approved for. Just because you can afford a higher payment, it doesn’t mean you will ultimately be comfortable with that payment. And the opposite is also true. If you are growing your business or advancing in your career, it might be better to stretch a little rather than buy a home you aren’t in love with and feel sad you didn’t get what you really wanted.
Fifth, if you have a partner, then for goodness sakes, talk to them. Don’t wait until you are out with a realtor and get frustrated. Agree what are must have’s for each of you, the negotiate, ahead of time. And understand, you are not going to get everything you want in a home. The location is the most important part, then good bones is second. Cabinets, appliances, flooring and paint can all be changed over time, but the location can’t be changed.
I love helping people of all ages purchase their home. Whether its’ their first, starter home, or condo, or it’s a smaller home now that the children have moved on. VA Loans for those who have served, or FHA for those who don’t have a lot of up front cash, and everything in between.
Brian Denton, at your service