ARE YOU READY TO BUY A HOUSE?


While it may be acceptable to snap up a pair of shoes on an impulse, the choice to buy a home requires thoughtful planning and decision making.

Whether you’re becoming a homeowner for the first time or you’re a repeat buyer, buying a home is a financial and emotional decision that requires the experience and support of a team of reliable professionals including a REALTOR®, a lender, a lawyer and a range of other individuals.

Why Do You Want to Buy a Home?

The emotional part of the decision comes into play when you think about why you want to move. If you’re a first-time buyer, you need stability in your career and the desire to commit to living in the same community for five to seven years. You should want to establish roots in a neighborhood and look forward to decorating as you please without requiring a landlord’s permission.

Purchasing a home is a lifestyle choice that requires you to think about how you like to spend your time and the type of community where you want to live—such as a rural area without nearby neighbors, a high-rise building in a city or a home within a planned community with recreational amenities.

The more you understand your priorities for a home, the easier it will be for you to narrow your real estate decisions.

Homeownership can also be a powerful way to increase your personal wealth for you and your family, since you’ll be building equity in your home as you pay off your mortgage.

Are Your Finances Ready for Homeownership?

While your dream home may not be within your reach right away, you can take steps to become a homeowner the moment you earn your first paycheck.

In order to qualify for a mortgage to buy a home, you’ll need good credit, a pattern of paying your bills on time while still saving money and a maximum debt-to-income ratio—your gross monthly income compared to the minimum payments on all recurring debts—of 43% or less. Some lenders have stricter guidelines, so the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better your chances of a loan approval.

While loan programs are available with low down payments of 3.5% to 5%—and a few programs offer no down payment at all—you’ll still need some savings to pay for closing costs, moving expenses and an earnest money deposit on a home. It also is very wise to have cash reserves on hand after you buy.

Saving money and preserving or improving your credit history are essential elements to homeownership.

What Can You Afford to Buy?

Housing prices and rents vary from one location to another, but you can use realtor.com®’s Rent vs. Buy calculator to estimate the difference between your current rent and buying a home. In some markets, buying a home can cost the same or even less than renting.

Remember, when you’re a homeowner, you also need to include homeowners insurance, property taxes andhomeowners association dues in your housing costs. You should use realtor.com®’s home affordability calculator to help you estimate what you can pay for a home.

In addition, you should think about your plans for the future and how you spend your money—along with your comfort level with a mortgage payment. A lender will tell you how much you can borrow, but that lender won’t know how much you spend on travel or golf or your plans for potentially reducing your work hours when you have a family.

Once you’ve thought through the emotional and financial aspects of becoming a homeowner, your next steps should be to find a reliable, experienced REALTOR® to become your partner in the home-buying process and to meet with a reputable lender who can discuss your options for financing your purchase.

courtesy Realtor.com By: 


About Brian Heafy

After a 30 year career in the information technology/professional services industry Brian began his second career as a real estate professional in 2012. Brian began his career in 1982 with the United States Marine Corps as a systems analyst providing software project management and implementation services to Marine Corps Aviation Logistics Squadrons in Iwakuni, Japan and later as a defense contractor assigned as lead technical program manager to the Navy Management Systems Support Office in San Diego. Brian went on to serve as technology manager for the City of Coral Springs, then joined a publicly traded government (ERP) software and professional services provider in Lake Mary, Florida as VP of the company's Public Safety & Justice Systems group where he and his teams supported over 450 small, medium and large Police, Fire, Courts and EMS agencies across the U.S. and Caribbean. Brian also served in technology management positions supporting commercial off the shelf software enterprise resource management systems finance and administration application software and public safety and justice systems application software projects for the City of Orlando and Orange County Clerk of Courts. Brian's in-depth understanding of governmental operations and contract management is a benefit to his real estate clients, so much of what gets accomplished in today's real estate industry deals with understanding government databases, brokerage disclosures, banking and governmental regulations each with their own set of established procedures - at all levels of government (local, county, state, federal). Brian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Barry University. A Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker and member of the Greater Orlando Regional Realtors Association, member of the Marine Corps Association and former Web Sergeant for the United States Marine Corps League in Orlando, Florida. A native Floridian Brian and his wife Yoshiko have been married over 32 years and have two grown children.