Think Outside the Box When It’s Time
to Finance a Home
Are you ready to purchase a home? Have you
considered creative financing? Don’t worry — it’s not illegal! But there are
some terrific personal finance hacks for homebuyers.
Before you can reach full home-buying-hack
potential, you should understand the basic process. As Curbed explains, you should start by getting a
handle on your budget. Tally up what you normally spend
in a month, calculate your income, and decide how much can go toward
a mortgage and homeownership. Remember to include things like utilities,
insurance, and homeowner association fees. You also need enough in your bank
account to cover the down payment and closing costs.
Once you have a general idea, it can help to
play with a pre-qualification calculator. This will help
determine what you can afford. Then, you should get pre-approval for your loan
with a lender. Pre-approval will be
based on your ability to afford a home and will review documentation proving
income, employment, and identity. The lender will also consider your credit
history. Those pieces of information will help decide how much your loan will
be and for what interest rate. You can then make a serious offer on a property.
One of the first things you should know about
buying a home is to leave your bank account alone. HGTV points out that you
should try to avoid any substantial expenditures within three to six
months of your home loan application. Not only will it help you to have that
cash handy for a down payment and closing costs, lenders like to see a
reliable, stable financial situation.
Another way to enhance the appearance of your
finances is to improve your credit score. This may sound complex, but it’s
actually pretty simple. Make sure you pay your bills in a timely fashion, pay
down your debts, and keep credit card balances low. Also, don’t apply for
credit unless you really need it. Opening unnecessary accounts generally won’t
The traditional down payment for a mortgage is
20 percent. However, you should research the market where you plan to buy and
know the average down payment in your target area, as well as the percentage of
homes that sell under their list price. It’s also incredibly important to
determine how much house you can afford before diving in. Even if you can
afford the down payment, you might not be able to afford the mortgage
If you don’t have the money sitting in your
bank account for your home purchase, you still have some options. You can get
down payment assistance, which typically comes through
programs operated by state or local housing authorities; for example, Redfin
explains that FHA loans, VA loans, and rural housing loans can help you purchase a home if you don’t have
enough to put down. Depending on your situation, this can mean coughing up
substantially less cash for your down payment, and for some home buyers, there
may be no down payment at all.
the Home Differently
Instead of looking for your dream home, some experts recommend looking for a property
that’s a good investment. Even if you don’t intend to “flip” a house, chances
are you will move on at some point. Instead of looking for the house that most
appeals to you, you can make the most of your purchase by buying a home that
will be desirable when it comes time to sell. Look for areas that hold their
value well (ask your Realtor). Also, don’t buy the biggest and nicest home in a neighborhood. You’re
actually better off buying the worst home in the neighborhood, as it’s most apt
to give you a good return on your money.
Thinking outside the box can help with financing a home purchase. Get a firm idea of your numbers, improve what you can, get help if you need to, and reframe your ideas for the right home to buy. Your financially savvy choices will help you become a happy homeowner!
Article by Kelli Brewer firstname.lastname@example.org