“Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.” (Proverbs 24:27, NLT)
You watch every home-buying show. You’ve got a Pinterest board filled with decorating inspiration. You’re feeling ready to pick out your dream home. And with fewer people looking to buy right now, it’s a buyers’ market; you just might be able to get a dream price on that dream home.
A little research can help you make sure the day you move in is a happy one. Ask yourself these 5 questions before you put any money down:
1. Why do you want to buy a house?
Make sure you’re buying because you feel emotionally and financially ready to take on the responsibilities of owning a home. For example, if you’re considering an older house that needs work, are you truly prepared to give up your free time to do the work—or are you at least able to pay professionals to do it?
2. How long do you plan to live there?
Take your stage of life into consideration. Do you know where you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20? Experts recommend that you plan to stay in your home at least five to ten years to build up some equity.
3. What’s your credit score?
If you’re looking to buy a home (and even if you’re not), you need to know your credit score. You can find out your score for free through the nationwide credit reporting bureaus. This will help determine the kind of loans you can qualify for, so it’s a vital step.
4. Is the house in good condition?
Protect yourself (and your emergency fund) from any surprises by having a qualified home inspector check out the house for big problems like a leaky roof or a faulty foundation. Check ratings sites like Angie’s List to find an inspector with positive references.
If the inspector does find a problem, it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker—you might be able to use that knowledge to negotiate with the seller for a better price!
5. How much house can you afford?
Is your budget ready for homeownership? A free mortgage calculator can help you estimate what you’d need to pay each month. You can make the most informed choice if you have a realistic idea of your price range.
Buying a house is an exciting time, and we can help. In the meantime, remember these questions, work on your savings, and keep that Pinterest board going!
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation. Christian Community Credit Union is an Equal Housing Lender.