What does 2021 hold in store? Is homeownership on the table for you this year?
The idea of entering the real estate market for the very first time can feel daunting. Where do you start? Is it even a feasible venture after the turmoil of 2020? Today, let’s talk about the simple steps you can take towards homeownership this year. There’s no time like the present to start a new life as a homeowner!
Four Easy Steps to Homeownership
The first step before making any major purchase is establishing a budget. The number one rule of homebuying: don’t spend more than you can afford! But there is no one-size-fits-all number for affordability. The key is finding out what is affordable for you. Here are some pointers to help you start budgeting:
- Calculate your debt-to-income ratio: divide your total monthly expenses by your gross income. Lenders usually look at this ratio to determine whether they’ll lend to you.
- The 28% rule of thumb: your mortgage should account for approximately 28% of your monthly income.
- Down payment: You should be able to afford a 20% down payment.
Time to review your credit information! Your credit score is a snapshot of your standings—the higher your score, the better off you are. Your credit report details your credit history, and this is what lenders will need to see to approve you for a loan. Fortunately, it’s easy to access your credit report from all three major credit bureaus by requesting the info from AnnualCreditReport.com.
Financial literacy is a lifelong journey, so don’t worry if you feel a bit overwhelmed by all the information. Bad credit won’t cripple your homebuying efforts, but it could make things more complicated—and more expensive. You won’t get the best rates if you don’t have good credit. Repairing your credit is possible, whether you do it yourself or seeking assistance from housing counselors or mortgage lenders. Speaking of which…
Not all mortgages were created equal. You need one that fits your financial needs, your lifestyle, and your future goals. The same way you’d shop around before purchasing any other big-ticket item, you should review at least three different lenders before committing. Your lender should be your teammate, not your adversary.
As a first-time homebuyer, you’re entitled to some special privileges that might make it easier to purchase. By the way, you can still count as a first-time homebuyer even if this isn’t your first-ever home! Just make sure you meet the criteria.
You may be eligible for financial assistance in the form of state programs, federally-backed loans, and tax breaks. It’s important to remember that there are options out there to help make your homeownership dreams come true. It’s just a matter of finding the option that’s right for you!
Want to learn more about how you can find the perfect program and advance your journey to homeownership? Sign up to KTO Home and create a profile today to receive our educational newsletter, and take advantage of all the resources KTO has to offer. Don’t put your home buying goals on hold! 2021 is the year to go big and go home.