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Smart Goals for Buying a House

Smart Goals for Buying a House

Start the new year with smart goals for buying a house.

In this blog post, we are not giving advice. We recommend you consult your financial advisor or legal counsel before you make any financial decisions toward purchasing a home.

Is your New Year’s resolution to become a homeowner? You’ve come to the right place! Many people right now are making plans and taking steps toward the goal of homeownership this year. So, why become a homeowner? Some people do it because it’s still part of the American Dream. Or because real estate appreciates and there’s money in that. Or because of the tax advantages. Others choose homeownership because they just want a place they can call their own. A place they can truly call home. There’s something beautiful about ownership and Americans know that. You know that. It’s probably why you made a resolution to become a homeowner this year.

If you’re looking to make this year the year you buy your own home, you may want to keep reading. Let’s dive into some smart goals for buying a house this year.

Make a commitment

You often see the most people at the gym in January and, slowly but surely, by February, March, April . . . it trickles down to the people who are always at the gym. The committed few. Here’s a tip: be one of the committed few. If you’re serious about wanting to become a homeowner this year, commit to this goal. It’s not just about following the steps of the process, it’s about getting your mind right. It’s an attitude; a posture. Buckle up and get ready for a ride because (news flash) homeownership is a commitment. When you’re making such a monumental decision as this, you’ve got to be committed.

Get to know your finances

You can’t make a list of smart goals for buying a house without getting well-acquainted with your finances. Do you know your credit score? We don’t recommend you go pull your credit, but if you already know it, that’s a good piece of information to keep on-hand. (If you don’t know your credit score, your Loan Originator can pull it later.)

Assess your debt. What types of debt (and how many) do you have? This might include credit card expenses, furniture financing, student loans, a car loan, and more. Whatever it is, write it down. When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will ask about this in order to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio—and your DTI ratio is extremely important because it will determine whether you get approved for a home loan.

Make mini goals to spend less and save more and you could be in a better position to buy a home.

It’s also good to take a peek at your savings account. How much do you have saved up? If you have the coveted 20% down payment in savings, that’s great! If not, there are low down payment options out there—but beware because a down payment below 20% comes with a monthly mortgage insurance premium. Savings looking a little low? You might want to spend the first part of the year saving money and plan to buy a house in the fall.

On the topic of finances, as you save up and try to eliminate some debt, you might have to make some financial sacrifices. Again, if you’re serious about buying a house this year, it’s going to take commitment! And a commitment to anything almost always requires some sort of sacrifice. Make mini goals to spend less and save more and you could be in a better position to buy a home.

What do you want?

Have you ever sat down and seriously thought about what you want in a home? We’re not just talking bed and bath combinations—it’s much more than that. Is there a specific town or neighborhood you want to live in? Do you want some outdoor space? What about a dine-in kitchen? Or a dual vanity in the bathroom? Think critically about your lifestyle and how your current place is or isn’t working for you. Then, map out your wants vs. needs.

What can you afford?

You can’t really start house hunting until you know how much home you can afford. That’s where we come in. Call us. We’re much more than mortgage lenders. We’re experts in our field. Call us and ask questions—we want to help get you home! When you give us a call, we’ll be able to pre-qualify and maybe even pre-approve you for a loan. Once you’re pre-approved, you’ll know what you can afford to spend. Then comes the fun part.

Start shopping (for a home and a real estate agent)

Based on your wants and needs and the loan amount you’re pre-approved for, it’s time to start shopping! Have fun with this, but don’t over-commit to one house. Keep an open mind about it and try not to get too attached to one property. Things may change and you have to be prepared for that. This is where a savvy real estate agent would be nice to have.

A great real estate agent can help you negotiate terms, home repairs, and the purchase price.

Hiring a real estate agent to help in your home buying process isn’t required, but it is a good thing. A great real estate agent can help you negotiate terms, home repairs, and the purchase price. They can give you advice and speak from experience. They probably have a wide professional network and can connect you with a title company, an insurance company, a home inspector, and more. Don’t underestimate the value of a real estate agent who represents you and your best interests in one of the biggest purchases of your life!

Did this blog post help you set some smart goals for buying a house this year? Share your thoughts with us on social media or forward this article to a friend.

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About the Author

Laura is one of our blog authors. Currently living in Charm City, she's a Great Lakes native who likes salsa dancing, brews a mean cup of Joe, and reads the Chicago Manual of Style for fun. As a young first-time home buyer, Laura likes writing educational pieces that dispel mortgage myths and give helpful hints about what the home buying process is really like.

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