Do THIS Before Looking for a Home
So you want to buy a house? Great! Where do you start?
The answer is a no-brainer. Get pre-qualified. This isn’t usually the first step people take, but you need to know what you can afford before you put your foot in a house. Over the last 15 years, I have helped loads of people find their dream home. Before you start, you need to know how far you can dream.
I’ve worked with thousands of buyers over the years, and the ones who are the happiest when they are moved into their homes are the ones that didn't start looking at mansions and then settled on a condo. And they aren’t the ones who bought the big house and couldn't afford to furnish it. No, the happy homeowners are the ones who knew what they could afford and stuck to their budget. They did not get distracted by looking at homes way out of range. If you look at homes more than $50,000 over your budget, you will do one of two things — buy a house that was more expensive than you wanted OR be seriously disappointed.
So, back to step one. Know what you can afford. And trust me, there’s actually a number based on real data. This isn’t like your kid’s college savings.
“Honey, I have no clue how much we’re going to need for 4 kids, but I’m confident we are totally screwed!”
There are so many incredible resources to help you figure this out. Nerdwallet.com has one of my favorite tools. You plug in your income and debts (anything you make big payments to — you know, beyond your Hulu subscription and your pumpkin spiced lattes), and it spits out a purchase price. This is a very simple first step, but ultimately you need to get pre-qualified.
There are some awesome online loan companies that make the process easy, so don’t be scared. You enter some info, and they review it and give you a clear picture of what you can afford, what your payment would be and how much money you will need upfront (otherwise known as your down payment). This will be your guide as you start looking at homes. KNOW what you are comfortable paying, and don't look any higher than $10,000- $15,000 over your target price.
The average national sold price is 99% of the listing price, and 23% of sellers reported reducing the asking price at least once. Keep that in mind as you start looking. It’s no fun to fall in love with a house you can’t afford. So do the prep. Start with getting pre-approved by a lender. They will tell you everything you need to work on. If you need to work on your credit, DO THE WORK. If you need to start saving more each month, DO IT!
Owning a home is an incredible privilege and investment. It's worth working for. I promise. Sometimes you need to make changes to accomplish this goal. It can be simple — save $100 each month. Start where you can, and keep that goal in mind. With the right tools, you can do anything. Gear up and get started.
I’ve created a fun goal chart for you to keep you focused.
Just plug in your current info and where you need to be to buy. Post it somewhere visible (mine is in my closet near my jewelry), and stay focused! You got this. You can buy your dream home.