Things to Consider When Becoming a Homeowner

homeowner

When aspiring to buy your own home, there are a few things you need to think about: Why do you want to be a homeowner? What does your credit look like? Where exactly would you commit to staying long-term? And where the heck do you start?

For me, living in an area like Conway, Arkansas gave me a sense of peace because I love it here. Staying long-term was never a question. But there were several unexpected things about becoming a homeowner that I was not prepared for.

Can You Afford It?

Financially, there were some questions. My credit was meh, and the cost of renting was starting to break the bank. Let’s do the math here: Renting a nice apartment in my area is about $500+. You know you’re committing to at least 12 months, so that’s $6,600 I was paying someone just to “borrow” a place to live.

What if you want to rent a house? Where I live, that’s going to run you about $900 a month, which is $10,800 a year, plus expenses for food, clothes, entertainment, and whatever else you may need. That’s a boatload of money you just wasted — because there’s definitely no ROI (Return on Investment).

Check Your Credit

Next, check your credit report! This is something that should be done every six months, and your score is not affected by inquiring about your credit. Know your score before you proceed to talk to a lender about a home loan.

FreeCreditReport.Com and Credit Karma are great resources to check your credit detail, including your score. Lenders will ask, but they’re also going to check for themselves. Going in with a score under 620 is a clear sign that you need to work on some things. Most lenders won’t even talk to you with that type of score. In their eyes, a low score means less trust that payments will be made. Make sure your lender tells you how much you can afford as a payment BEFORE you go house shopping. It saves you, your realtor, and the seller’s time.

There’s a Class for That

Once you’ve committed to becoming a homeowner, research some homebuyer classes in the area. The workshops are usually two to three hours for three consecutive days. Once you’ve completed it, you get a certificate. These workshops teach you everything about the home-buying process and even give you a list of realtors to use, as well as suggested lenders.

I was lucky enough to meet one of the best realtors (Sandstone Realty-Korry Garrett), and he stuck with me from the beginning to the end! We ran into a few speed bumps along the way, but it all worked out. He helped me find the right lender, the right resources, and the perfect home. Realtors are totally free to you, and they make their money from the seller of the home, so that’s one less bill for you.

Make The Leap!

Never let anyone tell you you’re too young to own a home…that is, unless you’re under 18, have no job, terrible (or no) credit, and more importantly, no sense of responsibility. Becoming a homeowner is a HUGE responsibility, and getting lenders to see you as someone they can trust is even more of a responsibility. Being young, a woman, and single doesn’t always help your case, but it doesn’t have to hold you back either.

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