As a Discover Home Loans mortgage professional, I’m regularly asked how to begin the process of buying a home.
As with most big decisions, you’ll need to weigh the benefits against the immediate and long-term time, energy and costs associated with owning a home. See how many of these statements apply to you and decide if buying a home is the right move for you.
1. Your rent is higher than a mortgage payment. The cost of renting, over time, can eclipse the cost of owning and maintaining a home. To help you decide if your finances would be better -suited to home ownership, check out the Rent vs. Buy Calculator from Discover Home Loans.
2. You’re staying put. Are you planning to stay in the same place for the next three to five years? If so, you might be better off buying a home. Keeping your house for several years helps to recoup the costs associated with a new home loan by building equity. The more equity you have in the house, the more you’ll benefit when you sell the home.
3. Your finances are set. Buying a home may seem intimidating, but with the right preparations it can be a seamless process and a smart financial choice. Determine how much you have saved for a down payment, as well as the amount you can afford to devote to a monthly mortgage payment. Lenders want to make sure buyers have the income to keep up with mortgage payments. Don’t forget a safety net to account for unexpected illness, change in employment or natural disaster—generally enough to cover three to six months of living expenses. There are many tools available online to help you determine how much house you can afford.
4. Your credit is under control. A good credit score helps you get the best deal on a home loan. Generally, the higher your credit score the lower your interest rate. Reviewing a copy of your credit report will give you insight into how your finances look to lenders.