Home prices are at rock bottom and mortgage rates at all-time lows so you may be considering going from renter to homeowner. If you are planning on staying put for a while the choice makes sense. There are a few things to take into consideration before you make the leap from renter to owner.
First, you will need to determine how much you can afford. Consult with a mortgage professional to help you determine what kind of mortgage you qualify for. Just because you pay $1,000 a month in rent, doesn’t mean you can handle a $1,000 monthly mortgage payment. There are more costs to owning a home than just the mortgage payment. As a homeowner you will also be responsible for property tax, home insurance, utilities, and repairs. To prepare for those costs plan on adding about 40 percent to your base cost. So, if your mortgage is $1,000, add about $400 a month for a better estimate of costs.
Before you make a rash decision see if you really can afford the cost difference. Once you know the cost difference spend a few months depositing the difference between your rent payment and your cost estimate in the bank. In the previous example you would deposit $400 a month into savings. If you’ve been able to keep up the deposits and pay your other bills, that’s a sign you can afford to buy. Now that you have been saving more you have more money to put toward the down payment of your new home.
These are just a few tips to get you started. Once you have a better financial picture it will be time to start shopping. That is when the fun begins.