Terrified of jumping into the homeownership circle? As with any large purchase, buying a home can be unnerving for someone who has little knowledge of the homebuying and financing process. Here's how to set some of those fears aside when preparing to make a home purchase.
Buying a house is more expensive than renting.
Buying a home is 37.7 percent cheaper than rentingon a national basis, according to Trulia's most recent rent vs. buy study. Furthermore, buying is the cheaper option over renting in all of the U.S.'s largest 100 metro areas.
High rent is a common incentive to purchasing a home. Half of renters are currently spending more than 30% of their income on rent; 25% of renters were spending more than 50% of their income on rent in 2013.
I don't make enough money to buy.
Not being able to afford your monthly mortgage payment is a legitimate homebuying fear which is why most lenders recommend that your mortgage payment, including principal, interest, taxes and mortgage insurance (known as PITI), be less than 28 percent of your gross monthly income.
I don't have enough money for a down payment.
A 20% down payment is no longer the homebuying status quo. Several loan types include no to low down payment options or down payment/closing cost assistance, such as USDA Rural Development, VA, FHA, and 1stHomeIllinois.
For more information and options about how to buy a house without 20% down, click here.
I have too much debt.
While existing debt can limit your purchase price potential, student loan debt, credit card balances and car payments don't necessarily prohibit you from purchasing a home.
Your lender will analyze your debt-to-income ratio, which includes your monthly obligations such as credit card minimum payments, student loans, alimony, child support and car loans along with your PITI. Lenders typically prefer debt-to-income to be at or below 36 percent of your gross monthly income. To see effective ways to minimize outstanding debt, click here.
My credit score is too low.
A minimum score of 620 is required by all mortgage loans delivered to Fannie Mae. Compass Mortgage has the ability to finance FHA loans for borrowers with credit scores as low as 560.
However, if your scores are below the minimum requirement, there is still hope for homeownership. There are several ways to improve your credit score, including paying down high balances and checking your credit report for errors.
The home I want to buy could have major issues and I'm afraid of maintenance costs.
Home inspections are the way to go if you are fearful of major home issues. A typical home inspection costs anywhere from $300-$500. A home inspector looks for defects or malfunctions in a home's structure, systems and physical components.
Home inspections are often used as contingencies on purchase offers for good reason. If the home inspection of your potential purchase comes back with a negative(s), as a buyer, you have options going forward.
I would feel badly about not getting approved for financing.
A pre-approval is a relatively quick process where your mortgage banker compiles a loan application with information you provide regarding income, employment, assets, etc. and runs your credit score. Your lender will analyze this information and issue a decision on your financing eligibility.
For further peace of mind and the ability to act quickly on a home purchase, you can get a loan commitment, which gives you a significant head start against other buyers because you're already approved (pending the home you wish to purchase).
For more information about how to buy and finance your first home, download our free Mortgage 101 Handbook, a great resource for first-time homebuyers.