Buying and owning your own home is no easy task, and there are moments on everyone's journey when they feel like it's impossible. However, there are plenty of resources available to help make your dream of becoming a homeowner a reality.
The first step you should take when you're ready to consider buying a home is to check your credit score and/or start building your credit. Lenders want to see that you’ve been able to pay back borrowed money on time, and without missing payments or defaulting on the loan. If you have a poor credit score, you'll need to spend the next several months, or even years in some cases, improving it by paying off any debt you currently have and making sure to make all payments on time in the future. This is a great time to find a mortgage loan officer that you trust. They will periodically check in on your progress and make any suggestions to further improve your credit score.
Another way to keep your dream of homeownership alive is to start saving NOW, at whatever stage you’re at. Putting aside even a few dollars here and there will be a step toward that dream. When you're ready to purchase your first home, you'll need to make a down payment and you’ll be responsible for all the services and expenses required to finalize a mortgage at the time of closing. These typically cost between 2% to 5% of the total loan amount. So, get in the habit of putting some money aside from every paycheck to help fuel your dream of owning a home.
When the time comes for you to start looking at houses, tell your realtor your budget upfront. Contact your mortgage lender to get pre-approved for this amount. Remember to take into consideration your down payment and closing costs. This will make sure your realtor only shows you homes that you can afford, to avoid the stress of trying to figure out how to make payments on a home you love but can't afford.
In the end, remember not to get discouraged. Even if you're not able to become a homeowner right now, that doesn't mean that you won't in the future. Utilize your trusted loan officer and realtor to help you decide when you're ready to buy a house and to help you stay within your desired price range. Your dream of homeownership is closer to coming true than you might think!