How To Make Your Dream House a Reality in 3 Easy Steps
*UPDATED DECEMBER 2018
Are you tired of just dreaming about the home you've envisioned for years? Do you want to take the steps necessary to make that dream a house a reality? We can help! It's not as difficult as you may think. With some good planning and diligence, you'll soon be settling in to the house of your dreams. How? Here's what you need to do in 3 easy and completely manageable steps. Let Century 21 Action Topsail help you navigate the local real estate market. We're happy to be of service.
1. Get in good financial shape in preparation to buy a house.
So what does it mean to be in good financial shape? Good question. It has less to do about whether the real estate market conditions are favorable and more to do about your personal financial readiness. It may seem overwhelming or even out of reach at first, but once you gain momentum and experience the freedom of being in charge of your finances, you'll find the motivation to continue on. Here's how.
- Pay off your debt. If at all possible, work toward eliminating all of your outstanding debt. You want to lessen all of the extra monthly payments you're making and focus those funds on your dream house. Paying down or ideally paying off your debt also helps improve your debt-to-income ratio, which in turn helps improve your credit score. You'll need these things in good standing when you apply for a mortgage or other financial assistance in the process.
- Have an emergency fund. Eliminating debt is the first step and saving money in an emergency fund is the next one. Having an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses gives you a solid foundation for life's surprises. You'll be prepared for anything that unexpectedly comes up and won't be scrounging together money at the last minute.
- Calculate what you can realistically afford. Be realistic here. Know what you can and cannot afford at the present time. Figure in your income, savings, fixed expenses and debts. Get rid of unnecessary expenses wherever possible and focus on your goal.
2. Know your budget and understand the costs of owning a home.
This is incredibly important. You don't want your dream home becoming your personal and financial nightmare because you can't afford the mortgage payments or you don't have enough funds to make repairs or deal with unexpected costs when they arise. Be proactive and set yourself up for a successful home buying experience.
- Be realistic. This may sound redundant but being realistic is crucial. Have a plan, pursue your goal with gusto, and remember the big picture and the reward: your dream home is now becoming a reality! Knowledge is power so the more you know, the more it is to your advantage. Your dream home is what is best for you and what you can comfortably afford.
- Be informed. Research mortgage options. Explore the areas you're considering buying in. Compare lending rates. Ask your knowledgeable friends to share their experience. Research, research, research.
- Be prepared. Prepare yourself for the additional costs of buying your dream home beyond just the mortgage. Remember to factor in the money for a down payment, home owners insurance, property taxes, maintenance fees, and any other common fees that come with home ownership.
3. Work with an experienced real estate agent and start house hunting.
Most of your hardest work is done! Now it's on to the fun part. Searching for your dream home and making it your reality. You've come a long way, baby. You've minimized your debt, you've put some money aside for emergencies, and you've started putting away what you need for a down payment (the more, the better).
- Call in the experts. You cannot put a price on a knowledgeable, professional and experienced real estate agent. You've worked so hard up to this point, now it's time to build your dream team. Have a support system that will guide you along the way and help you to achieve your dream of home ownership.
- Let real estate professionals pave the way. Expert real estate professionals know the market, know the area, know the process and know what questions to ask and where to find the answers you need. They can save you both precious time and money in the entire process and are well worth their weight in gold. Don't go it alone.