Alright guys, I know it’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here… It’s time to start sharing with you all how and what we did to prepare ourselves on what we did and need to do before buying our home. And don’t worry, I be sharing many more blog post within the next 2 months on what we did once we went into contract, and how things are holding up.
So lets face it…if purchasing a home may be on your mind within the next year or two, but you just don’t know where to start, don’t know if it’s even right for you, or if you can even afford to buy a home, I have some recommendations that may help because they for sure helped us along the way.
I also want to say, yes home buying or even looking can be very stressful, but at the same time it can be fun.. as long as you make it fun.
1. Start looking… even if it’s within a 2 year plan
My biggest advice to all when someone is even thinking about buying a home, is to start looking. It’s honestly the BIGGEST motivation to get your goals in order (if that what you are aiming for) and will give you the push.
I’m going to be totally honest, being homeowners to Bobby and I was never a main priority to us in the past… until about 3 years ago. Before we lived in a 2 bedroom townhome with the girls, with both of the girls sharing a room. We lived a very comfortable life. We traveled… we lived… and thats the honest truth. It wasn’t until my sister wanted to start looking at new homes because they were out-growing their current home because they do have 2 boys. Bobby and I started looking with her and honestly that’s when we started getting this feeling like… man it will feel SOO nice to have a home that would be ours. A home where we don’t need to ask permission to paint our walls if we wanted too or do do things to the home. A home where we can permanently make memories in. A home to call ours. But, we also new that even though this is something that we wanted now, we just couldn’t get because of our credit score. So we came up with a plan, and looked and looked and looked. We never stopped looking at home. Wether we went to physical home models or online. We never stopped. It keeps your motivation up, and keeps you on your game plan.
2. Make a plan and see what fits in your budget & what can you truly afford
So now that you have the motivation. Here is where you need to make a plan. First thing first is to make sure you can even afford a new home with the income you’re bringing in. There are many calculators out there to give you a round about idea of how much your mortgage payment will be. Your next step is to see if your credit score is high enough to qualify for a home. The higher the score the better. Your goal is to get a good interest rate. You can still qualify for a home with a credit score of 640, but if you can aim for a even higher score… do it. You will also need to figure out what amount of home will fit into your budget. You obviously don’t want to be looking at a $400,000 home when you can’t afford it. Don’t get me wrong, Bobby and I would see home like that, but we weren’t focused on those types of home because we knew it just wasn’t in our budget.
So when it came to Bobby and I, we both new that our credit score was shot… blame it on the young age who just didn’t give a shit about credit. Well, years later it’s biting us in the ass. So what it came down to was us sitting down, pulling our credit scores, and figuring out what we owed. We came up with a plan, called the debt collectors and made a deal with them to lower the debt. Please be aware that once you pay these debt collectors, this DOES NOT remove it from your credit report. However, it will show paid on there, so make sure once you make a payment to the debt collector that they are sending you an email or receipt of the payment. While, we made a plan to pay off debt within a year; at the same time we also decided to save our money, all while still looking around at home models.
3. Talk about your needs in a home and your wants
Once you have a plan going, and a budget set, here is where you want to start talking about what you truly need in your home (the must) and what your wants are (the possibilities). For instance, look at new homes and look at older homes. Compare both and see what will fit best for you. Also, decide on the type of home you want, the land, bedroom, etc.
For Bobby and I, we definitely looked at both aspects..new and used homes. What we found was that older homes (about 6-10 years old), just wasn’t really our style. There were a lot of thing that we would want to remodel/fix and felt like the price of what these older home were wanting were as almost as a brand new home. So we decided that we were going to stick with purchasing a brand new home, unless a miracle happened and we both found a home that we loved. We also new that a backyard was important to us as well. I grew up with a very very big backyard and loved all the memories there, and new I wanted the same for the girls. Now, these days here in Las Vegas, the homes are definitely not like the older homes, where they would get a good piece of land, but I still wanted a home where we would be comfortable having a party at, the kids could play in, and possibly a pool. We also new that we needed 3 bedrooms, possibly 4. Another must for us was windows. I know that sounds very odd, but hear me out. Windows, make a whirl of a difference. It opens up the home and makes just makes the home feel very airy. Plus less electricity needs to be used during the day because of how much light comes in.
4. Save save save
You read that right… SAVE! This is the time to really start saving. You will need to save for your down payment, closing, appliances, and any new things you need for your home.
All while doing the above 3, Bobby and I kept saving our money. Make a plan and make sure it fits your monthly allowance. Just an FYI a rough estimate of how much it cost upfront is around $10,000-$20,000+ depending on what percentage down you are putting. Don’t let that number put you down, there are many grants you can apply for that can cover your down and help with buying a home.. just do your research.
5. Keep looking!
The last piece of advice I have for you, is to keep looking. When you think you may not be able to do it, still look from time to time. I promise you, it helps motivate you to keep pushing.
When this was all said and done, it took Bobby and I 2 years… 2 years of working on our crappy credit of 540… all the way up to 710. That was 2 years of looking at EVERY possible home model there was in town… even out of town, 2 years of being able to save, 2 years of knowing what we truly want in a home, 2 years of knowing what side of town we want to live in, 2 years of knowing what builder we like and don’t like, and 2 years of knowing that this is what we really want. Now, we just need to find our home sweet home…..
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