Anxiety About Buying a Home?
5 First-Time Homeowner Myths Debunked
07.29.2021 | Category: Homebuying
We know that the prospect of buying your first home can be a fear inducing experience. Not only because you’ve never done it before, but also because it’s a big responsibility. But did you know that a homeowner’s average median net worth is 40x greater than that of a non-homeowner (according to recent data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances)? While that fact greatly favors buyers, we know that the prospect of buying a home can cause worry. One thing we've seen in the data from the Survey of Consumer Finances is that a person's ability to purchase real estate has direct ties to the amount of wealth they're able to generate over their lifetime.
Over the years we’ve heard a handful of common first-time home buyer fears, but it shouldn't hold you back from exploring your options for investing in real estate. Here are our tips on how to overcome these fears.
You've Had a Credit Mishap or Two in the Past
If you’ve had a credit mishap (or two) in the past and would like to purchase a home, there are several loan programs that may be able to bring home ownership within reach. Whether it’s an FHA, USDA or VA loan, these loan programs are specifically designed for first-time home buyers who might have less than perfect credit. Working with a loan officer early in the process to prequalify can help you better understand your financing options and credit profile.
You Have Student Loan Debt
If you’ve recently graduated college, and hope to become a first-time home buyer, don’t let student loan debt deter you from exploring your options. At a basic level, when lenders look at your ability to qualify for a mortgage, they are looking for you, as a borrower, to have a steady source of income and have a track record of making on-time monthly payments on your debts. As part of the mortgage process, they'll also look at your debt-to-income ratio to ensure that you can manage your new mortgage payment and other credit obligations.
If you have student loan debt, the biggest thing you’ll need to consider is budgeting. How are you handling your current monthly budget? Do you feel like you have extra money left at the end of the month after all of your bills have been paid? Remember the costs associated with buying a home also include the ongoing upkeep and maintenance. If you have a reliable source of income and room in your budget, you shouldn’t let your student loan payment stop you from pursuing your goal of homeownership. Remember, there’s no rule that says you have to be 100% debt free before you buy a home.
You Don't Have Enough Saved for a Large Down Payment
This is consistently one of biggest misconceptions that we hear when working with first-time home buyers. You don't need to have a 20% down payment to be able purchase a new home.
We also know that having student loan payments can make it harder to save for a down payment.
It’s important to note that there are plenty of home loan programs with $0 down or low down payment options. Yes, down payments affect both the balance of your loan and the amount that you will pay per month. Generally, the more you put down on your new home purchase, the lower your interest rate and monthly payment will be. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t have options and that you shouldn’t talk to a mortgage lender about getting pre-qualified.
You're Not Sure You Want to Stay Put for the Next 30 Years
We know that buying a home can feel permanent, but the truth is, depending on the market, 3-5 years in a home is a manageable length of time for your home to appreciate and not take a loss. And don't forget, if you suddenly decide that you want to move, you could rent out your home short or long term. While many loan programs initially have rules about occupancy, and it’s important to check your local laws and regulations surrounding rentals, there’s plenty of opportunity to put your home to work for you. While none of us have a crystal ball, if you like the city you live in and your current job situation is favorable, then you might want to consider investing in real estate.
Home Maintenance Sounds Hard
If being handy isn’t part of your natural skill set then the idea of owning a home may feel like a headache. There’s no denying that when you own a home, there are always projects around the house that you'll want to take care of. From fixing a leaky pipe to shoveling the driveway or dealing with the lawn - there’s bound to be something. But the important thing to remember is that those tasks or maintenance items can be outsourced.
As you consider purchasing, we recommend also evaluating what sort of maintenance you might be comfortable handling yourself, and what you may want to hire someone to take care of for you. The key is in budgeting out what you’re going to feel comfortable with as a homeowner and making sure the numbers work.
While the path to homeownership may not always be smooth, one thing we know for sure: you shouldn't let fears or misconceptions stop you from exploring your buying options. For many, real estate is still one of the smartest financial investments that we can make to increase our net worth. If you’re ready to start exploring your buying options, give us a call at 1-800-24-RATES or start the process online below.