Fulfilling the American Dream! It’s something we all dream of but how do we know when it’s time to actively pursue that dream? Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make over the course of your lifetime both financially and emotionally. The fear of not knowing can be crippling and cause many to miss out on achieving the American Dream. I’ve put together a roadmap to help you evaluate if you could be ready to buy a home.
As a believer I would first recommend seeking wisdom from God regarding buying a home. God tells us in Matthew 7:7 to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” God knows the desires of our heart but it is up to us to ask and seek His timing in all things. I have seen clients who were ready to buy but for whatever reason God put them on hold. I have also seen clients not think they were ready but God made a way for them when it didn’t seem possible. The moral of the story is to spend time in prayer about such a major decision.
The next step is to sit down and do a full evaluation of your life. Where are you in your career? Education? Relationship? How long will you be in this current area? A year, 5 years, forever? Are you ready to grow your family? This is the time to sit down and figure out your goals for the foreseeable future. Life will still happen and things will change but do your best to be honest with yourself. You are the only person who can do this step.
Once you have made it through the first two steps, now comes the not so fun part. Well, for most, the not so fun part. It’s time to evaluate your finances and see if you are prepared for the cost of homeownership. I’m not even talking about a down payment (many first time home buyers can qualify for little to no money down mortgage options). Do you have the money for the monthly payments as well as insurance, property taxes, utilities, and home maintenance and repairs? As a homeowner you need a rainy day fund because the rains will come. The roof will leak or the hvac unit will go out or the refrigerator will go kaput and these things will have to be handled. The costs will vary depending on where you live so do some research or talk to a local realtor to get an idea on costs associated with owning a home in your area.
Now it is time to talk to a mortgage lender to see if you can get a pre-qualification for a loan. The lender will work with you looking at your current financial situation and let you know how much you would be approved for. Keep in mind, just because you are pre-approved for a certain amount does not mean you should spend that much. Play with the numbers until you get to a number you are comfortable with. There are tons of available mortgage calculators online that can help you with this step.
Every single situation is different and you should do your own homework as well as seek the advice of trusted professionals in your area. Your realtor, mortgage lender and your financial advisor are all great resources to help you through this process.