There are three major benchmarks of a successful home buying candidate: commitment, credit and cost. As a preliminary step to the homebuying plunge, see how you fare in these three categories:
Commitment: In order to clear this hurdle, you must be willing to sacrifice some of those “gypsy feelings” of freedom moving can afford, commit to spend time doing house maintenance and repairs, and be controlled to some degree by the needs of the home (i.e. lawn watering, snow removal, etc.) It’s very much like nurturing a child (albeit it one that doesn’t talk back nor require college tuition!)
And there may be unhappy times. Like when an obnoxious neighbor makes you wish you could mail the keys to the landlord and move on—but you can’t, you’re committed.
Why should you be concerned about home ownership commitment? Because if you live in the home you select for the average time period of seven years, you will have spent more than 2,500 days in it! That’s a considerable investment in time, effort, and money.
Credit: It’s never too early to face the fact that most home buyers have to use credit to swing a purchase this large. That means that you’ll take on the obligation to check your existing credit picture, or establish one (if you haven’t done so already), and be willing to manage your credit once the purchase is complete.
The mortgage lender will not be as sympathetic as the landlord about why the payment is late. And even if you do get by with a late house payment here and there, they can mount up to major roadblocks when you want to sell and purchase again.
Dereliction managing your mortgage and your finances after you purchase a home can result in lost equity or (heaven forbid) foreclosure.
Cost: You may not have a problem shelling out thousands of dollars of your hard-earned savings for a down payment. And it may not even bother you to pay hundreds of dollars in closing costs. But, unfortunately, those up front costs of purchase are just the beginning!
You no longer have a landlord to call when the water heater is on the fritz. You’ll be alone in the dead of night when the furnace gives up the ghost. And you won’t see anyone coming to your rescue with a checkbook when the plumber says “It took a few hours more time than I thought to repair that leak!”
By rating high in homebuyer commitment, credit and cost categories, you’re on your way to being a well-qualified and successful homebuyer!
Written by Julie Garton-Good