Cheryl Caldwell - William Raveis - The Dolores Person Group



Posted by Cheryl Caldwell on 11/1/2019

There’s a lot of things to think about before buying a home--some financial, others personal. Most people tend to focus on one or the other. However, both are instrumental in choosing the right house and buying at the right time.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can determine if you’re ready for homeownership. We’ll discuss things like credit scores and down payments, but also important life factors like your career and future plans.

Getting your finances in order

There are a few simple things you can do right now that will help you understand if you’re financially secure enough to start looking at houses. First, you’ll want to look up your credit score.

Lenders strongly consider your credit when determining how much risk is involved in lending to you. A higher credit score can not only get you approved for a mortgage, it can lower your interest rate and make you eligible to borrow without having to pay private mortgage insurance.

The amount of money this saves seems trivial in the short term, but over the lifespan of your loan it can save you tens of thousands of dollars. So, read a free credit report and if your credit is lower than 700 start finding ways to improve your credit.

In the meantime, you’ll want to save for a down payment. While it’s possible to buy a home with a small or no down payment, it can come back to haunt you in the form of interest as you pay off your loan. Furthermore, many lenders won’t pre-approve you unless you make a down payment of a minimum amount (often 20% of the loan).

If you have a high credit score and you’ve saved for a down payment, another thing to check off your list would be proving your stable income. This can be difficult for the self-employed, contract workers, or people who have recently changed jobs.

Lenders want to see that you have a stable income history to ensure that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage each month. If you recently changed jobs or are in between jobs, it could be to your benefit to wait 3-6 months before getting pre-approved. In that time, you can continue to raise your credit and save for a down payment, further increasing your chances of getting a low-interest loan.

Preparing for homeownership

While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, so are the personal aspects. You’ll want to consider several life factors before buying a home.

First, think about your longterm goals. Do you want to live in the same area for the next 10 to 30 years? Will your career bring you to different regions or will you attend school somewhere else? These questions will help you decide if it’s a good time to buy or a better investment to save money while renting.

If you have a family (or plan on having one soon), you’ll also have to find a way to balance all of your living needs.

Finally, ask yourself if you have time for homeownership. Many people who are used to renting aren’t aware of the amount of time and money it takes to maintain a home. You’ll have more bills, you’ll have to mow your own lawn, and you’ll be responsible for maintenance of your home.





Posted by Cheryl Caldwell on 2/15/2019

Once you are a homeowner, you now are responsible for all the maintenance on your property. How often and what time of year to do any of those maintenance or repairs can be a mystery if you have never owned a detached single-family home before. Creating a schedule for all those things that you need to check on around the property and inside your home may be helpful. Keeping a repair/maintenance journal to track projects can give you peace of mind. This schedule, or journal, can be a simple handwritten notebook or spreadsheet saved on your computer.

Keeping up the Outside 

Your roof, siding, and fences take on all the year-round weather; visually inspect each of them at least once a year. According to NAHB, the National Association of Home Builders, your roof should be examined by a qualified roofer once every three years. Keeping any landscaping from rubbing up against the siding and cleaning the siding once a year helps to prolong the life of the materials. Fences in good working order secure your property and maintain curb appeal. Gutters and your downspouts need to be kept clear to work properly; so, they may require more frequent inspections during the year to ensure they are functioning well. In-ground sprinkler systems can experience cracked water lines in hard freezes. Sprinklers can also get damaged by lawn mowers or weed trimmers so test the system before winter set in and at the beginning of the watering season to ensure the system is in good repair. Larger trees and shrubs that are vulnerable to damaging property in inclement weather conditions so, keeping them healthy and trimmed can prevent possible damage. 

Keeping up the Inside

Furnace, air ducts, dryer vents, these all need to have regular inspections and maintenance done. The interior items can be checked on anytime during the year but having a consistent routine increases the chance those checks get completed. Checking the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a month is good but, actually testing them is better. Have an annual chimney checkup from a professional to give you the all clear for those fireplaces. Larger appliances may need occasional checkups to keep them running efficiently. Keeping the mechanics of your home at optimal operating condition will not only provide for the longevity of that appliance but save you money on your utility bills.