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The thank-you notes are mailed, the honeymoon is over, and you and your partner are finally starting your lives together. Buying your first home is a major hurdle, but with some smart planning, you can land the home of your dreams and stay within your budget.
Do your research
Calculate how much house you can afford. It’s fun to scroll through dream mansions on real estate sites, but you and your partner don’t want to fall in love with a house only to realize it’s way out of your budget. Think about where you see yourselves long-term: in the heart of the city or out in the suburbs? Maybe you want to start a family in the near-future, which means you should consider school districts in the area.
Be transparent about financial debt
Any debt you may have affects both you and your partner—by tackling it as a couple, you can make a big difference in how quickly you can pay it off. Make a list of all your debts and focus on the highest-interest loans first: credit cards, school loans, etc. Debt consolidation loans typically offer better interest rates, and roll up your debts into one easy monthly payment—compare options for your credit score that can help you save.
Write a savings plan
Get your plan on paper. If you can save up, a big down payment can reduce the cost of your dream house in the long run, with smaller monthly mortgage payments and less interest. Explore savings accounts and certificates of deposits (CDs) that are more stable and can get you to move-in day sooner. If you’re in the market for a fixer-upper, a home investment loan can help with some big expenses like roof repair or bathroom remodeling, without the high interest rates of credit cards. Stay motivated—you got this! Take a picture of your dream home, save it as your phone background and have weekly check-ins in case you need to get back on track.
Be realistic about timing
To get the most value out of your house, plan to stay there for five years. It might take longer to save up, but that’s okay—it’s better to wait then end up “house poor” with a stressful mortgage. You and your partner need to be prepared to cover unexpected repairs and expenses that aren’t problems for renters—broken appliances, a new roof, yard maintenance, etc.
Find the right agent
A real estate agent is your partner in this whole endeavor, so you need someone you’re comfortable with. Look for an agent that listens to your needs instead of trying to upsell you for the commission. Ask your friends and colleagues for an agent they trust and recommend.
The homebuying process can seem overwhelming, but when you’re prepared and well-informed, you’ll feel confident in finding the house of your dreams. For reliable financing options, Fiona can match you with top providers and the right offers for your needs. Get personalized lending options today.