5 Tips to Help You Afford Your First Home

Black couple sitting on the floor of their new home, surrounded by moving boxes

Buying your first home can feel scary. Here at Homie, our goal is to make buying (and selling!) a home easy, transparent, and less expensive than ever before. Financials are often the most intimidating part of the process. After all, it’s easy to look at dream homes, but it’s another to afford one. Here are our top five tips to prepare to buy your first home.

1. Save, Save, Save

This one might seem obvious, but it can be difficult to put aside savings, especially if you’re paying rent. Here are a few ways to save in small ways that make a big difference.

  • Cut back on eating out.
  • Shop prices for internet, auto and home insurance, and other variable costs to make sure you’re getting the best price.
  • Establish and hold yourself to a monthly budget for fun expenses.

While you don’t have to have an entire 20% down payment to put down, it’s a good idea to try to get there! Whatever you have before it comes time to move forward with the purchase, you’ll be better off!

2. Work on Your Credit

Got a credit card? Make sure to make your payments on time! Have a car payment? Make sure you make that on time, too! Debt that you’re paying down on time isn’t likely to hurt you. However, now is not the time to run out and make any big purchases, especially if you’d have to finance the purchase.

If you don’t have any credit or ways to build your credit, you might want to consider getting a credit card with a moderate limit to help you build that history and trust. It’s important to time this well. Start this process a few months before you start the home buying process.

3. Understand Interest Rates

All of the jargon when it comes to getting a loan can be confusing, and one of the most confusing but important things to know BEFORE you say yes to a loan is your interest rate. The interest is basically paying back the loan company the trust they put in you. After all, they loaned out a huge amount. They need to be able to make some money while they wait for you to pay back the entire value of the loan.

When you make your house payment, you’ll pay a certain amount of that to your principal (the actual loan amount) and some of that to interest (amount you’re paying to the loan company every month).

Interest rates aren’t all the same, either. They can vary in percentage but they can also vary in conditions. There are variable and fixed interest rates when it comes to getting a home. These are exactly what they sound like. Fixed is an interest rate that stays the same throughout the life of the loan. A variable interest rate is a rate that changes throughout the life of the loan. Because homes are usually a long-term investment, variable interest rates are pretty rare. However, if you’re planning on selling your home fairly quickly, a variable might be better for you.

This isn’t everything to know about interest rates, but a professional loan officer can be your guide to understanding interest rates and more!

4. Gather Your Info

When it comes to purchasing a home, getting pre-qualified is one of the best things you can do to be more prepared and have a more desirable offer to sellers. To get pre-qualified, a lot of info isn’t necessary. However, when it comes time to get serious and become pre-approved, you’ll need several pieces of personal information. Get together paystubs, tax info, and records of debts.

If you wait until the last minute when you’re on the phone with your loan officer to gather info, the process will feel a lot longer, more stressful, and rushed. Be prepared!

5. Work With Homie Loans™

The right mortgage broker can help you find the right loan with the right interest rate for you and your new purchase. Homie Loans is dedicated to making your transaction as easy and as affordable as possible.

Not every lender is right for every buyer, so let us find the right fit! Check out Homie Loans today.