Follow these tips and expert insight to help you get your budget in order and get yourself ready to buy your first home.
1. Organize Your Finances
You may know how much you have in your bank accounts, but do you know how much you spend on household expenses and luxuries each month? Or which credit card has the highest interest or balance?
Getting a good handle on your money starts with a clear idea of where your money is going. This info will also help you determine what you can afford and your homebuying timeline. Start by breaking down your finances into the following categories:
- Start with creating a basic budget for items like housing, groceries, and gas.
- Account for an emergency saving --In case of an accident or other costly event.
- Now add other investments such as 401K or IRA plans.
- Consider your high-interest debts, meaning anything with an interest rate over 10 percent.
- Include your long-term savings, such as your downpayment savings.
2. Do the Math
Before setting homebuying goals, figure out how much you can afford by crunching the numbers. Here are five steps to figure this out:
- Add up all your sources of income
- List household expenses
- Calculate home ownership costs
- Give your budget room to grow (are there upcoming events such as marriage or children that can alter your income soon?)
- Make adjustments if necessary
3. Set Goals
While the overall goal is to buy a home, setting smaller goals will help you stay on track and motivated until you can finally buy.
As you set goals, remember that you don't need to just on saving. You may also need to cut back on other expenditures. Here are a few goal ideas to consider:
- Save $1,000 in 3 months
- Change to a cheaper gym
- Cancel my streaming subscriptions bill by the end of the year
- Eat out less frequently
4. Update Weekly & Reassess Regularly
The final step is holding yourself accountable to your goals and regularly updating the budget. Remember that a budget is fluid, and many "things" will come up and throw it off. If you make an unplanned purchase, add it to your budget and readjust how much you can save that month.
That's okay! As long as you stay focused on the goals you've set for yourself. If you go over budget one week, reel it in the next week so you can stay on track for the month.
Still unsure how to navigate the financials of the current housing market as a buyer? Experienced loan originators at our office are ready to help make your homeownership dream a reality.