Homeownership is a huge financial commitment that needs careful planning. It’s a decision that should not be taken lightly. There’s a lot of responsibilities like paying the mortgage, facing insurance costs, property taxes, routine maintenance expenses and repair costs for anything that goes wrong in a home.
Since homeownership is a long-term investment, it’s very important to determine if you are fully prepared for the commitment. So, if any of the following signs hit you, you may want to delay the home-buying process.
1. Having bad credit
Credit is a major bump on the road of homeownership. If you’ve had a few hiccups in your credit history, then your journey won’t be smooth going. Mortgage lenders consider not stellar credit history as a higher risk and you may not get approved. Here’s how to know if you have bad credit:
- Excellent Credit: 781-850
- Good Credit: 661-780
- Fair Credit: 601-660
- Poor Credit: 501-600
- Bad Credit: below 500
But if you find out that the capabilities of your credit score are low, you have a chance of improving it by paying your bills on time, reducing the debts you owe, keeping your balances low and disputing any inaccuracies on your credit reports. Don’t give up hope and keep working.
2. Having a low income
Mortgage interest rates and home prices have risen. If you have an irregular income, then it is best to postpone your home purchase and work for it first. Before granting you a loan, lenders will look at how you can afford your mortgage payments. They will examine your budget and check if your income is enough to cover your bills, living costs, and mortgage repayments. With the right attitude, you will soon get onto the home property ladder. You just need to start saving as soon as possible and cut out luxuries.
3. Don’t have enough savings
To overcome surprising financial hurdles and avoid getting into debt during the home buying process, having ample savings is everything. You also need to be financially equipped for other expenses. Savings come in handy and are useful during several unforeseen circumstances like home furnishing expenses and repairs. Most mortgage lenders consider how much savings you have in the bank before approving your loan. In case things get too tight, you can ensure that you’ll have the funds to fill mortgage payments by having a good amount in savings.
4. Can’t afford a downpayment
Underestimating your down payment could be the biggest mistake in buying a house. Though it is not always required in home buying, having a downpayment ready is recommended to get the best deals and rates. If you want to bring down your monthly mortgage, you should aim for at least 20% of the home’s price as a down payment. But if you don’t have it yet, then don’t sweat. There are plenty of options you can dig into.
5. Have deep debts to settle
Do you have consumer debts like student loans, auto loans and credit card bills to pay off every month? If yes, then you will have a bad start with homeownership. Imagine having a big part of your income going towards settling your debts. Now, you’ll add a mortgage to your monthly responsibilities. How about that? Lenders consider this as a red flag for not managing your finances properly.
If you start settling your debts now, along with saving enough for your dream home, your credit score will improve and it would be easier for you to afford a mortgage.
6. Don’t have a stable job and income
Another factor that mortgage lenders look at when determining if you’re a good fit for homeownership is your job stability and income. They’ll definitely hesitate to give you a loan if you’ve been job-hopping and your income fluctuates every several months. Before climbing the property ladder, evaluate your career goals first. Are you happy with your job right now? Is your income enough to cover housing expenses? If not, then it’s time for you to look for a more stable job and income in order to not just afford the home loan, but also the expenses that come with homeownership in the long run.
Indeed, buying a house can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not without costs. It’s a big life decision that’s more than just financials. Always look at the bigger picture. Consider the factors of having a family and career.
Eventually, most people admire the idea of homeownership. Who doesn’t? But, if now isn’t the right time, don’t rush. Take your time and prepare yourself for a happy and stress-free homeownership.
Daisy Raouph, CLU, CHS, specializes in mortgage financing solutions and financial services. A Mortgage Broker and Financial Security Advisor with over 30 years of experience in financial services. Contact us today to review your mortgage financing options. We can help!