1.You Stick to a Budget
Financial experts will tell you that creating and sticking to a budget is a sign of financial maturity. With the over 1.5 million foreclosures in the United States, it’s easy to understand why this is so important. If you have already created a budget and have stuck to it, you’re more ready than the next guy to own your own home. When you follow a budget, you know exactly where your money is going each month. When you know where your money is going, you know whether or not you can afford a home of your own.
2.You Have a Down Payment
The old rule of thumb still stands: Enough money should be saved for a 20 percent down payment on a house. When you put 20 percent down on a home, you immediately have equity built into the property and you negate the necessity of private mortgage insurance. Even with a 20 percent down payment, you should still stay away from home’s that are out of your realistic price range. If you’ve budgeted for a $150,000 house, having 20 percent to put down doesn’t mean that you should look for an $180,000 home.
3.Your Income is Stable
Finding a stable job can be tough to do in today’s economy, but if you have a stable source of income, you can feel relatively safe making an investment in a home. If you are reliably employed, don’t forget to factor in any life-changes that may crop up in the near or distant future. Do you plan to go back to school? Are you going to start a family? Budget for the home you can afford five years from now, not the one you can afford today.
4.Your Credit Score is High
The higher your credit score, the better your interest rate will be. The better your credit score, the more likely you are to be accepted for a loan. If your credit is in excellent shape, you’re ready to buy a home. If, on the other hand, your credit needs some work, whip it into shape before you being the home-buying process. Before you buy a house, your debts should be paid off, any collections accounts should be closed satisfactorily, and your credit score should be in the 700’s.
5.You Have an Emergency Account
Did you know that you should have enough money in the bank to cover at least three month worth of debt? If you have an emergency account, you can feel safe buying a home. Add your estimated mortgage payment, estimated utilities, and any recurring debts that you have, and multiply that number by three. The resultant number is the amount that you should have stashed away in the case of job loss, illness or other financial emergency.
If you are thinking of buying a home, make sure that you are 100 percent ready. Re-read the tips above and, if they apply to you, the dream of owning your own home is within reach. If one or more doesn’t apply to you, you have some work to do. Owning a home isn’t a snap decision, it’s a process. In the end, you’ll be glad that you took your time and did it right.