Sunday, August 30, 2015 / by Caleb Pearson
For most people, the main obstacle separating them from their goal of becoming a home owner is their financial situation. However, there are ways to financially prepare for the purchase.
Right now the average home price is $212,400. For those of you crunching numbers right now, that means you need more than $10,000 at closing. Not an easy number to swallow for most.
Always keep your end goal in mind as you house hunt. Be realistic about the average home prices where you want to live. If you want to buy a house in the near future, this means you need to be building up some serious savings. Here are 8 simple steps to help you:
1. Think Twice About Spending This might seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but this represents the essence of your mission. It’s an all too familiar story, you’re at the gas station and decided to pick up soda and snack while you’re there. You’re in line at the grocery store and a magazine catches your eye. All these small purchases really add up. Save your self some unnecessary expenses and bring a water bottle and snack from home next time you go out. Check out the online articles in the magazine you saw at the store. So the first thing you need to do is control your purchases. Remember: to save is not to spend.
2. Open A Savings Account. Many of you may already have one but some of you only have a checking account at the moment so this one is for you. By opening a savings account, you have more opportunity for better rates, no management fees, no risks and the ability to manage your payments. You can also collect some interest on your saving while you’re at it. You want to be in good standing with your bank when you’re applying for a loan or mortgage.
3. Stay Out Of Debt. You may have student loans at this point and that is unfortunately unavoidable, but stay out of credit card debt. Having debt will hurt your credit score and make it difficult to qualify for those big purchases. If you’re trying to save and think that just putting it on a card to pay off later counts, it doesn’t. Bankers generally recommend that your debt does not exceed 10% of your annual budget. So stay on their good side and keep your debt under control.
4. Plan For The Future. Setting goals is an excellent initiative, but they must be achievable. Give yourself a date to achieve them by but make sure it’s attainable. This requires you to be responsible and allows you to progress with unwavering determination towards your goal. If you want to buy a new home, ask about the local real estate market and examine the political and social situation in the region to make sure you make a smart investment.
5. Create A Budget. This is a big one. You can never really fully understand your finances unless you have a budget. With a budget, you can easily see how much your spending on certain things. Maybe your eating out too much and need to start taking your lunch to work. Maybe your online shopping habit has gotten a little out of hand. It’s important to not only to set a budget for rent, utilizes, groceries and other necessary expenditures, but also for going out and personal expenses. It’s not realistic to say you will never eat out and never spend any money on yourself so just set a monthly amount that you are able to afford to spend on things like this.
6. Downsize. Do you have a two bedroom but only use one? It might be a good idea to downsize for six months to a year. Moving to a one-bedroom apartment from a two-bedroom apartment can drop your rent by 20% to 30% in most places. That amount can add up over time and help you save a lot of money. Sacrificing a little space for a short period of time will be worth the savings.
7. Work More. It’s no secret that working more is a great way to put up money. If you have the opportunity, put in a couple hours of overtime. Take any opportunity that comes your way. Not a great idea for all, but you can also consider taking a second job. Even if it’s just a couple weekends a month. Every little bit helps if you’re willing and able.
8. Sell Your Clutter Put yourself to test: You're at home. Open a closet. Look inside. If it's full of clothes you haven't worn, or ‘good ideas at the time’ you haven't used for three years - you don't need them. So why not sell them to someone who will?
So what are you waiting for, get to it!