For many Americans, making the jump to buying that first house is a significant achievement that allows them to put their mark on their own space, while creating room for family and pets.
But how do you know you’re ready?
Americans see homeownership as an investment in their future, yet they are concerned about the steps they need to take to put themselves into a position to buy, according to the “How Americans View Homeownership” survey conducted by The Harris Poll April 17–29, 2019, among 1,004 U.S. adults 21 and older on behalf of Wells Fargo. The study showed that 44 percent of non-homeowners identified saving for a down payment as a top barrier to buying, more so than any other obstacle.
“Homeownership is very much a part of the American Dream, yet too many first-time buyers don’t know where to start,” says Liz Bryant, Wells Fargo Home Lending’s national retail sales leader. “We find that a great way to get moving down the path to homeownership is with a conversation. By reaching out to your mortgage lender, your banker or even a housing counselor, you can start putting together a plan that will help get you on your way.”
Identify a lender who has a breadth of home loan options, including low down payment mortgages, and who is willing to provide you with personalized guidance. Then just start the conversation.
Your mortgage consultant can help, and so can a financial health banker or a housing counselor. A discussion about spending, saving, debt and credit will help you make decisions about what you can afford, how much you need to save and whether you need to do work to improve your credit score.
If you don’t already have one, create a budget for your monthly spending, so you can identify areas where you can save. Set aside unexpected windfalls, such as tax refunds, to grow savings.
While there’s room for student loans and credit card debt, a good rule of thumb is to keep your overall debt level -- including your new mortgage -- at or below 36 percent of gross monthly income.
Consider setting aside 1-2 percent of the purchase price of your home each year for maintenance projects. If that seems like too much, start with less and work your way up.
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