Determine how much You can Afford
How much house you can afford is largely dependent on how large a mortgage (home loan) you can handle. Our website offers a mortgage calculator that will help you! But better yet! Give us a call and we will pre-qualify you or have someone pre-qualify you ASAP!
We highly recommend that you become pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start house hunting. This will tell you exactly how much you can afford and will make the closing process go faster. Getting pre-approved also makes you much more attractive to potential sellers because they know they won't have wait days or even weeks before you and they will know if you'll get the OK for a home loan...
In addition, purchasing a home involves more than just making sure you have enough money to pay the mortgage and property tax. You'll also have to be sure you have enough money at hand for what are known as closing costs.
Closing costs could include:
- Earnest money, usually one to five percent of the cost of the house, which you pay as a deposit on the house when you submit your offer. It’s your proof that you’re a serious buyer. Depending on the laws in your state, you may be able to get this money back should you decide not to purchase the house, but you must make this decision within about two weeks of paying the earnest money Your down payment (this is different than earnest money), usually 10 to 20 percent of the cost of the house, which you must pay at closing. Understand that in today's tighter credit market, more mortgage brokers are leery of approving a mortgage for potential homeowners who don't have 10 or 20 percent available for a down payment.
- Mortgage insurance. If you can't make a down payment of at least 20 percent, mortgage lenders charge you extra insurance. This is also known as private mortgage insurance, or PMI.
- Closing costs, usually three to four percent of the cost of the house, to pay for processing all the paperwork.
In addition, as you research whether you can afford to purchase a home, don't forget to include the day-to-day expenses you'll incur. This includes:
- Utilities - Homeowner or condo association dues
- Property taxes (mentioned above)
- City or county taxes