Tips for first-time homebuyers

The journey to homeownership is a challenging and exciting time. As you get ready for your home purchase, be sure to prepare yourself for the responsibilities and expenses that come with it.

Here are some things to keep in mind prior to your purchase:

Review your finances

As you begin your house hunt, you want to make sure that you’ve thoroughly examined your financial health. One of the biggest factors to consider during your home buying decision is to be sure that the purchase is financially feasible. A good benchmark to determining your monthly mortgage payments is to calculate between 20-40 percent of your gross monthly income. In addition to this, be sure to include homeowner’s insurance, utilities and other monthly living expenses in your budget.

Research neighborhoods

The Internet makes it easy to browse real estate listings anytime, anywhere. However, you don’t want to rely on images and text descriptions when shopping for your future home. Make some time to go out and drive through neighborhoods and explore the surroundings. This will give you firsthand knowledge of highway proximity, nearby grocery stores, local parks and more.

Save for a down payment

Saving early for a down payment will put you in a better financial standing, especially if you’re looking to get approved for a home loan. You should be prepared to pay about 20 percent of the purchase price upfront, but it doesn’t hurt to have more. Remember, you should always have enough funds set aside in case of an emergency.

At Travis Credit Union, we understand that preparation for home ownership begins long before the purchase takes place. To prepare our members for this milestone, we offer free homebuyer seminars. These seminars cover pre-purchase issues such as budgeting, determining how much house is affordable, saving for a down payment and other costs. You'll learn about credit reports, managing your debt-to-income ratio, the types of home loans available and the mortgage lending process.

Visit www.traviscu.org/seminars for more information. Happy house-hunting!

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