Buying a home together is an exciting step for any couple. It’s a big commitment and leap of faith. Whether you will be living together for the first time or have been renting as a couple for many years, home ownership brings many new privileges and responsibilities. Weigh these considerations before buying a first home with your spouse or partner.
Know Your Credit Scores
The credit scores of both you and your partner will play a big part in what kind of mortgage you qualify for and even which mortgage company will be willing to work with you. If you don’t know your credit score, check it with one of the three major credit bureaus. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian acquire and update your credit history.
If your credit score doesn’t seem fair or good enough, you may want to request a copy of credit report from all three national credit bureaus. If you don’t want to spend the money, you’re entitled to one free credit report each year. Simply fill out the form to request your credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. Choose the reports and then review them online.
If you notice an error on your credit report, you can dispute it with the credit bureau that has falsely reported it. If you get untrue information removed from your report, your credit score should improve, too.
Get Real About How Much House You Can Afford
Think about these two situations. In one, you are stressed and working overtime to meet the housing payment on a house that was beyond your means. In another, you are enjoying a home that’s perhaps smaller than your ideal but otherwise fulfilling your needs. It’s easy to see which is more appealing. Choose a home you can realistically afford to protect your best interests.
To determine the maximum amount of money you can afford to spend on a house payment each month, go through the mortgage loan pre-approval process with your partner. According to Forbes, your mortgage payments should not be higher than 28 percent of your income each month.
Also look at the other new expenses the house will bring into your life. From home repairs to home insurance, home ownership isn’t cheap. Also consider property taxes that will be due every year. Anticipate the worst when it comes to how much it will cost to buy and maintain the home beyond the initial purchase. It’s better to err on the side of overestimating.
Beyond that, make or assess the monthly budget you’ll have as a couple. See how much money you can delegate to the mortgage payment without compromising on necessary things. (Saving money for emergencies and your future counts as necessary!)
After adding all current expenses and the ones that home ownership will add to your life, subtract that total from your shared income to see how much you and your partner can afford to spend on a home. Then, when you search for a home, do not look at houses that are beyond your means.
Determine the Kind of Home You Both Want to Share
Once you have a better idea of what you can afford, the fun begins! You and your partner should start looking at homes. Your real estate agent will be able to point you in the direction of houses within your budget. As you look for homes, make lists of what either of you view as deal breakers. That will make it easier to move on quickly from houses that one of you won’t like.
More importantly, make a list of the things that you both most want in a house. Put small and big things on this list. Whether you want French windows, a swimming pool, or a house without a homeowner’s association, knowing what you empowers you to find it.
Finally, enlist the help of an experienced real estate agent when you are ready to look for a home to buy with your significant other. Contact Charles L Moles Real Estate, LLC today to speak to a caring member of our team about your home-buying needs. We want to help you and your partner find your dream home to share together.