Admit it. As much as humans are unique individuals, there is a ton we all have in common.
We all share passions. We all share fears. We all cringe when our socks get wet.
When you’re a potential first-time homebuyer, that list of commonalities grows even bigger. You’re a part of a group of other like-minded people who dream of owning a home. You all want the same thing, and most likely have similar obstacles holding you back from getting it.
So again, admit it. As much as you might deny it, you’ve almost definitely uttered these words as a potential first-time homebuyer…
1. “Oof. Yeah, what does my credit score have to be to buy a home?”
According to millennials, the number one thing holding them back from buying their first home is their credit score. They either believe their score’s too low, or their lack of credit history is an automatic “No.”
But in reality, there are programs designed to help people with less-than-perfect credit get a home loan.
The FHA loan is one of the most popular among first-time buyers. In fact, it can help get you in a house with a credit score as low as 580. An FHA loan can be a great choice if you haven’t had the time to build enough credit for a conventional home loan, or if your score’s got some room for improvement. But in the meantime, you can use these tips to help improve your number.
2. “No way I can afford a 20% down payment. Forget that.”
So that FHA option we just mentioned? It also only requires as little as 3.5% down.
The whole “I need 20% down to buy a house” is a myth in desperate need of busting. An FHA loan is not the only option with a small down payment requirement, either. Others, like the HomeReady® and Home Possible® programs, also have small down payment requirements. And for those who are eligible, VA loans can offer down payments as little as 0%.
Moral of the story: Affording that down payment on a home might be closer than you think.
3. *Watches Property Brothers once* “I can’t wait to take a sledgehammer to my own home. But that’s going to blow all of my budget. Not worth it.”
Slow down, slugger. After buying your first home, you’ll have plenty of time and space to design it any way you wish, which is one of the great benefits of being a homeowner. Make the right renovation decisions, and you may even be able to increase its value and see a return on investment!
You may just want to invest in a pair of safety glasses first.
4. “Ugh, I love that house for sale down the street. Just give me, like, 50 more years to save for it.”
Sorry, it’s probably not going to stay on the market for that long.
Chances are, though, you could be saving a little more effectively to put yourself in better shape to buy more quickly.
If you don’t already have a budget, start one. And if you do already have a budget, make it more effective. Break down your spending by category so you can identify which areas you’re spending the most, and where you may be able to cut back.
Insider tip: Budgeting and personal finance apps can also be hugely helpful in getting your financial ducks in a row. Check out our favorite ones here.
5. “Buy a house? I’m not even done paying for college yet.”
Ah yes, student loans. Nobody loves them (literally, nobody), but they were probably necessary to be able to afford the school of your dreams.
Now you want the house of your dreams. Having a great deal of debt can affect your debt-to-income ratio, which is a determining factor in acquiring a home loan. But you might be surprised to learn that student loan debt generally hasn’t deterred people from buying a home, according to research. In fact, education has a positive correlation with home buying.
If you really want that home, it’s time to get serious about budgeting. You may soon be able to join the ranks of so many others and buy your first place.
It’s time to turn “I want to buy a house” into “I just bought my first house.” Check out our crash course to first-time homebuying and learn what you need to know to turn your dream into a reality.