Are you so desperate for a home loan that you are stretching your finances too far?
Once you get a quote for a home loan don’t be tempted to take the entire amount if it looks like you overqualified. Most consumers fill out an application for a home loan and hope they can get enough money to buy their dream house.
A nice chunk of those consumers also overqualify for their home loans. If go to your local bank, credit union or mortgage broker and you are approved for a $500,000 home loan, they payments might be a bit more than you realistically afford.
Use a mortgage calculator to see your real monthly expenses
If you are not good with your money or would prefer to not stretch your finances to the limit to get a home, get your hands on a good mortgage calculator as soon as you get the figures on your home loan. You might think all will be fine as long as you can own your own property.
However, you must take into account all of the things that come along with owning a home. Sometimes you can get so caught up with the actual dollar amount of your home loan that you forget the other pieces of your budget.
Do you still have cash for entertainment and personal use?
Check your budget to see if you still have money to enjoy things like going out, purchasing new furniture, a family vacation once per year and regular manicures and pedicures. Then add in your student loans, car payments, credit card bills, lunches at work and tickets to take your family to baseball games a couple of times every season.
You also need money for home maintenance and repairs
There are also the home maintenance issues that are not included when you qualify for a home loan. If you live in a part of the country that’s particularly hot or cold, your heating and air conditioning bill could easily add up to a couple of hundred dollars per month.
Your home loan package does not include budgeting for lawnmowers, landscaping and fixing broken windows. Some of these expenses can be put off until a later day, but some of them will require your immediate attention once you move into your home.
Know your spending habits to gauge how much debt you can carry
If you are used to living paycheck to paycheck and generally not taking care of your budget as a renter, you will probably carry over some of the same habits to your new home.
The best way to avoid a financial disaster is to make your home loan a part of your financial life instead of the centerpiece of your financial life. If you are stressed out about money issues from the very first move in, it is unlikely that you will enjoy your new home or anything else in your life for a long time.
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