– OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO FIRST TIME BUYERS –
Home buying is an exciting process. You can make sure it stays that way by reviewing the information and tips that I’ll provide to you.
Your first job is to figure out how much you can and want to spend on your new home. It’s simpler for us to work backwards in the process, starting off with how much you want to spend. By knowing your budget, we can then determine the areas and types of properties that we should target. Mortgage rates change daily, so it’s best to speak with a mortgage professional before you begin your home search to make sure we’re looking at homes that are within your budget. Since you’ll be working very closely with your mortgage professional throughout your home buying journey, I recommend you prioritize working with someone who is knowledgeable, has time for you, and whom you feel you can trust. As I’ve mentioned, the rates change daily, so there’s no guarantee any particular bank or loan officer can provide you with the rate you saw when you first met them.
A good way to begin setting your home-buying budget is to figure out what you want to pay, monthly, for all of your housing-related costs (e.g. mortgage, taxes, maintenance & insurance). At the same time, try to get a sense of what your maximum tolerable budget is. These figures will help the lender and me to understand your home options.
WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER BUYING
As of May 2022, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Seattle was over $2,400 per month, which is also about the monthly cost of a 5.375% mortgage on a ~$550,000 property with 20% down. The property you own, though, would be eligible for tax deductions on the mortgage interest and property taxes, and would not be subject to the rental market’s pricing fluctuations.
Once you purchase a particular home, much of your housing costs are not exposed to inflation if you use a fixed-rate mortgage for your purchase.
Your property will also accumulate equity. Equity is simply the difference between the fair market value of your home and the amount remaining on your mortgage. Over time, equity can be increased in two ways:
1. The value of your home increases through appreciation, physical improvements, etc.
2. You pay down the principal on your mortgage.
You can also borrow against the equity of your home to make improvements to it that will increase its value or your enjoyment of the property, as well as to complete necessary repairs.
Let’s move onto the financing section where I’ll talk more about your options and how the loan process works.