According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2018 54% of all first time home buyers were married couples. For many, having a household with two incomes makes saving for and purchasing a home more affordable. If you and your significant other are about to tie the knot or already have, it’s a good time to consider your plans for purchasing a home. These tips can help you get ready for your next move!
1. Swap Your Wedding Gift Registry for a Savings Account
In the US, the average wedding costs over $25,000. If you can’t bring yourself to opt out of the big day and save that money for a downpayment, enlist your guests’ generosity. Instead of dishes and flatware from a wedding registry, open a savings account and request that your guests make a contribution to the downpayment on your future home. Many will appreciate the wisdom of this request and happily contribute more than a toaster to your future!
2. Pay Off Unsecured Debt
If you and your spouse have incurred debt from your wedding, student loans, or credit cards - pay them down and don’t incur any additional debt. When you are planning to buy a house, you do not want to make any other major purchases (like a car) that will impact your debt-to-income ratio. Having a low debt-to-income ratio is an important factor in your eligibility to buy a home. Having less debt to service will also make your budget more manageable once you have a mortgage and other expenses related to property ownership to take care of.
3. Check Your Credit Scores
Now is a good time to check both you and your partner’s credit scores. Credit reports impact your ability to get a mortgage, the rate at which your loan is offered, and the price of the house you are able to purchase. Don’t rely on the scores your bank or credit cards provide online; these are not always accurate. Talk to a lender who can pull your credit report and help you determine what steps will be necessary to improve your eligibility and get pre-qualified. There is no cost or obligation for this service and with so many mortgage products available for people of different financial means, you’ll want a professional who can educate you and prepare you for this major life decision.
The cost of home ownership in Atlanta - especially in some of the city’s most popular intown communities like Buckhead, Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, and the Upper Westside - has been rapidly rising for years and, with current development plans and projections, that is expected to continue. The home you and your partner can afford today might not be affordable in another year or two. Now is the time to talk to your partner about your future plans for homeownership and start preparing by following the three easy steps we just laid out for you.
If you would like to talk to an expert, contact Team Sterling. Our real estate wealth advisors can give you an update on the market in the areas of town you are interested in living in and we can connect you with reputable lenders that can help you get pre-qualified and be fully prepared for your next big move!