Navigating the Real Estate Landscape: Budget
Buying a house is like embarking on an exciting, thrilling adventure—a significant milestone in life’s journey. My job is to help you, as my client, navigate this journey by providing clarity and confidence so that the adventure has less thrills and more excitement!
This begins with sitting down together for a buyer consultation in order to develop a plan specific to your families dreams and desires. During this consultation the main goal is to make sure I understand exactly what you are looking for as well as help you make decisions to get us MOVING in the right direction.
Step one in your house hunting journey is to find a trusted realtor to work with. This is not always where people begin, but when you find the right agent, this step will prove to be a major win for you. Check out my article about finding the right agent for you here.
Once that most important step has been completed. The very next thing will be to determine your budget. There are many factors to consider for your financial situation, including down payment, monthly mortgage affordability, and closing costs. Determining these numbers is a fundamental initial step in the home-buying journey. Let’s dive deeper into this crucial process.
Assess Your Finances:
- Evaluate Your Income and Expenses: Start by thoroughly reviewing your monthly income and expenses. Consider all sources of income and track your spending habits. This gives you a clear picture of your financial health.
- Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): Lenders often use DTI to assess your ability to manage monthly payments. Divide your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income to get this ratio. Aim for a DTI of 36% or lower.
- Save for a Down Payment: Determine how much you can afford to put down as a down payment. Traditionally, 20% has been the norm, however there are many loan programs that offer lower down payment options.
Understand Additional Costs:
- Closing Costs: Beyond the down payment, factor in closing costs. These cover various fees associated with finalizing the sale, such as appraisal fees, title insurance, attorney fees, and more. They typically range from 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price. I offer my buyers a specific list of expected cost during our buyer consultation.
- Emergency Fund and Maintenance: Plan for unexpected expenses and ongoing maintenance. An emergency fund cushions you against unexpected repairs, while routine maintenance keeps your home in top shape. Once you purchase a home with Move With Mestayer Properties you will receive weekly emails on home maintenance tips and reminders in order to help you avoid those surprise expenses.
- Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage: Now that you have a basic idea of your finances, it’s time to speak to a lender. This involves submitting financial documents to a mortgage lender who evaluates your creditworthiness and pre-approves you for a loan amount. This step provides a clear idea of what you can afford and strengthens your position as a serious buyer.
- What Can You Comfortably Afford?: While lenders might approve you for a certain loan amount, it’s crucial to align this with what you’re comfortable paying each month. During our buyer consultation, we will consider your lifestyle, future goals, and potential changes in income to determine what price range fits the big picture of your life. This is one way I help my clients make smart real estate decisions.
- Plan for Future Expenses: Anticipate future financial changes, such as growing your family, career shifts, or retirement plans. Ensure your housing costs remain manageable amid life’s fluctuations.
Remember, this budget-setting phase requires a balance between your financial capacity and your homeownership aspirations. It’s not just about what you can afford now but also about safeguarding your financial stability in the future.
I'm Jennifer Mestayer (Med-E-A) and I love helping Cypress families buy and sell their
homes as they move through the varying stages of life. From first homes to forever homes...
Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
Cy-Fair Real Estate
16718 House & Haul Rd, St N
Cypress, TX 77433
schedule your free consultation