With the rising prices in the housing market skyrocketing over the last couple of years, potential homeowners have often lost hope in achieving their goals. If that includes you, don't give up now. Financial indicators point to the very real possibility of significant price drops in 2023, once again opening the door to your home purchase. Our real estate agents want to help you make sure your finances are in order by sharing these five focal points for your consideration.
Whether you're at the beginning of the process or ready to buy, contact us to help you with your next steps toward homeownership.
How big should your down payment be?
When home prices rise, so do the down payments required to purchase those homes. This has long posed a roadblock for many would-be first-time homebuyers. But it doesn't have to be the case.
Our real estate agents share everything you need to know about making a down payment on a home.
A down payment is simply the part of the home's purchase price you pay upfront. It might be the biggest check you ever write in your life, and the amount you pay could impact your finances for years, if not decades.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, you don't have to put 20 percent down on a house. There's no law or rule for a universal minimum down payment. The amount you should put down is a personal decision that depends on what's best for your finances. Lenders require homebuyers to make a down payment for most mortgages. For instance, the amount is usually 3% of the home's price for conventional mortgages.
On that note, most lenders will require a down payment of 20 percent to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI)—in case you're wondering where the 20 percent number comes from. Far from most types of insurance, this legally binding document protects the lender's vested interest in the home, not the homeowner.
When you make a down payment of less than 20 percent, your mortgage loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is over 80 percent. As such, you present a higher risk profile to the lender, which necessitates purchasing private mortgage insurance to offset this risk. PMI will increase your monthly mortgage costs until you have accumulated enough equity in the home that the lender no longer considers you high risk. So, there are advantages to making a larger down payment.
Another advantage is lower interest rates. A solid down payment may signify that you're less likely to default on your loan, which may prompt lenders to reduce your mortgage interest rate. Even saving a fraction of a percent on your interest rate could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Still, your overall interest will depend on factors other than your down payment, such as credit scores, home price, and loan term.
As mentioned, down payment requirements vary depending on the type of mortgage you qualify for. For instance, if you qualify for government loans, your down payment may be as low as zero.
There are several options for a mortgage with no or low down payment:
It's important to weigh your mortgage options before committing to a down payment amount. Even though a 20 percent down payment is ideal, you shouldn't fixate on it. The right amount depends on numerous factors, including how much you can comfortably afford. You don't want your down payment to be so large that it leaves you with too little savings.
Before you peruse real estate listings or pick out curtains, there's one thing you need to check that's more important than anything on your list. That one thing is your credit score because it will determine your ability to qualify for a mortgage and the amount of money you'll pay over the life of that loan. What you find may surprise you, but our real estate agents know there are some things you can do to get those numbers up to where you can qualify for the most favorable loan terms and the best interest rates.
The average credit score in the United States is 711. That's considered "good" credit. Those with "very good" credit have scores between 740-799, and those with "exceptional" credit fall between 800-850. These three ranges will allow you to qualify for most loans, but the higher the score, the better the loan terms and the lower the lender's interest rates.
When your credit is in order, and you're ready to buy, contact us, and we'll help you find the home of your dreams. It's our pleasure to help guide you through the process and give you the reliable advice you need to secure the most favorable mortgage for your future home!