As a first time home-buyer you have great responsibility. You have the responsibility to not only find your home but the responsibility that comes with being a homeowner. Owning a home is a lot different from renting your home. Somewhere along the line you have to open your wallet. For obvious reasons like paying your mortgage but also for the things like water heaters that go bad, appliances and yes even the expensive air conditioning units don't last forever...will you have to chose between the needed repairs and your mortgage ?
I'm sure you have all heard the saying before..." You learn to crawl before you walk, you learn to walk before you run..simply baby steps". This is something that should really be thought of when purchasing your new home. If we reflect back to our first car perhaps, usually they are the beat up hand me down from someone or somewhere else. But, it's affordable and it gets from point A to point B. Sure, we wan't to impress our friends and drive around in that convertible but we heard the saying, crawl, then walk, then you run. We have learned at a young age to take those baby steps and eventually "graduate" to something a little bigger, a little better. The same holds true for purchasing your first home. You start off small and eventually graduate to something bigger. Don't get me wrong, everyone wants a nice house, however, the amount of love, time and passion you put into your house is what is going to make it a HOME, rather than a house.
Why am I saying this? I am saying this because too often I am seeing First Time Home-buyers getting in over their head and no-one saying..."You don't have to do this" It's simple, you want a house to call home, your lender tells you for example you qualify for $165,000 great ! However, you do not have to use up the entire $165,000 !! Think of it like a credit card with a $5,000 limit. We have been taught to keep that balance down, taught to only use half of that limit. This will help increase your credit score and keep you out of debt. The same holds true when purchasing your home. You don't have to use all that $165,000 credit line. You can be conservative. You, as the First Time Home-buyer also need to learn to crawl, walk then run all over again. So often I am seeing young couples qualifying for certain amounts and by-passing some great opportunities for homes less than the qualifying amount because they are only focused on the amount their lender qualifies them for. It's about taking responsibility, thinking ahead and yes, thinking about some of the what if's.
What if's like :
- If I lose my job will my spouse be able to pay the mortgage without cutting out any other bills ?
- If I get sick and have to go to the Doctor, will I have to chose between my mortgage and my medicine or Doctor bill ?
- If we decide to have a child, can we afford maternity leave, and daycare when I go back to work and still afford to pay my mortgage.
- Car maintenance, will we have to rob Peter to pay Paul if the car needs a new tire or other maintenance, will I still be able to make my mortgage payment ?
These are the 4 questions a lot of people simply do not ask themselves and the answers can make a world of difference in shopping for your home and / or mortgage. Today, we have to get away from the champagne appetites on beer budgets. With gas prices constantly on the rise, the economy slowing down in so many aspects it is far to easy to allow resentment to alter our minds. We resent the fact that all of our hard earned money goes into every bill we have...and in turn...the biggest bill usually is the first to go and unfortunately it is usually the house payment that many buyers feel the need to go. Resentment is like a horrible disease, once implemented it is VERY HARD to get rid off.
I want you to be able to take pride in your new home. Live happy and comfortably. Even when the what if's happen. I want you to know that just because you qualify for a certain amount does NOT mean you have to use it all. Instead, think of it as an honor to have qualified for an amount of money, to have such credit worthiness that you have qualified for your new home, BUT , be practical, think of the what if's..start off slow, learn to crawl, then walk, then run...it will all come in time and what you fill your new house with is what is going to make it a home, not the dollars spent on it !