While there is nothing wrong with renting, many people dream of living in a place that they can call their own. However, the process of buying a home is more complicated than buying tickets to a game or a new car. What are some ways that you can move on from an apartment to a home?
Get Your Finances Together
Lenders will want to see that you have a stable income, a credit score of 640 or more and money in the bank. If you are self-employed, you will need to show two years of income statements, and those numbers will be averaged to determine your qualifying income. Those who receive alimony payments or have other income outside of their wages should find evidence of that income to increase the odds of mortgage loan approval.
Take Advantage of Government Assistance
There are many local, state and federal housing assistance programs that you should look into. Those who make less than $36,000 a year may be eligible for USDA loans that come with no down payment.
Programs like CalHFA (California Housing Finance Agency) also provide grants that can be used for down payments and closing costs. FHA loans allow you to have your down payment gifted by a friend or family member. Start by searching on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, hud.gov to find what you are eligible for.
Check Your Criminal Background
Applicants who have been charged with a crime may not be able to apply for government loans or take part in financial assistance programs. Therefore, it may be a good idea to look into getting your record expunged to make the process easier. The process is a relatively quick and easy one, and an attorney may be able to help you do it right.
Find a Roommate
Just because you own a home doesn't mean that you have to occupy it on your own. Duplexes are often a good investment for first-time buyers because you can occupy half of the house while a tenant occupies the other half. You get the privacy of your own living space without the burden of making the entire mortgage payment. If you are on good terms with your tenant, he or she may also provide child or pet care or help make repairs to the property.
If your goal is to move into a home, the best time to start planning the move is now. It isn't uncommon to spend weeks or months looking for a home or going through the process of getting a mortgage. By getting your information together and targeting certain areas to look for homes in, you can make the process a smoother one.