Growing up I always knew I wanted to own my own home. There was just something about knowing that I was working towards making something completely mine that was very appealing to me. And even more so than that, the process of becoming a home owner was something that interested me intensely. Now I know this may not sound like an exciting exploit to some, but to me determining the best path to home ownership was fascinating.
In fact, I was so taken with the process that before I even owned MY own home, I became a loan officer and helped others make their dream of home ownership come true. I guess deep down a part of me wanted to ensure that I was so comfortable with the process by the time I was ready to purchase myself that there would be no questions. No doubt. And no worries that I wasn’t fully prepared. And so I explored the world of mortgages, financing, insurance and closing costs, all the while storing up knowledge that would help me one day make my own purchase.
Then, about three years into my career in mortgages, I met my husband. We talked long and hard. We discussed all that I had seen and learned. And we decided that now was the time to uproot our lives, move across the state and buy our very first house. Where I had thought I was prepared, instead I found myself terrified! And I quickly learned that when it comes to the dream of owning your own home, there are a few steps that will make your dream of achieving perfection in your residence a reality for you.
Determine What You Can Afford: After being in the mortgage industry for many years, this is a point I can’t stress enough! While the temptation to find a house that checks every box on your list can be strong, setting a budget and sticking to it is essential in home ownership success. After all, if you end up in a home you really can’t afford, it’s going to cause stress that you really don’t need. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to your budget, Capital One recommends a great rule of thumb is to look at houses that are 2.5 times your annual salary with a mortgage that is not more than 28% of your gross (pre-tax) household monthly income. They also have a great online mortgage calculator that will help you determine what price range you should really be looking in!
Research Neighborhood and Schools: While the temptation to find the perfect house can seem to override everything else, if you find the perfect house in the imperfect location, use caution! I so wish someone had told me this when we were purchasing because I ended up in a home I love that is forty (yes FORTY) minutes from my children’s schools. Looking back, I could have likely found something I loved just as much closer to their school but I was so blinded by the items on MY list that I didn’t look at future needs that were just as important.
Look at the Big Picture: When you’re buying your first home, it can be so easy to get wrapped on in the little things…the color of the walls, the landscaping of the yard. Don’t focus on things that you CAN change. Focus on the things you CAN’T! Finding a home with the right layout and essentials like a garage if that matters to you should be at the top of your list. Because while you may have to live with pink walls for a month or two, it’s better than living with a layout you hate forever.
Know Where to Find Help: Becoming a first time home owner is not something anyone should have to do alone. There are too many questions. Too many uncertainties. Too many unexpected things that can arise. And I’ll admit, even a seasoned professional like me needed a little bit of help! So where do I turn when I have questions about home ownership? Well, for me having all the resources I need in one place is super important. After all, during the purchasing process you will likely already be stressed enough without having to jump from site to site and piece together information. That’s what I find so great about the Capital One Home Loans Online Neighborhood! This newly launched resource ties in perfectly with Capital One’s goal of helping first-time homebuyers understand how the home loan process works.
It’s filled full of resources, videos and information that are essential when buying your first home and takes the guesswork out of making one of the biggest decisions of your life! With the ability to help you determine what you can afford, make sense of terms that may not be in your vocabulary and even decide if now is the right time to buy and what financing options are available to you, Capital One has created a community I wish I had access to when I was going through the process of buying my first home! I know it would have saved me many sleepless nights and helped to make my experience of buying a home better! And it would have also helped ensure that I could feel great about finding a home that was just right for me.
So if you’ve been dreaming of home ownership or even if you’ve started the process of finding your perfect home, don’t do it alone! Know that resources you can trust are at your fingertips. Then learn more about Capital One Home Loans and how they can help you get a home by visiting https://www.capitalone.com/home-loans/direct/learning-center or call 855-900-8886.
Tell me, what does your dream home look like?