Is buying a home in 2017 one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Here I will tell you the top 3 things you must do this year to make your dream a reality, adapted from Realtor.com.
- Automate your savings. Whether you plan to put 3 percent or 20 percent down, saving for a down payment requires discipline. I recommend that you automatically set aside savings, whether it is an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings each month or a payroll deduction that goes directly into your savings account. However you do it, make saving money automatic. If you don’t see the money, you won’t spend it, right?
- Establish credit and maintain a solid credit history. It can take time to build up credit, but if you do it right, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Start with a low interest rate credit card, or a department store card like Macy’s or Target. If you’re paying on a student loan, be sure that’s being reported in your name. Installment loans like car loans are also helpful in establishing credit. Now that you’ve got credit, keep it clean by paying on time every month and by not exceeding more than 30 percent of your total credit limit on each of your accounts. For example, if your Macy’s card has a $1,000 credit limit, don’t spend more than 30 percent of that limit. Make sure you check your credit periodically (once a year) to be sure there aren’t any discrepancies.
- Stick to a budget. Owning a home is a big investment, and along with it, come big bills – utilities, homeowner’s insurance, mortgage payments, property taxes and more. To get used to those higher bills, learn to develop and stick to a budget. This will make it easier to discipline yourself once you move into your dream house to be sure you can afford it.
As with any new habit, these behaviors will take time to become ingrained in you, but just think at the reward once you’ve mastered them – your very own home! Well worth the hard work.