For many Americans, a common goal is owning a home: a piece of land, a roof over our heads, and a place where our families can grow and flourish.

If you’re dreaming of buying a home in the Coastal Bend or surrounding area this year, the best way to start the process is to connect with a Real Estate professional to understand what goes into buying a home – your dream home! Once you have a solid understanding of the foundation of what you’ll need to do to accomplish your homeownership goal, then you can answer the questions below to make the best decision for you and your family.

While the process may seem daunting at first, with a little help and guidance, you’ll be feeling comfortable and confident in no time.

 (P.S. Congratulations on starting your journey to homeownership!)

  1. How Can I Better Understand the Process, and How Much Can I Afford?

The process of buying a home is not one to enter into lightly. You need to decide on key factors that will influencer your homebuying decision, like how long you plan on living in the home, if you have children, which school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works the best for you and your significant other, and how your budget will play into your wants and needs for your future home.

Keep in mind, before you start the process to purchase a home, you’ll also need to apply for a mortgage. Lenders will evaluate several factors connected to your financial track record, one of which is your credit history. They’ll want to see how well you’ve been able to minimize past debts, so make sure you’ve been paying your student loans, credit cards, and car loans on time! Most agents have loan officers they trust that they can refer you to, just ask!

According to ConsumerReports.org,

“Financial planners recommend limiting the amount you spend on housing to 25 percent of your monthly budget.”

  1. How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

In addition to knowing how much you can afford on a monthly mortgage payment, understanding how much you’ll need for a down payment is another critical step on your way to homeownership. Thankfully, there are many different options and resources in the market to potentially reduce the amount you may think you need to put down up front. While 20% is often touted as the minimum you’ll need to put down, that daunting number isn’t always necessarily true. A chat with your real estate agent or a financial advisor will help you narrow down you options.

If you’re concerned about saving for a down payment, start small and be consistent. A little bit each month goes a long way. Jumpstart your savings by automatically adding a portion of your monthly paycheck into a separate savings account or house fund. AmericaSaves.org says,

“Over time, these automatic deposits add up. For example, $50 a month accumulates to $600 a year and $3,000 after five years, plus interest that has compounded.”

Before you know it, you’ll have nough for a down payment if you’re disciplined and thoughtful about your process! If you haven’t started saving, it’s better late than never.

  1. Saving Takes Time: Practice Living on a Budget

As tempting as it is to settle in each morning with a fancy cup of coffee from your favorite local shop, putting that daily spend toward your down payment will help accelerate your path to homeownership. It’s the little things that count, so start trying to live on a slightly tighter budget if you aren’t doing so already. A budget will allow you to save more for your down payment and help you pay down other debts to improve your credit score. A survey of Millennial spending shows,

“70 percent of would-be first-time homebuyers will cut spending on spa days, shopping and going to the movies in exchange for purchasing a home within the next year.”

While you don’t need to cut all of the fun and simply joy out of your current lifestyle, making smarter choices and limiting your spending in areas where you can slim down will make a big difference. Take a look at your subscriptions and monthly budget, and see if there is an area that you tend to overspend or if there’s something you don’t really need. That extra money, no matter how small, will make a big impact when you’re saving for a home!

If homeownership in the Coastal Bend area is on your dream list this year, take a good look at what you can prioritize to help you get there, and get in contact with a trusted and reliable real estate company to figure out what you’ll need to realize your dream.

Thank you for reading our real estate and homeowners blog. We are Weichert Realtors – The Place of Houses, and we’re happy to have helped you learn more about how to make the dream of homeownership a reality in 2020!