Judie Docs, Executive Officer, North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA), CSP, MCSP, CGP, CMP, MIRM

Congratulations. You’ve decided to buy a home in the new year. Purchasing a home can yield many benefits. Not only will you enjoy the pride of homeownership, real estate appreciates in value and there are tax incentives available. For most people, a home is the biggest purchase in their lifetime. If you’re ready and willing to become a homeowner this year, the following tips can help you confidently purchase the best home for you.

Evaluate your finances

One of the first steps in homebuying is knowing your credit score. When you learn your credit score it will help determine the interest rate and associated costs you pay on a mortgage loan. In general, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you’ll qualify for. You’ll also need to research how much house you can afford. Talking to a qualified lender can help you determine your price range. Another key step when you are crunching the numbers is to set a down payment goal. The myth remains that you must put down 20 percent to move forward with your purchase. There are options for homeowners available to put down less than 20 percent, such as a Federal Housing Administration loan.

Take an assessment of your needs

If you are firm in your decision to buy a home this year, it is likely because you have a specific reason to purchase one. Maybe you need bigger space or want to move to a school district that fits your family’s needs. While it may seem like an obvious line of reasoning this will help you determine your needs and wants and create a “must haves” list. When you put pen to paper and outline what you need in your new home, this will save you time when you are ready to start looking. Your next home may not meet every single item on your priority list, so you must decide on what factors you can compromise on and how you can realistically stay within your budget.

Set a budget

Your home buying budget should not be set based on what your maximum loan approval amount is. As the buyer, you are the best judge of what you can afford realistically. A good rule of thumb is that your total monthly home expenses should not exceed more than one-third of your gross monthly income. Home buying expenses are not limited to your down payment. Do not forget to determine how much you need to cover loan fees and closing costs. 

Sell Your Current Home

If buying your home this year is contingent upon selling your home, you should be prepared if the timing doesn’t align perfectly. Another consideration is to make sure you have sufficient funds on hand if you are unable to have concurrent home closings. A real estate agent can help you navigate the transitions. A buyer or seller market makes a difference timing the transaction and a real estate agent shed light on local market factors.

To learn more, contact the North Coast Building Industry Association.  We are your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services available to help you in the future as well as more information on the above topic.   So, you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA members, you can visit our website at www.ncbia.com or call 440-934-1090.   We also have a job posting board (under the Industry tab).

Just Built!  Our 24/7 Virtual Parade of Homes!!!  Allows you to look at some of our builders’ new homes and communities on your mobile device or computer at your leisure.  We know time is our greatest asset and via our NCBIA Virtual Parade of Homes, we save you time looking for a new home or a community that fits your lifestyle.  www.ncbia.com/consumers/parade-of-homes

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