Homeownership is a shared dream of many young couples and families, but too often it feels like a mirage in the desert… a shining fantasy that you’ll never actually reach. The fact is that, while buying a house is a big step and requires quite a bit of stability, you may be better-prepared to take the leap than you thought! Read on to find out if you could, in fact, buy a house right now.
You make enough money for a mortgage.
If only rich people could afford houses, there wouldn’t be whole towns full of normal, non-1% homeowners getting by just fine. The income threshold to obtaining a mortgage may be lower than you think. Financial planners use this tip: multiply your annual income (combined if you are married or sharing a house) by 2.5, and then add your down payment on top of that figure - that’s the price of the home you can afford. To wit, if you make $60,000 a year, you can afford a $150,000 mortgage… and that’s without adding on whatever down payment you can muster. Of course, you have to have some left over for home maintenance and repairs, taxes, insurance, and, if applicable, HOA fees. So take that into consideration as well.
You can handle the down payment.
The down payment is, in the eyes of many renters, the biggest obstacle to obtaining a mortgage. They think of the old rule that you have to put 20 percent down, and say, “there’s no way I could ever come up with that!” The fact is that there are different kinds of loans out there today, more than there were in the past. Through an FHA loan, you may qualify to put down as little as three percent of the purchase price, which makes things much more attainable for the average prospective buyer.
Your credit score doesn’t suck.
Despite what many people think, you don’t need perfect credit to buy a house. You don’t even need great credit. If your FICO score is over 580, you can probably qualify for a mortgage. Conventional lenders generally require a score of at least 700 to prove your creditworthiness, but certain FHA loans can make it work with subprime credit, assuming you’re willing to pay PMI. Experts would say that it’s worth paying a little extra to get into a home and start building equity.
As you can see, many of the challenges to homeownership that you fear are not as daunting as you think. Homeownership may be within your reach already, you just need to make the leap!