Whether it’s a starter home or the place you’d like to retire, finding the right house to make your home is no easy feat.
It’s not just about finding your dream home — you also have to save enough money, get your credit score in shape and find the right real estate agent to work with. Then comes the appraisal and inspection process and, finally, the closing.
All of this can take months to finalize, which makes the process that much more painful.
But never fear — we’ve got you covered with some of our favorite home buying stories of 2019 to help you with the process.
5 Top Home Buying Stories of 2019
1. Know What You Can Afford
Before you do anything else — even before you start browsing the listings — know what you can reasonably afford to pay for your dream home. You should take a look at your monthly take-home pay, how much down payment you can afford, the size and terms of the loan you’ll take out and the hidden costs of homeownership. Here’s some specific guidance to help you calculate how much house you can afford.
2. Home Buying Tips
Since a house is likely the biggest purchase you will ever make, make sure you know what you’re doing. First-timers and more seasoned buyers alike will benefit from these home buying tips, such as remembering to include moving and upkeep expenses, to research the types of mortgage loans available and to shop around for lenders, among others.
3. What to Do if You Have Bad Credit
It certainly helps to have good credit when you are in the market for a new house, but we have some tips if you have a low credit score, a short credit history or even an open credit report dispute that could make a mortgage lender turn you down. Among them: save up for a larger down payment, look into a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage or get a co-signer.
4. How to Buy a Foreclosed Home
Buying a foreclosed home can save you a chunk of change — but are you willing to go through with such a purchase when you likely won’t know much about the property’s history or condition before you make an offer? We’ll walk you through how to buy a pre-foreclosure home, as well as how to buy foreclosed homes at auction or from a bank.
5. What to Know About FHA Loans
The typical rule of thumb when buying a new house says to put 20% down, but that’s not always necessary. Consider FHA loans, which are backed by the U.S. government through the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA insures the loan and will pay your lender if you stop making payments on a mortgage, thus making it less risky for lenders to give mortgages to buyers with lower credit scores and smaller down payments. Here’s advice on how you can get an FHA mortgage with just 3.5% down if your credit score is at least 580.
Sushil Cheema is an editor at The Penny Hoarder.