The Ultimate Homebuyer’s Guide

 Secrets to a Successful Home Purchase

Pro Tip: As a new homeowner it’s especially important to have money set aside for unexpected expenses. (Think broken appliances, busted pipes or moving mishaps.)

Check out the Emergency Savings Share Account from Thrivent Federal Credit Union.

Earn up to $100 in rewards just for saving.

Ch 1. Where to Start

Congrats, you’re thinking of becoming a new homeowner! Next step? Figuring out how to actually buy a house. Don’t worry, it’s not as intimidating as it all seems at first – and we’re here to help.

Here are some considerations to keep top of mind as you start your search:

  • Examine your motivation. Why do you want a new home? Do you need more space? Just want a yard with more play space? Writing down your reasons for a new home will help you determine the most important elements for your search.
    Uncovering your motivations can also lay groundwork for financial decisions. If you currently own a home (or as you plan for your new home), keep in mind that you should stay in that home for a minimum of five years to offset expenses like real estate fees, closing costs and moving expenses.
  • Cost of ownership. Estimate the lifetime total cost of ownership—as owning a home comes with numerous expenses outside of the monthly mortgage payment. How much will you shell out in maintenance and repairs over the years?
    On average, homeowners will spend between 1% and 4% of their home value annually on maintenance and repairs, which tend to increase as the house ages according to U.S. News. So for a $300,000 home, prepare for a minimum of $3,000 per year for maintenance.
  • Prior to purchasing, create a mock budget for yourself to see if you really can afford the home. Get a home insurance quote for the type of house you’re considering. Research property taxes online for your desired neighborhood. Estimate the increased yard care and utilities costs.
  • Start setting aside money to cover any little surprises with your new home. If a major repair is needed, or you need a security fence for the dog—you won’t have to lean on your credit cards. Add a line for “emergency savings” in your mock budget and start saving now.
  • Spend what you can afford. Determine what you can afford, and don’t let a banker talk you into more. Look back at your mock budget for the new home. Your mortgage payment, principal, interest, home insurance and property taxes combined should be between 20-35% of your monthly pre-tax income.
    Purchase what you can afford and live in control of your future decisions (with the money in your budget to allow for choices like kid’s camps, additional work wardrobe, weekend getaway or whatever else you’d like the freedom to do).

Get your ducks in a row! Be sure to check of these to-dos:

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