In their day, you likely needed a 25% down payment to buy a home, and interest rates were hovering around the high teens. Still, there’s a lot you can learn from your parents when it comes to home buying if you remember some basic childhood lessons.
1. Buy what you can afford.
In this credit-crazed era, we’ve gotten used to satisfying our consumerist urges by simply charging items to our credit cards rather than saving. Home buying is no different. The temptation is there – it’s up to you to determine what price range is affordable to your situation.
2. Buy things you can grow into.
Remember when your wardrobe consisted of clothes that were three sizes too big? That strategy likely saved your parents a lot of money in clothing costs. The same can be used when buying a home. If you can afford to, buy a home that will satisfy your needs for the next five years or more – it will save you a bundle in real estate fees, at the very least.
3. Never sign a document without reading the fine print.
Mortgage documents are complicated pieces of paperwork. Make sure you read them thoroughly, and understand all the fees and costs involved should you choose to break your mortgage early, prepay it or port it.
4. There are no stupid questions.
Confused about what the fine print in your mortgage document is really saying? Chances are, you’re not the only one. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting into, regardless of how many questions you have to ask.
5. Pay off your debts as fast as possible.
Even though it may feel like you’re a home owner, chances are – for the first years of your mortgage – the bank is going to own the majority of your home. Do whatever you can to pay that balance down as fast as possible. The day you make that last payment will be a day of true self-empowerment.