Conventional wisdom dictates that people who want to purchase a house should do that while they’re still young. Since you’ll likely be paying your home loan for the next 15 or 30 years, you might as well get a head start.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to start early. Issues, such as mounting credit card debt and low salary, push people to postpone their home purchase.
Don’t lose hope, though. If you’re in your 40s and are looking to purchase a home for their first time, you can still achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Here are five pointers to consider when getting a house during this period in your life:
1. Shop Around for the Best Mortgage
Conventional mortgages, such as adjustable and fixed-rate home loans, aren’t the only options available. Consider looking for other types of mortgages, such as federally backed home loans. These options will help improve your chances of securing mortgage approval. A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, for instance, only requires a credit score of 620 and a measly 3.5 percent down payment.
Apart from the mortgage type, you need to factor in the mortgage term. If you’re in your 40s, you might want to stay away from home loans with a 30-year term. Choosing this option may get you to continue making payments well after your retirement age. Instead, get a mortgage with a 20- or 15-year term.
2. Obtain Down Payment Assistance When Necessary
When making a down payment on a home, you need to shell out 20 percent of the home’s purchase price. If the house, for instance, is worth $250,000, make sure you can afford to pay $50,000.
If you’re having trouble making a down payment, ask around for financial assistance. Some states offer down payment assistance programs for first-time homebuyers, so find out the qualification criteria in your area and see if you’re eligible.
3. Decide on a Good Location
If you consider your home as a lifelong investment, you’ll want to choose a residential property that’s highly accessible and in an excellent neighborhood. Look at the distance between your dream home and the locations you’ll frequently visit, such as supermarkets, department stores, workplaces, and fitness centers. Additionally, take into account schools if you have kids or grandchildren.
When assessing a location, don’t simply pull up your Google Maps app to determine the distance. Pay a visit to your dream home. Then, drive or go for a walk to get a feel of the neighborhood area.
4. Go Beyond the Cosmetic Details
Avoid focusing only on the aesthetic details when checking out houses for sale. Take note of the other essential elements of your future home, such as appliances, cabinets, air conditioning units, and heating systems. When making property site visits, ask the seller on the condition of these mentioned features.
5. Look for a Real Estate Agent You Can Trust
Navigating the home purchasing process on your own can be difficult, as you may encounter complex real estate or housing jargon that will leave you scratching your head. Rather than do everything by yourself, seek out a competent and trustworthy real estate agent who will walk you through the house hunting and home buying process.
Don’t let your age stop you from achieving the American Dream. With these five suggestions, you can get one step closer to having a place of your own.