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Taking on a mortgage is a big step for anyone. It’s probably the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life, so it’s good to have the facts straight before you decide to take on a mortgage. You should make sure your finances are in order and make sure that you have the all the facts about buying a home. Here are some common misconceptions about buying a house that you should think about:
It’s a misconception that we get from previous generations when buying a house was a sign you had succeeded, but don’t be fooled by it. Yes, buying a house CAN be a good investment, but it can also be a nightmare. Buying a house somewhere that has an unstable economy can be a gamble. If the economy tanks and housing prices go down, you could be underwater on your house. If you lose your job and need to find work in another town, selling the house could prove to be a huge issue.
If you do plan on buying a house, make sure that you don’t become house poor. Have a plan so you are able to pay the mortgage, even if you lose your job. Don’t be certain that you can just sell your house when you need to; the housing market can be very fickle. Don’t buy a house that is more than you can afford. And don’t rush in to buying a house; shop around and buy when interest rates are low.
You don’t need to perfect credit score to buy a house. Yes, lenders are more wary of people with average credit now after the last housing crisis, but that doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for a mortgage. People with good and even average credit are approved for mortgages every day. If you have just average credit, you might consider applying for an FHA loan. (See if you qualify for an FHA loan here.)
You will, however, need to be prepared to pay a little more for your mortgage. The interest rate on your mortgage is based on your credit score, so if you have a lower credit score, you interest rate will generally be higher, meaning you will be paying more over the life of your loan.
It doesn’t hurt to have a large down payment, but it isn’t required to buy a house. Generally, a minimum down payment for a conventional mortgage is 5%. That being said, a 5% down payment doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get the loan. Lenders factor in how much you put up as a down payment when they are deciding if you will be able to pay back the loan or not. The more standard numbers are 10-15% for a down payment. If you can afford to put up 20%, you don’t have to buy mortgage insurance, which would be included in your closing costs.
If you qualify for an FHA mortgage, you only need a downpayment of 3.5%. Those in the American Armed Forces can also apply for a special loan just for veterans that doesn’t require a downpayment at all.