With interest rates near historic lows and home prices more affordable now than in the last decade, right now may be a great time to buy a home for working families who are ready for homeownership. But how do Buffalo homebuyers know whether they are prepared to realize the American dream?
To help potential buyers determine whether they are ready for homeownership this Homeownership Month, West Side NHS offers the following tips on how homebuyers can prepare for homeownership the NeighborWorks way:
- Visit a homeownership advisor. Owning a home requires a large investment of time, money and energy. West Side NHS offers free financial and credit counseling to help potential buyers determine whether they are ready for homeownership, and help them navigate the road to homeownership with objective, unbiased guidance and recommendations.
- Get your financial house in order. Through counseling at West Side NHS, homebuyers can obtain their credit score and a free, soft-footprint credit report to check for inaccuracies. A credit score reflects how much money you owe, how much credit is available to you, and whether you pay your bills on time. Work with a homeownership advisor to come up with a realistic budget to help you determine how much home you can afford to finance.
- Make sure homeownership fits within your lifestyle. How long do you plan to stay in your community? If you will be in a particular community for less than three years, if the local economy is not doing well, if unemployment is rising, or if your future income will not provide you with enough for mortgage payments and other financial responsibilities to owning a home, then renting may provide the better option.
- Get pre-approved for mortgage financing before you shop around. Pre-approval will help you know exactly what you can afford and find the best rates and terms in advance of a home purchase. A pre-approval is a guarantee that the lender will loan you a fixed amount of money, as long as the property appraises over the amount for which you are qualified and you buy within a certain time period.
- Carefully select a location. Research area schools, property tax rates, insurance rates and crime statistics. When you buy a home, you are making an investment, and the neighborhood is a prime factor in determining how good an investment your home turns out to be. Spend time thinking about things that may be important.
- Secure appropriate mortgage financing. Finding the best loan for your financial situation, the right home and reputable professionals can save you thousands of dollars. Follow the “rule of threes” by comparing at least three products, professionals or services before making your final selections.
For these and more tips on how to prepare for homeownership the NeighborWorks way, visit West Side or Black Rock-Riverside NHS or contact Lauren Jednak, Home Ownership Counselor, (716) 885-2344, email@example.com.
June is National Homeownership Month. Throughout the month, West Side NHS is highlighting the important role that informed, prepared and engaged residents play in healthy communities through long-term, affordable homeownership.
[Adapted from national NeighborWorks press release]