“Can we afford it?” That’s the first thought that comes to mind when shopping for your next dream home. Fortunately it’s an easy question to answer if you consider your lifestyle, financial goals, expenses and mortgage eligibility.
There’s more to life than just paying the mortgage and other living expenses. Hobbies, entertainment, vacations, family adventures, and charitable causes are also important. Don’t be house poor. Think of your “lifestyle” as another bill you must pay — to yourself.
Your new home is not just a place to live. It’s also an investment. Make sure it fits with your overall investment plan, which may also include retirement savings, education funds, emergency cash, and more.
The mortgage isn’t your only home expense. You must also calculate insurance, utilities, taxes, maintenance and other costs.
Amenities, such as a pool, can turn your home into an oasis. But, you must be prepared for the upkeep costs.
If you’re buying an older home, expect repair and maintenance costs to be higher.
Your mortgage eligibility is determined by your current income, debt level, employment history, and credit rating. Lenders use this information combined with estimates of your new home property taxes and heating/cooling expenses to determine the largest mortgage they can offer you.
Home affordability is like a jigsaw puzzle. You need to put all the pieces together to get a clear picture of how much home you can afford.