People make a decision to purchase a home or piece of South Bay real estate without any consideration of their ability to be able to make mortgage loan payments in case of an emergency or a major life change like an illness, loss of employment, divorce, or other unforeseen circumstances. The top three reasons people file for bankruptcy are change of job status, divorce, and unforeseen health expenses. If you face any of these challenges and don’t have a financial cushion like some money put away, this may negatively impact your ability to pay a mortgage. Big life events dictate your readiness to buy now or to wait for a little more stability.
Some signs that you should not buy right now:
- Will you be moving within the next five years?
- Are you planning on having children soon?
- Will you be making a job change? (or maybe you don’t know)
- Have you recently filed for bankruptcy or is your credit score below 630?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, or you are experiencing other life-changing events like illness, marriage, divorce, or breakup, you may want to wait until your life and finances stabilize better. Aside from life events contributing to your decision to buy a home, getting your financial house in order before you begin your home search is the key. Even with all the programs available for buyers with a low-or-no down payment, if your debts are growing steadily and you don’t foresee an increase in your income, you are putting yourself in greater financial risk by taking on a mortgage.
With few exceptions, most loans for people who are still repairing their credit or recovering from bankruptcy will always carry higher rates than those available once your credit is in better shape.
So the question comes down to this: Do you buy now, before prices appreciate higher than you can afford, but do so with an expensive loan?
Or do you wait and repair your credit, then get a favorable loan, and pay more for your home? These are questions that a good financial counselor or mortgage broker can help with. Don’t be in a rush, after talking to a good Realtor, and a mortgage broker or lender, go to some open houses to start getting a feel of whats available and the prices, etc. Talk to a mortgage broker about getting preapproved for the amount of your loan. Remember that your Realtor and mortgage broker can explain details of all the mortgage loans that are available. Go over your credit report and your credit score with a broker and make sure that there are no problems that will come up later in the process. Talk to other homeowners and also talk to people in the neighborhood you are interested in, and get their inputs, the good and bad. Keep an open mind and soon you may be in that new home you have been dreaming about.