Homeownership is a dream for so many Americans, but a lot of people, especially younger adults, face barriers to purchasing a home. Besides increased house prices in some locations, other major barriers include:
- Not enough money saved for down payment or closing costs,
- Limited options within their budget, and
- Poor credit history/low credit score.
Get Your Finances In Order
There are steps aspiring homebuyers can take to break down those barriers. A great first step is by getting homeownership counseling, which will help get your finances in order. And the good news is LSS Financial Counseling offers this service for free. Our non-judgmental counselors provide ongoing guidance to:
1. Help you assess your financial situation
First, your counselor will work with you to create a thorough, realistic spending plan so you know where your money is going. When your goal is homeownership, it’s important to build up as much as savings as possible because of the associated expenses like the down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, new furniture, etc. Your counselor will provide suggestions, but ultimately it’s your choice on any spending changes you might need to make.
2. Address barriers, such as credit, debt, or student loans
Your counselor will review your credit report and debts with you to create an action plan with options to pay off debt faster and concrete steps to take to improve credit/pay off debt, including student loans.
3. Determine if you are ready to buy and help you calculate what you can afford
Based on your existing budget and credit, your counselor will help you decide for yourself if you’re ready for a home purchase. And if so, s/he will help you calculate what you can afford for a monthly mortgage payment so you know your house price limit.
4. Connect you with helpful resources
There are mortgage loan programs, first-time homebuyer resources, and down payment and closing cost assistance programs out there to provide even more help. Your counselor will connect/refer you resources that may help you achieve your goal of a home purchase.
In order to be a successful homebuyer, it’s important to plan ahead and be informed.
For your free homeownership counseling session, call LSS at 888.577.2227. We can help you achieve your goals!
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.