How To Create A Realistic Budget When Buying a New Home in Shoreline, WA.

When it comes to homebuying, everyone knows the critical rule: Don’t purchase more house than you can afford. But what constitutes “affordable” will differ from one buyer to the next.

But that’s pretty vague and general and not really much help for buyers who need to plan and budget. And mortgage pre-approval isn’t all that much help either because what you can borrow isn’t always what you should borrow. To help you out, then, here are some important tips on how to create a realistic budget when buying a new home in Shoreline.

Start with the 28% Rule and Debt-to-Income Ratio 

One of the easiest ways to calculate your homebuying budget is the 28% rule, which dictates that your mortgage shouldn’t be more than 28% of your gross income each month

Lenders use a similar rule and factor in your other debt – your debt-to-income ratio – to protect themselves, so it makes sense that you do too. Here’s how lenders typically proceed in determining what they’ll lend you for buying a new home in Snohomish . . .

“Mortgage lenders look at a prospective borrower’s debt-to-income ratio when determining if they will lend money. Let’s say your monthly mortgage payment is $1,000 a month and your other expenses are $1,000, so overall, your monthly financial obligations come to $2,000. Now let’s say you have a gross monthly income of$6,000. That puts your debt-to-income ratio at 33%.”

Understand All the Costs

Getting preapproved for a home loan is an important first step in the homebuying process, but it is only one consideration. A mortgage isn’t the only recurring expense: homeownership comes with a lot of other ongoing costs, which buyers need to anticipate.

Another important consideration for creating a realistic budget when buying a new home in Shoreline is all the other costs involved in buying and owning a home. The expenses here go far beyond your monthly mortgage payment, and you’ll have to budget for these as well.

First, you need to be aware that, when it comes to your mortgage payment, you’ll likely be paying on more than the mortgage loan principal and interest each month. “In addition to the principal and interest on your home loan, your mortgage payment may also include escrow for your annual property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and homeowner’s association dues (if you live in a condominium or neighborhood with an HOA). If not, you’ll need to separately include these hidden costs of owning a home in your budget.”

And the many additional costs/expenses to budget for include:

  • Private mortgage insurance
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Property taxes (if not included in the mortgage payment)
  • Homeowners insurance (if not included in the mortgage payment)

Determine a Comfortable Down Payment

Generally, lenders want homebuyers to be able to pay at least 20% of the purchase price in cash. If they can only make a down payment below that amount, they can still get a mortgage, but often must also shoulder the extra expense of private mortgage insurance (PMI). The down payment (with closing costs not far behind) will be your biggest upfront expense to be factored into your budget. Formerly, the standard down payment was 20% of the purchase, but that’s not so much the case now, with the average down payment coming in at about12%.

When budgeting for the down payment for buying a new home in Shoreline, you should keep some considerations in mind, weighing the pros against the cons of a larger down payment. Here’s what real estate pros say about it . . .

“While there are plenty of reasons to want to put the standard 20% down – like lower monthly payments and a cushion in the case of falling home prices – you shouldn’t necessarily clean out your savings to do so . . . You should make sure you have cash reserves on hand in case of an emergency. Financial planners generally recommend an emergency fund sufficient to cover six months of expenses.” On the other hand, putting down less than 20% will allow you to keep more cash in reserve for emergencies, but you will have to pay for private mortgage insurance.

It’s a trade-off, so you’ll have to look carefully at your situation and needs and budget accordingly. Your local agent can help you with some guidance here. To discover more, call (206) 578-3438.

Be Able to Have Separate Savings

Another thing to allow for in your budget is separate savings account for an emergency fund. Buying a new home in Shoreline almost inevitably means unexpected expenses, and you’ll need a dedicated account to ensure the ability to cover them.

Financial experts advise saving at least 1% to 4% of the home’s purchase price to cover annual maintenance and repair costs. If the home is newer, you can get by with something closer to 1%, but if it is 20 years old or older, you’ll be much safer with the 4%.

Also, when determining what to budget for in buying a new home in Shoreline, “remember that repair costs may increase over time as the property ages, and you’ll need to adjust your budget accordingly. . . . Keeping up with regular maintenance can help preserve your home’s equipment and structural elements, potentially allowing you to delay spending on major repairs.”

Work with a Good Agent

If you use what we’ve set out here, you’ll be well on your way to creating a realistic budget when buying a new home]. There remains, though, more to be taken into account, especially when you factor in the exigencies of the local market and local lending requirements. Your local real estate agent can help you navigate this tricky terrain. Start the journey toward buying a new home in Shoreline on the right foot: contact us today at (206) 578-3438.

Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate broker residing in Lake Forest Park, WA who services the Greater Seattle area including Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Bothell and Edmonds, WA.

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