Whether you’re planning on building your dream home or buying a used home, the process to determine whether or not you are financially ready is the same either way. If you are financially ready to buy a home, then you are ready to build a home.
So, how do you determine if you are financially ready?
1. You should start by comparing how much you are currently spending on expenses and any debt payments to the amount of money you have saved up.
In other words, you need to get an idea of what your net worth is in order to know where you stand financially. You can do this by making a list! (We love our lists around here, that’s for sure!) Write down everything that you own that is considered an asset (your savings, investments, vehicles, home, etc.). Now write down all of your debts (student loans, credit card debt, your mortgage, etc.) and subtract them from your assets, and you have your net worth. Don’t worry about your income in this equation, this is just to give you an idea of your financial health.
2. Think about how much can you afford to spend on housing each month without risking your financial health.
Is what you’re spending now on housing about where you need to stay to keep your budget intact, or can you afford a bit more? The nice thing about building your own home is that you can make sure that you’re paying for what you actually want to have in your new home and not extras that you will never use. When you purchase a used home, that isn’t always the case. For example, if granite counter tops are not important to you and you would rather not spend the money, but the previous owners installed new granite counter tops… Guess what? The cost of that home included those expensive granite counter tops.
3. Look into your credit score.
What is the status of your credit score currently like? Your credit score is a number that signals your financial health and is an important factor that lenders use when they are analyzing your credit for a mortgage. According to Equifax, a credit score of 660 to 900 is generally what you need for your credit score to be considered to be good, very good, or excellent.
4. Consider how much money you will need for the upfront costs of building a home.
Generally, you will need a down payment of at least 10%. This is where a lot of people think that building a home differs from buying a home. People often think that building a home requires interim or progress payments – which, many people are not in the financial position to comply with. However, that is not always the case. We’re happy to inform you that, with Emerald Park Homes, in most cases, we will finance your build to possession day (On approved credit). Giving you time to sell your existing property without having to worry about paying progress payments or obtaining costly interim financing.
5. Now it’s time to shop around for a pre-approved mortgage amount with a bank, broker or lender.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is an important step to take before you get too far into the building or buying process. It helps you get an idea of what sort of budget you have to work with to build your new home.
There are two basic affordability rules that will determine how much you can spend on your new home without risking your financial situation:
- Your monthly housing costs should be at or under 32% of your gross monthly income.
- Your monthly debt load (including your mortgage) should be at or under 40% of your gross monthly income.
MacKay & McLean have some great information on a list of things you’ll need to have to get a mortgage.
6. Determine whether or not you are going to be needing mortgage insurance.
Mortgage loan insurance is necessary if you have less than 20% saved for a down payment. It protects the banks and other lenders against the risk of mortgage default, and just like property insurance it protects you in case of loss. Insurance premiums on mortgage loans are calculated as a percentage of your total loan amount. They’re based on factors including the size and source of your down payment. In general, the smaller the down payment is, the higher the insurance premiums will be. You can usually pay your mortgage loan insurance premiums up front or have them added to your mortgage loan.
7. Lastly, make sure to have a team of experienced professionals to help you along the way.
Find a lender or broker that is right for you. There are many sources for mortgages, including: banks, trust companies, credit unions and pension funds. Each offers different terms and options, so be sure to shop around to find the one that is best for you.
Hire a professional home builder. If you’re building a new home or your used home needs extensive renovations, you’ll need to hire a builder or contractor. It’s always a good idea to visit their show homes to see examples of their work. Also make sure that they are in good standing with their local home builders’ association and Home Warranty program.
Using a home inspector is always a good idea. Whether you’re building new or buying a used home, you should have it inspected by a professional home inspector. When you build with Emerald Park Homes, our homes are inspected by Mike Holmes Approved Inspectors to ensure that your home is built right from the ground up.
You will need to hire a lawyer to protect your legal interests. They make sure that the property you want to buy is free of any liens, charges and work or cleanup orders. A lawyer will also review all contracts before you sign them, especially the offer to purchase and the mortgage documents to explain the fine print.
An Insurance broker can help you find the right property insurance to cover the replacement cost of your home and its contents in case of loss. It is also a good idea to get mortgage life insurance, which will protect your family if you die before your mortgage is paid off.
Contact us today if you have any questions or would like to learn more.