An alarming number of residents in the U.S. – American citizens and non-citizens – struggle to buy their first home. In fact, even though the number of homeowners largely outnumbers those who don’t own a home, over the past 50 years more and more people have turned to rent instead of buying.
According to the latest Harvard study, 40 million Americans live in housing they can’t afford, which makes it impossible for them to consider purchasing. Indeed, as rental prices continue to go up, more and more people are stuck in a renting vicious circle as they are unable to secure sufficient savings to reach the first step of the property ladder.
While there is no denying that buying your first home is becoming increasingly challenging, it’s time for a wakeup call. Indeed, many obstacles on the path to homeownership are less insurmountable that you might think. More to the point, your main problems about buying a home could be completely self-inflicted.
1. You can always get a loan
A common concern for potential borrowers is the fear of having their loan application rejected. However, as a general rule of the thumb, banks and other lending institutions provide their selection criteria in order to reduce the risks of borrowers wasting time with applications that don’t meet the necessary basis. If you can’t find the relevant information on their website, you can directly get in touch with the bank to find out what the board is likely to expect from successful applicants. Additionally, you can also ask more about their policy regarding credit scores. Indeed, most financial institutions focus on a specific credit score range when it comes to lending money. Knowing about it can help you to decide whether or not to apply. You can also research lenders who dedicated their services to low and very low credit scores if you’re currently struggling with your finances. Lastly, if you don’t have an SSN – social security number –, your bank is likely to refuse your application. But you can get an ITIN mortgage loan using your Tax-ID as a reference instead. In other words, there is more than one way to get a loan.
2. You don’t need a luxury first home
Many potential homeowners fail to buy their first home because they’re worried the property they can afford is not their dream home. You need to get familiar with the principles of the property ladder. Your first home is likely to be small, as you need to start with a cheap property – aka a property you can afford. This is the first step on the ladder. And keeping your mortgage repayments low is essential to stay on top of your finances. Yet, the location, the decor and the house itself don’t have to be perfect. Your goal is to add value to the property to sell with a profit and get to the next step on the ladder.
3. You can DIY most things
When you buy a cheap home, it’s fair to say you need to be ready to fix things yourself. You can save tons of money by doing most of the repair and improvement works by yourself – with the exception of plumbing, structure and electricity works that require specialist knowledge. DIY home repairs can be a fantastic way to increase the value of your property without overspending. You don’t need to budget most remodeling projects – unless the exceptions mentioned above – if you know how you use tools.
4. Everyone can learn how to be thrifty
Tenants often complain that buying a home is too expensive. According to recent surveys, it is cheaper to buy than to rent in 100 metro areas in the U.S., meaning that your biggest challenge will be to save money for the deposit. However, while it’s challenging, it’s not impossible. You can train yourself to save in your everyday life, starting by negotiating bills and saving on old subscriptions. You can use plenty of side-hustle options to make money on the side too, from getting paid to drive with Uber to filling up online surveys.
5. You can make it your home
Your first property doesn’t feel homely. It’s true that if you’re dreaming of owning a mansion in Beverly Hills, you small one-room flat on the outskirt of town may not meet your expectations. However, nothing is stopping you from transforming your property into a home. It doesn’t take much effort to give a space a personality of its own create a décor you can live in.
Home sweet home. You’ve got no excuse not to say these words in the future now that you know that most of your fears are unjustified. Becoming a homeowner is not easy. But it’s not as difficult you make it!