Mortgage Savings stock image

Maybe you’re tired of high rent costs. Maybe your kids are growing up or transferring to a different school. Maybe you just really want to trim down your commute.

No matter your reason for buying a home, how do you ensure that you get the best bang for your buck? Use these tips to help you buy a home that will work for you and your family, while staying within your budget.

First, be realistic about what you can afford.

When you’re setting your budget, consider the additional monthly costs that come with a mortgage such as utilities or homeowners insurance, and so on. Even the once-in-a-while costs like repairs can add up quickly, so be sure to consider all expenses when setting your budget.  

Second, figure out how much space you really need.

This is where some first-time home buyers may underestimate or overshoot the square footage. This issue is more about your lifestyle than anything else, according to New Home Source

“The average size of new homes built in the United States grew 62 percent from 1,660 square feet in 1973 to 2,687 square feet in 2015, an increase of 1,027 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” New Home Source says. “Despite that steady rise in square footage, design is so crucial that a smaller home might be a better fit for a particular buyer than a larger one.”

Ask yourself some questions: How will my family needs change over the next ten years? Do I need a formal dining room or a family room? Do I need space to entertain? Is my family done growing? Plan according to your family’s needs for the next few years.

Third, ask yourself how long you want to be in this home.

This is where location is key. If you have children, research the neighborhood. How do you like the school district? Have you looked at the crime rates in your area? If you’re driving to work every day, how is the commute?

If you’re going to commit to this home for several years, take these factors into account before you choose the area where you want to buy.

Finally, rely on trustworthy professionals. Once you have figured out your needs, it’s best to work with a local lender who knows the market in your area and can steer you to affordable listings and good real estate agents.

Additionally, if you’re a first-time home buyer, a seasoned mortgage expert is key to help you figure out tax credits or other programs that may be available to you. For example, you could qualify for government loans that don’t require a down payment or apply for a Federal Housing Administration loan that has a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent. 

Member One Federal Credit Union offers mortgages to fit all budgets and needs. Its mortgage experts in Roanoke, Lynchburg, and New River Valley specialize in the local real estate market and can help you set a budget, navigate loan options, and understand the requirements to purchase a home.

Member One mortgage officers are ready to meet face-to-face to answer questions and help you on your journey to home ownership.

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home on a small budget or you want to upgrade from a starter home, look to Member One to serve as your guide.