A Brief Guide to Homeownership for Veterans
by Brittany Fisher
Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you can make as a veteran. It’s a massive investment, so you need to go about it carefully to make sure the home you get is a source of joy for you and your family. The Satterlee Foundation provides a brief guide to homeownership for veterans.
Sort Out Your Finances and Seek Financing
The good news is that you don’t need a lifetime of savings to buy a home. There are a few steps you can take to get your finances in order before you buy a home, even if your aspirations of being a homeowner are recent. By following these steps, you can be ready to buy a home within a few months to a few years.
Take Control of Your Credit Score
Check your credit score. If it’s not good, take the following steps to repair or improve the score:
- Identify and dispute any errors in the report.
- Reduce your credit card debt to about 25–30% of the card limit.
- Don’t close current credit card accounts.
- Always pay your bills on time.
Determine How Much Home You Can Afford
The preapproval amount your lender provides isn’t enough to determine how much you can afford to pay for a home. Take into account other costs that factor into the purchase of a home. These include the down payment and the closing costs.
Find a Financing Option That Suits You
Several financing options are available for purchasing a home. Research extensively to identify the most suitable one for you. Home loan options include:
Review the benefits and downsides of each option carefully to determine the best one for you.
Search for Your Dream Home
Early fall is a good time to buy a home. During this season, many new homeowners have already settled into their new homes before the beginning of a new school year. At the same time, many homes are still on the market and sellers are eager to sell, so you can negotiate a good price for your home.
Keep your priorities in mind as you shop for a new home. Write them down and update the list to reflect reality. Work closely with an experienced real estate agent to find prospective homes that fit your needs and preferences.
Among the things you should consider are
- Seller’s incentive to sell
- Age of the house
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Kitchen layout
- Lot size
- Maintenance costs
Once you identify a home that suits your needs, make a good offer and negotiate closing costs as needed.
Your income is another crucial consideration when finding an affordable home. The ideal percentage of your gross monthly income that should go toward your mortgage is 28%. Keep in mind that taxes and homeowners insurance are usually rolled into your mortgage.
Your Dream Home Is Within Your Reach
Homeownership is within the reach of many veterans. Get your finances in order, check your credit score, determine how much you can afford to pay for a home, and get the right financing to make your homeownership dream a reality.