As the year gets underway, everyone is thinking new goals from family and health to purchases and finances. Much of what we do each year is make goals without a true plan. It takes several strong steps to create a plan that can take your goals all the way through to the realization of your dreams. Then when you think about buying a home, it adds a few more steps to your planning. If you’re looking to make this year the year you buy your own home, you may want to keep reading. Let’s dive into some smart goals for buying a house this year.

MAKE A COMMITMENT
You often see the most people at the gym in January and, slowly but surely, by February or March, it trickles down to the people who are always at the gym. The committed. Here’s a tip: be one of the committed few. If you’re serious about wanting to become a homeowner this year, commit to this goal. It’s not just about following the steps of the process, it’s about getting your mind right. It’s an attitude; a posture. Buckle up and get ready for a ride because home ownership is a commitment. When you’re making such an incredible decision as this, you’ve got to be committed.

GET TO KNOW YOUR FINANCES
You can’t make a list of smart goals for buying a house without getting well-acquainted with your finances. Do you know your credit score? We don’t recommend you go pull your credit, but if you already know it, that’s a good piece of information to keep on-hand.
Assess your debt. What types of debt (and how many) do you have? This might include credit card expenses, furniture financing, student loans, a car loan, and more. Whatever it is, write it down. When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will ask about this in order to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio—and your DTI ratio is extremely important because it will determine whether you get approved for a home loan.
You should try to eliminate as much debt as possible before you try to buy a home. It’s important to manage your finances and adopt a spend less, save more way of life.

WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Have you ever sat down and seriously thought about what you want in a home? We’re not just talking bed and bath combinations—it’s much more than that. Is there a specific town or neighborhood you want to live in? Do you want some outdoor space? What about a dine-in kitchen? Or a dual vanity in the bathroom? Think critically about your lifestyle and how your current place is or isn’t working for you. Then, map out your wants vs. needs.

WHAT CAN YOU AFFORD?
Finding what you want isn’t next if you don’t know how much you can afford. It is important to find out what kind of home your income and credit can afford. Pre-approval can be the ticket to what home you should be looking for in your search.

START SHOPPING (FOR A HOME AND A REAL ESTATE AGENT)
Based on your wants and needs and the loan amount you’re pre-approved for, it’s time to start shopping! Have fun with this, but don’t over-commit to one house. Keep an open mind about it and try not to get too attached to one property. Things may change and you have to be prepared for that. This is where a savvy real estate agent would be nice to have. Feel free to contact Grand Living Realty for help with your search!