4 Financial Prerequisites For Buying A Home (Especially In 2021)

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases that most individuals will make in their lifetime. And if you’re like many new homebuyers, this may not be your first or last home purchase. Americans are moving homes at quicker rates than ever. With the housing market hot after the pandemic slump, knowing if you have the proper financial prerequisites is even more essential.

If you’re considering buying a home in the next few months, keep reading to learn all about what you need to guarantee you successfully close on the house of your dreams.

Qualifying For A Mortgage
The first, and most important step in home buying is qualifying for a mortgage. The mortgage is how you will pay for your home over time, so qualifying for a sustainable, low interest rate and payment is essential. To determine if you qualify, lenders will look at your monthly income, savings accounts, current level of debt, and your credit score.

Monthly Income
To prove your monthly income, you’ll need to prove at least two years of steady monthly employment, either through paystubs (for employees) or with business documents and tax papers (for self-employed loan applicants). Loan programs usually don’t have a minimum income needed in order to qualify for a mortgage, but there may be a maximum income allowed, so be sure to research this before you apply.

Savings Account
Along with showing that you are reliable with your money, your savings account will prove that you are able to cover any applicable down payment and closing costs for your new home. Not all loan programs require you to make a down payment, though, and many sellers will help to cover the closing costs, so low savings balances do not necessarily disqualify you from a loan.

High amounts of personal debt can be a make-or-break factor in qualifying for a loan. This is because mortgage lenders estimate that your monthly payments should be no more than 30 percent of your monthly income. If you have outstanding debts to pay, you may already be reaching a 30 percent threshold without an additional payment. Regardless of your circumstance, your lender will calculate a debt-to-income ratio to determine how much additional debt you are able to take on.

Credit Score
Your credit score is one of the most important pieces in qualifying for a loan, and a history of late payments or bankruptcy can automatically disqualify you for a certain time period afterward. That being said, many lenders offer loans for credit scores as low as 580 by looking at other factors. If you, like many Americans, paid down a significant amount of credit card debt during the pandemic shelter-in-place mandates, then now may be the perfect time to buy.

If you have questions about the financial prerequisites of buying a home, Donohoo Accounting Services can help! We have been preparing tax returns and helping clients with their financial issues for more than 20 years. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our experts! For more tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!

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5 Tips To Save For Retirement If You Started Later In Life

Mornings on the beach, golfing with friends, picking up an old hobby… retirement is an exciting life stage for many Americans. However, if, for whatever reason, you started later than most in your retirement savings, you may feel like you’ll never be able to achieve that much-deserved reprieve.

If this applies to you, don’t worry. If you’re starting late, you’re not alone, and there are countless strategies out there to help maximize savings in the time you have left. Above all, know that it’s not too late to save — and the best time to start is now.

Figure Out How Much Savings You’ll Need
Experts suggest withdrawing no more than 3-4 percent of your savings for each year of your retirement. Calculate your year budget and expenses, and multiply that by the number of years you’ll be in retirement to determine a baseline savings amount. For example, if your yearly budget is $30,000, and you expect to be in retirement for 20 years, you should set a goal of $600,000 for your savings.

Use Compounding Interest To Play Catch-Up
When you start saving in your first years of employment, it’s harder to contribute more than the minimum amount. This is because your income and wages are usually at their lowest. If you’re starting later, your presumably higher income can help you to contribute more per month, which will help you in the long run due to compounding interest.

Don’t Take On Too Much Risk
Traditional retirement accounts offer a 7 percent return on your investment. While there are other investment options that may offer you more return on your investment, you may also lose your principal at a time when it is incredibly risky. Consider diversifying your portfolio and, if you do invest in more risky options, make sure you have enough saved in other places to protect you in case of emergency.

Pay Down Your Debts Now
Though it may be tempting to focus all your extra income on saving for retirement, it’s important not to forget about your present-day debts. These balances will only increase over time, so paying them down now will save you money and hassle in the long run. Improving your credit score will also allow you to (hopefully!) pay less interest if you decide to purchase a new home during your retirement.

Take On A Balanced Approach
As stated before, there are many tempting ways to make a quick buck that may be tantalizing if you are starting your retirement savings later. However, losing your principal investment at this point could be devastating. Remember that along with your own investment, you may be eligible for Social Security from the federal government, and you can continue to collect on other investments even after retirement.

If you’re still feeling confused or conflicted about saving for retirement, an expert at Donohoo Accounting Services can help. We’ve been assisting our clients with their financial and tax needs for more than two decades. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation! For more tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!

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