When house–hunting, some factors, like the features of the home, can be adjusted once you've made your purchase, while other factors, like the location, cannot be. Finding the right home is about getting the right balance and at a price you can afford. Advice on how to calculate a home buying budget:
Learn about your options - When house–hunting, you look for places that suit your needs and lifestyle. Do the same when deciding on your mortgage. Know the differences between fixed and variable interest rate mortgages and decide what amortization period best suits your situation. Payment flexibility is also important when deciding on a mortgage, to know what you can prepay, as well as options to pay less at a later date if something unexpected comes up.
Calculate your mortgage numbers - Run the numbers and settle on a price range you can afford using a convenient online mortgage calculator, which factors in your income and the size of your down payment and compares different mortgage options and payment plans. Understanding what you can afford lets you narrow your search and shop with confidence, knowing that the houses you view fit within your budget.
Get pre-approved - The home–buying process can happen very quickly, so be prepared when you find a home you want. Getting pre–approved for a mortgage puts you in a good position to make an offer when you find the right home. There's usually no cost or obligation, and it's a good opportunity to come in and talk to a mortgage expert to clarify any questions.
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This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.