Top Finance Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Buying your first home can be a stressful process. But it doesn’t have to be. The best way to eliminate stress is to do your research. If you do enough research then your home buying experience will be smooth and as stress-free as possible. Below are some of the top finance tips for first-time homebuyers.

What’s Your Credit Score?

Knowing your credit score is the first step to purchasing a home. Some people mistakenly believe that paying your credit card bill on time each month automatically means you will have a good credit score. However, you also have to consider how much debt you carry month-to-month in relation to your income. There are many free credit reports online that you can consider. Here’s a helpful list. Once you have your report you need to look it over to make sure there aren’t any mistakes. If your credit is damaged then you will need to repair it before searching for a home.

Know Your Budget

Before you can purchase a home you need to know where your money goes each month. If you are able to save money at the end of each month, then you are in a good position to purchase a home. On the other hand, if you live paycheck-to-paycheck the home buying process will be difficult. Mortgage lenders will look at your income in order to determine whether they will give you a loan or not. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to create a budget and track your money each month. This will give you a better idea of how much you save each month, and it will help you eliminate unnecessary expenses.

Estimate Your Costs

One of the first steps to buying a home is determining how much you can afford to spend. Bankrate has a useful calculator that will help you determine how much money you can spend on a home. By entering your monthly income and things like your credit card bills, the calculator will give you a helpful estimate of how expensive of a house you can afford and the monthly mortgage payment you can afford.

Down Payment

The more money you can put down on a house the better. This is why it’s a good idea to create a monthly budget when you first start thinking about buying a house. Following a budget each month will help you quickly save for a down payment. Many lenders won’t even work with buyers who can’t afford to put down at least twenty percent of the home’s asking price. However, there are some programs that assist buyers who cannot provide enough of a down payment. Take a look at this site to learn more.

Top Personal Finance Blogs

One of the most sure-fire ways to guarantee wealth and security is to pay attention to your personal finance situation. The more you know about personal finance the more money you will save. You’ll also make better financial decisions in general. I recently came across a great resource that lists the best personal finance blogs of 2016. Here’s the link to the article. The list was actually voted on by readers, so the top site, Cash Cow Couple, is a site that a lot of readers recommend. There are many other sites on the list that are worth checking out too like Dough Roller and Mr. Money Mustache. All of the sites on the list are great for inspiring you to manage your money better.

Finance Tips For New Parents

One of the most important things you can do before your baby is born is prepare a financial checklist. Raising a child is expensive, so the more preparation you do the easier the experience will be. You’ll also save more money than you would have without a plan. Below are some of the top financial tips that new parents should use when creating a checklist.

Research Health Insurance

Even with health insurance, the fees associated with baby care can add up. Do research so you know what sort of fees to expect with labor, delivery, and prenatal visit. If you estimate how much the medical bills will cost, you won’t be surprised by the final bill.  

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Does your company offer maternity or paternity leave? Do you know how many days you are allowed to take? Do you get paid during the entire period? These are the type of important questions you need to ask. If you take off for an extended period of time, and your company doesn’t provide payment, your finances can be seriously impacted.

Prepare A Baby Budget

After you estimate healthcare costs and understand your leave situation, make a budget. Your budget will guide you as you purchase necessary items. It can also help prevent you from purchasing unnecessary items. If you’re particularly budget-conscious, don’t hesitate to purchase used items. Your budget should also include estimates for the monthly costs associated with diapers, food, etc. The more budget planning you do before your baby is born, the better.

Find A Pediatrician

In order to save money, it’s important to choose a pediatrician that’s within your insurance network.  Ask friends and family members for recommendations. Also, don’t be afraid to interview potential candidates.

Start An Emergency Fund

Whether you’re a parent or not, emergency funds are a financial necessity. However, they’re especially important for parents since children are prone to accidents. As a parent, you never know when you’ll need extra funds to pay for an unexpected expense.

Health Insurance For Your Child

Add your child to your health insurance as soon as possible. Most health insurance policies give parents thirty days to add their child to a policy. The last situation you want is for your child to be sick and uninsured, so take care of this step right away.

Start Saving For Education

Every year the price of college tuition rises, so it’s never too early to start saving for your child’s education. Consider starting a 529 plan. It will allow you to save money and avoid taxes.