Things Not to Do
No Major Purchase of Any Kind
Review the article titled, “Don’t Buy a Car,” and apply it to any major purchase that would create debt of any kind. This includes furniture, appliances, electronic equipment, jewelry, vacations, expensive weddings and automobiles, of course.
Don’t Move Money Around
When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one of the things they are concerned about is the source of funds for your down payment and closing costs. Most likely, you will be asked to provide statements for the last two or three months on any of your liquid assets. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, stock statements, mutual funds, and even your company 401K and retirement accounts.
If you have been moving money between accounts during that time, there may be large deposits and withdrawals in some of them.
The mortgage underwriter (the person who actually approves your loan) will probably require a complete paper trail of all the withdrawals and deposits. You may be required to produce cancelled checks, deposit receipts, and other seemingly inconsequential data, which could get quite tedious.
Perhaps you become exasperated at your lender, but they are only doing their job correctly. To ensure quality control and eliminate potential fraud, it is a requirement on most loans to completely document the source of all funds. Moving your money around, even if you are consolidating your funds to make it “easier,” could make it more difficult for the lender to properly document.
So leave your money where it is until you talk to a loan officer. Oh…don’t change banks, either.
Reasons to Delay Buying a Home
Assuming you have the financial resources and the desire to eventually own your own home, there are very few good reasons to put off the purchase. You can miss out on years of appreciation if you do.
The main thing you want to avoid when buying a home is being put in a position where you will have to sell it too soon. If you have to sell a home before it has appreciated enough to cover the costs and commissions of selling, you could find yourself in a financial bind. This is especially true for those who buy a home with a down payment of ten percent or less.
Real Estate commissions traditionally run around six percent of a home’s sales price. The seller’s closing costs generally come to about one and a half percent. You can see how this can easily exceed the first year’s appreciation. If you made a minimal down payment, you could actually have to come up with cash out of pocket to sell your home.
New to the Area
A very good to reason to delay buying a home is if you have just moved to an unfamiliar area or region of the country. It makes sense to rent for a number of months before deciding on exactly where you want to live. Often when people buy a home immediately they find that they might have made a better decision if they had waited awhile.
Uncertain Job Future
You could be right out of college or expecting a promotion and a transfer. Or your company has announced an impending “restructuring.” If any of these apply, it might be best to wait to buy a home. When you have a more accurate picture of what your next few years will be like, that will be the time to buy.
Real estate agents see a lot of life unfold before their eyes. One of the saddest occurs when former clients divorce and are forced to sell a recently purchased house. It happens all too often when a family in turmoil decides that buying a new home may help resolve their problems. Perhaps it is inevitable that such problems occur, but selling a home before it appreciates can create an additional financial burden in an already difficult situation.