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Buying a house is a big financial decision for most people — especially if it’s your first time. It can feel overwhelming, but it’s possible to avoid much of the stress associated with home-buying if you get some things in order before beginning the process. If you’re planning to buy a Chicago home, here are some things you’ll want to consider putting in place:
Have an Emergency Fund
Everyone should have some kind of emergence fund, but it’s particularly true for homebuyers. If you’ve been renting, you’ve probably grown accustomed to someone else handling the repairs for you. Homeownership brings new responsibilities, and an emergency fund can keep any surprise expenses from hindering your budget. Adding to an emergency fund consistently will prepare you for any repairs that might spring up.
Create a Monthly Budget
Homeownership can also come with other expenses that you weren’t responsible for as a renter. You won’t necessarily be paying more each month to maintain a house, in fact it will often be less, but you need to be aware of where your money is going and how that fits within your overall budget. If you don’t already have a monthly budget that you adhere to, now is a terrific time to start.
Pay Off Some Debt
Being entirely debt-free before buying a home isn’t realistic for everyone. But you should factor in your existing debt when you’re deciding which homes you can comfortably afford. If you can, pay down some of your existing debt. It will give you more freedom going forward, and you could qualify for better terms on your home loan.
Talk to a Loan Officer
Meeting with a loan officer in advance will also help you get your ducks in a row before moving forward. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you see just how financially prepared you really are. A mortgage pre-approval also shows sellers that you’re serious and qualified, which makes you look better than some of the other people interested in the same properties. An experienced loan officer will explain the process, answer your questions, and give you knowledge and confidence on the financial end before you get into the homebuying process.
With some prior planning, you’ll have a much easier time beginning your hunt for a new Chicago home.