by Phillip B. Burum, Executive Vice President, Diversified Pacific,
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
In the simplest of terms, there are three key things you need to do in order to become a homeowner; create a budget and stick to it, build your credit and find a home you love.
The process does require forethought and discipline. My son is preparing to leave home for college in the fall. Of all of the father/son advice moments that we have shared in life, this advice may have been the most important. I did my level best to articulate the point that I lacked the understanding of at his age: stay out of debt as long as you can!
In this age of internet commerce where you can order something at 8 a.m., and have it delivered by 2 p.m., delayed gratification is becoming a lost virtue. I often wonder if all of the studies and reports published these last ten years regarding millennials not wanting to own homes are really based on the fact that they can’t buy a home, even if they wanted to. They can’t because the notion of saving money for a future purchase appears lost on the generation that has grown accustomed to a norm of instant gratification. Control your expenses, live within your means and save a few bucks when you can.
There is no shortage of books, symposiums or articles available on the topic of creating a monthly budget and there will never be a shortage of people telling you that you need to find a way to live within that budget. It is crucial if you want to achieve this major life milestone. Buying your first home or buying your dream home will not come about by accident. You need to identify the goal, define the plan and stick to it. No matter the monthly budget, no matter the current income, I believe that everyone has, or will have, the opportunity to buy a home if they plan for it.
Sticking to a budget and saving a few dollars will get you started but creating and maintaining good credit is nearly as important as having a down payment. Your credit score affects your ability to receive a loan and has a dramatic effect on the cost of the loan. Quite honestly, I am often baffled about the scoring (like why my wife’s score is always 20 points higher than mine). So, talk to trusted advisors or use your favorite search engine to help you form your plan and accomplish the task.
Find a house that you can see as your home. Whether it is your first home or fifth, you need to find a house that you love. New homes offer customization options that resales do not, but resales offer you a full picture of the completed neighborhood and at least a glimpse of who your neighbors are. There are distinct advantages to both. The average American homeowner stays put for about ten years. We all have grand plans of bigger and better, sooner than later, but when buying your home, assume that you are average and that you will be there for ten years. Picture yourself ten years down the road, standing in front of the home you want to buy today. Do you like the picture? If so, you found your home.
Last week’s article ended with my sincere wish that everyone will someday soon have, the feeling that comes with owning their home. As the president of the association whose principal mission is to advocate for homeownership, my bias is clear. You should own your own home. The path to homeownership is not always an easy one. In my opinion if it was easy, it would not be a dream worth pursuing. It is not my intent to belittle the effort or discount the effect of an individual’s unique circumstances but it is my belief that, in this country, everyone has the opportunity to own a home.
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.