Looking to Buy Your First Home? Pass on the Avocado Toast
Millionaire to Millennials: “Stop buying avocado toast if you want to buy a home.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the wildly popular and Instagram-perfect food trend among the millennials known as avocado toast, the millionaire property mogul was referring to the necessity of saving for your first home and not spending money frivolously on things such as $19 avocado toast. His point being, millennials are spending too lavishly to invest in home ownership.
Buying a home is a huge investment and, for most of us, the most significant purchase of our lives. To guarantee you’re financially ready to buy your first home, you’ll need good credit, cash to close, and a verifiable income. So lighten up on the avocado toast, get your finances in order and make sure you’re financially prepared to purchase a home with these steps:
Determine how much house you can afford
It is critically important that you know how much home you can afford before you start the house-hunting process. Doing so will help limit your search to realistic options and avoid disappointment when you do find the house of your dreams. You’re not only limited by the price of the home you can buy, but by the mortgage payment you can afford to take on. Just because you qualify for a certain home doesn’t mean you can afford it. Make sure your mortgage payment realistically fits in your budget and lifestyle before you make an offer.
Improve your credit score
Getting a mortgage requires a good credit score. Now is the time to check your credit reports for errors and make sure you’re not being penalized for old debt. Improving your score significantly can take up to six months or more so start by paying down credit card balances and stop using them a good two months before applying for a mortgage. And, by all means, avoid applying for additional credit (such as an auto loan) until after you’ve closed on your new home.
Build a healthy savings account
In addition to getting your credit score in top-notch shape, you’ll want to consider the cash you’ll need to make buying your first home a reality. Get going on building up your savings. There’s the down payment to consider as well as closing costs that often come as a surprise. And consider the costs of maintaining the home. A good rule of thumb is to assume that you’ll spend three percent of your home’s value each year on maintenance and repairs.
Get your documentation in order
Begin to collect relevant documents that you’ll need to verify your finances on the mortgage application. This includes W-2s, paystubs, bank statements and tax returns. Having this at the ready will facilitate the application process and get the job done in a timely manner, so necessary in a competitive market.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
Too often, homebuyers leave the mortgage shopping to the last minute and watch their dream home go to another bidder who had their financing in order. Mortgage pre-approval is a free and non-binding process that presents you as a serious and qualified buyer. Familiarize yourself with a competent local lender who can help you with this important document that you’ll want to include with your offer.
About that avocado toast
There is no denying it, it is delicious. It’s healthy, hip, and yet ever so slightly indulgent. And for those millennials, it’s so Instagrammable. And, incredibly easy to make. You’d think a recipe isn’t necessary (it isn’t) but I must say there is an art to achieving both its simplicity and perfection. My tips: make sure you choose a sturdy, flavorful bread fairly thickly sliced, enough salt and citrus to bring out the flavor of the avocado, and premium olive oil.
How to Prepare:
Toast the bread until browned and crisp. Drizzle the hot toast with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Using the back of a fork, roughly mash a half avocado into the toast, keeping it chunky. Sprinkle with a little more salt and black pepper and squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon or lime on top. Finish with a dash of red pepper flakes and serve immediately.