Maybe you’re a millennial veteran just starting out in the civilian world. Maybe you’ve had some money troubles in the past that led to filing for bankruptcy. Or perhaps you’ve got decent credit but you find it hard to save money. Whatever your financial situation, you might be wondering if you can afford to buy a house. The truth is that purchasing a home doesn’t have to break the bank. We’ve got some tried-and-true tips to help make buying a home more affordable for you.
Use your VA Loan Program benefits
The VA Loan Program was specifically designed to help veterans affordably buy a home or refinance a home loan. VA loans are offered at lower interest rates than traditional mortgages, and they don’t require the purchase of mortgage insurance. This keeps your monthly payments lower. There’s also no down payment requirement. You can buy a home with a VA loan with $0 down. As long as you have decent credit with a score of at least 620, you can get approved for a purchase or refinance loan.
Fix your credit
There are myriad reasons credit scores take a hit. If yours is less than stellar, there are plenty of ways you can fix it and watch the number climb. Make sure to check your credit score on a regular basis. Determine if there are any errors and have them corrected. Pay off any debt than is in collections. Make sure you make all your payments on time, as late payments negatively affect your credit.
Keep expectations in check
The home buying process can be an emotional one. It’s easy to fall in love with a house, but it may be out of your price range or in need of too many repairs. Keeping your expectations in check will help you make practical decisions. You’ll be able to choose a house you love but can also realistically afford. Keep in mind that you will have to make compromises along the way, so it’s a good idea to make a list of “must haves” vs. “nice to haves.”
Create a savings plan
Once you’ve decided it’s time to buy a house, you’ll want to start saving money. Take a look at your current budget and determine where you can lower costs. You may need to put bigger purchases like vacations on hold for a while. It may also be helpful to spend less money going out. There are plenty of free things to do on the weekends, so find new ways to enjoy your city while you save money.
Work with a real estate agent
It’s helpful to work with a real estate agent who has a deep understanding of the VA Loan Program as well as the housing market itself. He or she can give you useful insight into the home buying process and help you make an informed decision.