Tips for Buying Your First Home in Plant City, FL

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Real Estate

Buying Your First Home in Plant City, FL — Are Your Finances in Order? Tips from a Plant City Real Estate Agent


Your home will most likely be the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. Therefore, before making your first home purchase, you should be sure that your finances are in order.

Many first-time homebuyers dive in headfirst, shopping around for a home before checking into their finances, only to discover later that they cannot afford the home they have fallen in love with.

For prospective homebuyers in Plant City, the current market is one of the best in a long time. Mortgage rates are at historic lows, and there is a large inventory of homes to choose from. Nonetheless, qualifying for a mortgage can still be a tricky process. This underlines the importance for prospective buyers to make sure their finances are in order before shopping around.

If you are planning on buying a home in Plant City, Florida, consider these items that will be necessary for successful financing:

Credit Score

When thinking about buying a home in Plant City, Florida, the first and most important step should be to check your credit. You should know that while home loans are abundantly available, financing is often reserved for those with good credit. Your credit score can range from 300 to 850 — the higher the score, the better your chances for affordable financing. If your credit score is less than 670, one can expect to pay higher interest rates, or their mortgage application may be denied altogether.

If you are carrying a low credit score, you will need to allow yourself a few months to work on improving it.  In order to bring this score up, pay all your bills on time and work to lower your debt.  If you find any inaccuracies on your credit report, have them fixed as soon as possible as this should also improve your credit score.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your credit score isn’t the only factor determining whether you are approved for a mortgage. When considering whether to approve a mortgage application, one of the key factors is the debt-to-income ratio.

Many mortgages have extremely precise criteria for the maximum debt-to-income ratio that you can have while still being approved for a loan. Before you start looking for a house in Plant City, be sure you have paid off most (or all) your debts. If you see that your debts are on the higher side, it’s a good idea to pay off some of that debt before applying for a home loan.

Other Expenses and Considerations

You should also focus on saving money for the out-of-pocket expenses associated with buying a home in Plant City, Florida. In the best-case scenario, you will need to put down around 20% of the purchase price — considering the average home value in Plant City is $249,636, that could be around $50,000. You will also need some additional funds set aside to pay for closing costs.

And last (but certainly not least,) always consider how much you can comfortably afford to pay for housing expenses each month.

Keep in mind that housing expenses include not just your mortgage repayments, but also homeowner's insurance, property taxes, and general maintenance. If you buy a Plant City home that is part of a homeowner's association, you will also have to pay membership dues. Ideally, your overall housing expenses should be no more than 33% of your overall income.

Always allow for plenty of wiggle room in your budget so that you can still afford your housing costs if something unexpected happens in the future. A good benchmark is to maintain your total debt payments — including housing, cars, credit cards, and student loan payments — to no more than 45% of your income.

Looking to Purchase a Home through a Top-Rated Real Estate Agent in Plant City, Florida?

If you are looking for professional guidance on all things real estate in in Plant City, Florida, look no further than Lisa Matheny, realtor with the Dalton Wade Real Estate Group. Contact Lisa Matheny today at (863) 412-6633 or fill out a contact form on our website.