this past october, david and i celebrated the one-year anniversary of buying our first home. it really was always our biggest dream and i thought that the wonder and excitement of it all would wear off, but when you work really hard for something and have wanted it for as long as you can remember, the magic doesn't fade. we love our house more every day and truly, there is nothing better than coming home after a long day or snuggling up on the couch watching netflix once ava's down for the night. i love being home.
but becoming a first-time homeowner can be pretty daunting. there are a lot of unknowns and big adult decisions and talks of credit scores and FHA loans and interest rates and other intimidating concepts. to deliver a next-generation banking experience for homebuyers, Capital One has launched a completely reimagined, personal and digital home loans experience. here's a couple tips about becoming a homeowner and how working with Capital One can take the stress out of your home-buying experience:
1. know how much you can qualify for. available in select markets, Capital One's new home loan experience allows customers to pre-qualify for a home loan in minutes from any device, apply online, upload documents and digitally track progress from application to closing. it also includes personalizes service from a dedicated loan officer when a customer needs it. if you know exactly what you can afford, the chances you'll fall in love with something perfect and then find out you don't qualify and then have a broken heart are slim.
2. know your credit score. david and i love our credit scores like our babies. a lot of people are under the impression that no credit means good credit, but it's actually the opposite: the bank wants to see that you can borrow money and responsibly pay it back on time. david and i use lifelock to monitor our credit scores each month and highly recommend it!
3. know your property taxes. before we bought our house, i would always look online for homes and use a mortgage calculator to figure out how much the hypothetical payment would be. the problem was that i wasn't taking into account property taxes, which are pretty dang high where we live and almost double our mortgage.
4. know the difference between loans. there are a ton of different options. do your research to find the right option for you. for example, there are FHA loans, which allow you to put a minimal amount down, but then you have to pay mortgage insurance. and then there are conventional loans, which require 20% down, but then you don't have mortgage insurance and sometimes have a better interest rate.
5. don't be house-poor. it's easy to buy something beyond what you can afford and then not have any money to actually fill your house with things that you need...like a refrigerator and a couch and kitchen table. when you're going over your financial plan for buying a home, remember that once you get into the house, there are still minor expenses. (and not being able to afford a fridge would really really suck.)