Affordability Is about More than Purchase Price
One common pitfall many first-time Boston condo buyers often fall into is misjudging how much they can really afford to spend. For singles, that can be especially problematic because they rely on just one income.
Assuming you have an annual salary of $52,988, zero debt, and $40,000 for a down payment, you could theoretically afford a $245,900 home if you got a 30-year loan at a rate of 3.39 percent, according to Realtor.com’s home affordability calculator. Your payments would come to approximately $1,224, including the principal and interest, taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and private mortgage insurance, leaving you with $3,192 a month to pay the rest of your bills, cover everyday expenses, and save.
That seems like plenty of money, but it can go relatively quickly if home ownership results in higher utility costs, or you’re spending more on transportation because you have a longer commute to work. You also have to factor in the added expense of things like maintenance and home repairs, which could put even more of a strain on your financial resources.
Your Down Payment Matters
Putting 20 percent down on a Boston condo is the generally accepted industry standard, but it is possible to buy a home with less cash out of pocket. An FHA loan, for instance, allows you to put down as little as 3.5 percent.
That’s tempting for first time homebueyrs who’s trying to keep short-term costs as low as possible, but it comes at a price. Taking on an FHA loan or a conventional loan with a down payment of less than 20 percent means paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), which drives up the cost of homebuying.
A Safety Net Is Vital
When you’re single, the burden of making sure you’re financially protected sits squarely on your shoulders. Buying a home adds a new dimension to that responsibility.
Singles need to be ready for the worst on multiple fronts. Buying a home warranty, for instance, can help with the cost of making certain repairs or replacing appliances during the first few years of home ownership. Disability insurance allows you to keep up with your mortgage payments if you get sidelined by an illness or injury. Life insurance can wipe out your mortgage debt altogether if you pass away.
Besides all that, single should also have a sizable emergency fund. If you don’t have a home warranty or it’s run out, having money on hand to deal with things like busted pipes or a leaky roof means you don’t have to resort to putting them on credit. An emergency fund also comes in handy if you get laid off and it takes a few months to land another job.
Knowledge Is Power
Nearly half of mortgage buyers don’t take the time to compare rates when getting a mortgage, and that can be a serious mistake for single women. A difference of even 0.25 percent in your mortgage rate can translate to thousands of dollars more you’ll spend on interest over the life of the loan. Shopping around for the best mortgage rates is a must.
Taking on an expensive loan or coming to the closing table with a tiny down payment can influence your financial outlook for years to come.
Moving somewhere means that you’re committing yourself to being neighbors with the folks who already live there. If you’re moving somewhere and still want to maintain an active dating life close to home, check out the city demographics to make sure that there are other single, like-minded people in your neighborhood.
If your thinking about buying a Boston condo please call our office and we can help you start your home search.
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