Learn creative ways to save money and create wealth every Thursday on the Evening Report at 6:00pm, by watching Change in Your Pocket.
House Shopping in Winter
When saving up for your first house, you certainly don`t need to be in a big hurry. The longer you have, the more you can potentially save. But experts say changes are in store for the FHA`s home loan interest rate.
"In 2013, FHA`s going to raise that. So that`d be an additional $100 over what you`d be currently paying. This would be on all new loans that`re started after the date they`ve announced," said Cornerstone Bank mortgage consultant Joe Sheehan.
So far, that date hasn`t been released. But Sheehan says as a prospective homebuyer, your first phone call should be to a banker to discuss your finances.
"Don`t wait for the changes to happen. Find out right away if you can qualify and what that means. It doesn`t mean you have to act. But you can do this for free at a lot of places and get your goals in place, so you know when you can achieve home ownership."
Moving during the dead of winter may not sound like much fun, and it`s not. But if you`re serious about buying a house, realtors say that`s exactly the time of year you should be looking.
"More buyers tend to say, `I don`t want to move in the winter.` Therefore, there`s less competition," said Century 21 realtor Christine Rivinius.
Rivinius says one important thing for buyers to keep to keep in mind, you`re not just saving up for a down payment.
"There are two bags of money you need when you buy a house. Your down payment bag and your closing cost bag. So when you`re calculating your closing cost bag, I always encourage buyers to have about three percent saved up that you can have those costs covered."
By house hunting in winter, you can ask important questions like how much the home costs to heat. And with fewer buyers, you may be able to bargain for a better price, which may save you some change in your pocket on the biggest investment of your life.
Experts say lenders also have fewer loans to process in winter, which can speed up the paperwork. That means you can often be approved for a mortgage more quickly.