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home after the wedding

Your home is where you will begin blending your two lives together. For some, it is the time to decide where you are going to put all of those gifts, for others it is how you are going to blend your contrasting styles. Setting up your combined home can pose a challenge, but it can be equally fun.

Life after the wedding may include purchasing your first home together, or selling homes to combine your lives. If you haven’t purchased a home before you will find that buying your first home will take almost as much planning and preparation as the wedding itself. You’ll want to take time to think through one of the first, most significant purchases as a couple, so make sure you do a little homework. The reward will be the excitement of moving into a new household that’s completely your own, a place where you can settle into your new life.

Before you buy a house, think and talk about how prepared you are in terms of financial and time commitment. Now is the time to think about your day-to-day income and expenses. With other costs you’re facing, miscellaneous expenses and credit or school loan debt, how much can you afford to make
in mortgage payments? Remember that you may be approved for a more expensive house than you’re comfortable with, and only you can decide what you can handle in terms of payments. Homeowners do receive tax breaks and real estate is the #1 way people build wealth in this country.

If you do decide to buy, the first step is to get your credit report and make sure all is in order. The three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, will investigate any claims you make in writing if you see an error on your report. It can take time to resolve errors and discrepancies on your credit report. Credit reporting mistakes are common and can affect your credit scores negatively, which in turn may limit your mortgage options. Wait until after you’ve closed on your house to purchase furniture or that new car you’ve been wanting; it may add more debt to your profile and possibly lower your credit score.

Buying a home is an intensely emotional decision; don’t wait until you’ve fallen in love with a house to research mortgage options. Do it at least 6 months before you start looking. The two most common types of mortgages are the fixed rate and adjustable rate. A fixed rate loan usually has a life of 15 or 30 years. Adjustable rate mortgages are ideal for homeowners who only want to stay in their homes for five years or less. Adjustable rate mortgages start out with lower payments and have been quite effective at building wealth for first time buyers.

Pre-approval is the next step. The lender will pull your credit reports, verify income and employment, and if all is in order, issue a pre-approval letter.

Now the big question: how much can you afford to put down? There are many programs that allow couples to buy a home with very little or no money down. This will all be examined and explained during your pre-qualification meeting.

Your real estate agent will be another important factor. A good realtor doesn’t just help find a home; they’re qualified and experienced negotiators and have an eye for the fine print. In most cases the seller of a home pays your realtor, so having a realtor to assist you makes sense.