Steps to Buying a House Made Easy

After years and years of working toward your retirement goal, buying your dream home in retirement can be one of the most difficult decisions you can make. Before you jump into this next chapter, there are a few things to remember and make sure you’ve got a handle on.

1. Age is not a consideration

Federal law prohibits discrimination based on age, so retirement on its own cannot disqualify a borrower. More than anything, mortgage lenders want to be assured of the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. This is why some retired borrowers may experience issues, as income verification requirements may be stricter.

2. Know your plan

It’s amazing how many couples aren’t on the same page when it comes to retirement—and don’t even realize it. On a beach. In the mountains. Near the grandkids. Sometimes we have different opinions and thoughts about where we want to retire. Whether you’re single or married, it’s important to start planning and making decisions early. Visit different states. Stay at various communities. Take your retirement for a test drive and come to an agreement on where you truly want to live.

3. Select the right financing

Having a clear understanding of your costs and financial output in retirement is crucial. More times than not, there’s less money coming in, so you have to be savvy with the money that is there. For some, that means putting less down on a house, so they have more to pay the bills. For others, having little to no mortgage is the best plan of action. Consulting a financial professional is the best way to avoid stumbling blocks and reduce stress when it comes to financing your dream home in retirement.

4. Expect the unexpected

There are a lot of “what ifs” in retirement. However, most people plan for the moment—not the “what ifs.” When financing for a house and setting a budget in retirement, it’s important for you to factor all the scenarios that could affect your bottom line. What are the tax implications? How does it affect our income? Can I afford the payments on one retirement salary if needed? When setting the financial stage for your retirement, it’s imperative to be ready for the unexpected.

5. Know your down payment

Conventional loans generally have minimum down payments between 5% and 20%; FHA loans require 3.5% if you qualify. If you’re eligible for veteran financing through the VA, you may not need a down payment. Remember, the more you can put down when you buy, the lower your monthly payments will be and the less interest you’ll pay overall.

6. Know your income sources and get prequalified

For income to be considered, the lender must be able to verify that it is not considered temporary by their standards. The length of time for this requirement is determined by individual lenders, but as a general rule, any income that does not continue for at least three years may be disqualified. With basic information on your income, savings and credit, your lender can give you an estimate on how much you qualify to borrow.

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