If you haven’t gotten on the first rung of the property ladder yet, the holidays are a perfect time to make a game plan for buying in the New Year. After all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, parties and family time starts to wind down, sit down with your laptop and a cup of hot chocolate and start strategizing to get the process started.
STEP 1: BUDGET AND FINANCE CHECKUP. Take a close look at your monthly income and spending, and evaluate what your true comfort level is with a monthly housing payment. Remember, your first home should be as much of an investment as a place to live, so try to reach for the property with the best chance of appreciation in the coming years. Be realistic about your spending, but also try to reign in unnecessary expenses by cutting out some restaurant visits, weekday drinking and subscriptions to services like Hulu or Prime, if you’re not using them much or can share with a housemate. And speaking of housemates, factor a possible housemate into your housing budget—you’ll actually save money by buying a two-bedroom condo that allows you to charge a roommate rent. Also, remember that when you buy, you’ll enjoy some tax deductions that will cut the bite of the mortgage down a bit, so make sure you discuss these possibilities with an accountant to understand all the benefits available to you. Finally, if you have any credit issues, get those resolved. Pay off any outstanding obligations if you can, and get an account with a credit repair service like LexingtonLaw.com to remove blemishes on your report, even if they weren’t there by mistake.
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