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The dollar amount you expect to pay for a home. Over the past 50 years, the average price of a new home in the U.S. rose from $19,300 in 1963 to $76,400 in 1980 and skyrocketed to $394,000 in October of 2017. Despite the rise in home prices, you can still find a perfect home that’s within your budget! As you begin to house hunt, just make sure to consider the most important question: How much house can I afford? After all, you want your home to be a blessing, not a burden.
The amount of money that you will pay at the closing of your loan.
The ongoing cost of financing a home purchase. This is generally shown as an annual percentage of the outstanding loan. For example, a 5% interest rate on a $200,000 mortgage balance would add $833 to the monthly payment. As the balance is paid down through monthly payments, the interest portion of your payment is reduced.
The amount you pay each month for your mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, and HOA fees. This payment should be no more than 25% of your monthly take-home pay. That leaves plenty of room in your budget to achieve other goals, like saving for retirement or putting money aside for your kid’s college fund.
Term: 15-Year Fixed Rate
A home loan designed to be paid over a term of 15 years. The interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan. A 15-year mortgage will have a higher monthly payment but a lower interest rate than a 30-year mortgage. Because you pay more toward the principal amount each month, you’ll build equity in your home faster, be out of debt sooner, and save thousands of dollars in interest payments.
Term: 30-Year Fixed Rate
A home loan designed to be paid over a term of 30 years. The interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan. A 30-year mortgage will have the lowest monthly payment amount but usually carries the highest interest rate—which means you’ll pay much more over the life of the loan. Unless you like the idea of paying thousands of dollars more for your home than you have to and staying in debt twice as long as you need to, opt for a 15-year mortgage if you’re not paying cash for your home.
Term: 5/1 Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)
A home loan designed to be paid over a term of 30 years. The interest rate does not change for the first five years of the loan. After that time period, however, it adjusts annually based on market trends until the loan is paid off. The interest rates are usually comparable to a 30-year mortgage, but ARMs transfer the risk of rising interest rates to you—the homeowner. Right now, interest rates are incredibly low, and they have been for some time. But once rates start to adjust, there’s a 50% possibility they will go up!
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Calculated annually as a percentage of your original mortgage amount based on your credit rating and down payment. PMI protects the lender in the event you do not pay your mortgage, and it generally costs 0.5% of your loan each month. The additional cost does not apply toward your mortgage payoff. In most cases, you can avoid PMI if you put 20% down on your home purchase.
Generally a requirement for any home mortgage. The premium is usually included with the monthly mortgage payment. Costs and coverage vary by state and the value of the home. Get professional advice to make sure you have the proper coverage. Homeowner’s insurance can cover the cost to repair or rebuild due to damage caused by events like fire, windstorms, hail, lightning, theft or vandalism. It can also protect your possessions inside your home like clothes, furniture and electronics.
Homeowner’s Association (HOA) Fees
Fees due in exchange for being part of a homeowner’s association. A homeowner’s association is an organization in a planned community that maintains and reinforces rules for the properties in its jurisdiction. By purchasing a property in such a community, the homeowner is agreeing to the HOA’s rules and fees. HOAs maintain a significant amount of legal power over property owners regarding the outside conditions of the home.
Taxes levied based on the government’s appraisal of your property. These are usually included as part of your monthly mortgage payment. Property taxes vary greatly depending on location and home price. National state averages range from 0.32% to 2.31%.(3)