The truth is that money can be difficult to talk about and many financial issues are complicated to tackle. That's why Chase and Vox Creative created the Five Essentials series, found here and distributed through the Vox Media Network, to explore financial fitness issues that are relevant to you. We're breaking it down to what's really essential to know about a topic. This month, we're taking a look at homebuying and mortgages.
By Mai Nguyen
Buying a home is likely one of the biggest financial choices you'll make. No wonder it's scary to many Americans, especially first-time buyers. But there are things you can do to start on the homebuying path — and take advantage of today's attractive conditions.
It's a good time to buy: The cost of paying rent keeps going up while interest rates remain near record lows, just over 3.5 percent for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. One-third of mortgage borrowers want to take advantage of today's rates, according to a recent survey from JPMorgan Chase.
There's a lot of planning that goes into buying a home. When you think it's time to buy, it is not enough just to have good credit. Low debt, stable employment, and savings are all vital when it comes to being ready to make such an important and sizable purchase. Start planning at least a year before starting to look for a loan, says Andrew Poulos, a tax accountant. "That way you have time to get things in order," he says.
To help you stay on track and get ready, here are the five essential rules to homebuying.
Mai Nguyen is a freelance writer in Toronto who covers business and personal finance.
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