Preparing for Homeownership? Become Financially Stable First!

Preparing for Homeownership? Become Financially Stable First!

What does it mean to be a homeowner? This could mean owning a place to call your own, settling down, building memories, growing a family, becoming part of a community and even investing in your family’s future.

Another part of being a homeowner means that you’re investing in your personal financial goals. There are many financial benefits to it such as accumulating home equity rather than losing money in renting.

“How do I prepare for homeownership?” To provide a simple answer to that, we suggest becoming financially stable first before buying a home.

Here are 10 suggestions for how to become finally stable and prepare for homeownership:

1. Live Below Your Means

A good rule of thumb is to spend less than you earn. Living a lifestyle that you can afford can help you develop financially healthy habits.

Do this by tracking your monthly expenses, setting a monthly budget, lowering your bills (food, transportation, living, downsizing if needed), prioritizing your savings (build an emergency fund, savings and retirement) and make it a habit!

2. Start a Retirement Fund

Starting a retirement fund should ideally start in someone’s 20’s, typically when one earns regular paychecks after leaving school. By investing in your retirement now, your money has time to grow! Your money will compound by generating growth on itself each year.

3. Focus on Your Credit Score

Lenders use credit scores to assess an individual’s risk and how likely someone will repay a loan on time. A higher score can help you get a lower interest rate on future investments such as your home.

Do this by paying your bills on time, keeping balances low on credit cards, paying off debt, keeping unused cards open and only applying for new credit accounts if absolutely needed.

4. Save Money for Emergencies

Having an emergency fund or multiple ones can help protect you and your family from the unexpected such as car repairs, unplanned trips, unexpected illnesses or job loss.

By having backup funds, you’ll be able to pay for big expenses if they arise and not need to pull money from a retirement account. Doing so should be your very last resort because you’ll end up paying penalties.

Being able to pay cash for emergencies will help protect you in the long run.

5. Create a Debt Pay-Off Plan

The 2019 Consumer Debt Study by Experian averaged that most Americans carry an average of $90,460 in personal debt. Debt amounts are at an all-time high and rising. (Debt Reached New Highs – Experian, March 9, 2020)

What does this mean for those reaching for financial stability? Debt can affect someone’s personal financial stability greatly. Not all debts are equal, especially when comparing high and low-interest rates. They work against a debtor and numbers can increase greatly if debts aren’t paid off in a timely manner. It’s best to know how much you owe today, create a debt pay-off plan and work to eliminate your debts altogether.

6. Don’t be Impulsive

Be direct with your money. Yes, it can be more convenient to eat out and more fun to buy ‘the next thing,’ but this can quickly and easily drain your finances. Once you start monitoring your spending, stop impulse buying and balance your expenses, you’ll see how much you can save!

7. Invest

When you start to become more financially stable, you’ll be able to invest. You can put down deposits on investments such as a new vehicle, a house or even towards stocks, your community businesses and other real estate.

8. Budget & Plan

Tracking your expenses and setting a budget is a great way to help you spend money on the right things and save money!

Once you become more financially stable, you can factor in your potential mortgage, escrow, utility bills, water, electric, house insurance, etc and how these numbers will play into your budget once you buy a home.

It’s suggested that your mortgage or rent shouldn’t make up more than 30% of your monthly budget and at least 10-15% gets put away into savings and retirement, then from there, put money towards things that are most important to you.

9. Invest in Your Health & Wellness

Financial stability involves responsibility! Being financially responsible means investing in your health and wellness too. It’s important for your overall health because avoidable health issues can turn into costly bills later on. Protect yourself and your pockets by maintaining a healthy lifestyle!

10. Become Confident in Your Future!

Having a goal to prepare for homeownership by becoming financially stable is great! Although it’s important to stay on track, sometimes it’s difficult to stick with a plan exactly. Unexpected things and issues arise, so don’t be discouraged if your plan doesn’t go as anticipated. Stick with things! Don’t forget to treat yourself occasionally, have a backup plan and become confident in your future!

By considering and implementing these 10 suggestions, you’ll work to become financially stable, confident and hopefully a homeowner!

We also want to share 3 worksheets to help you along your path to financial stability and homeownership. Open the links to save and export for later.

Budget & Finances Snapshot

Mortgage Shopping Worksheet

Financial Meeting Prep Worksheet

Frequently Asked Questions

How does building with Miller Family Homes work?

You can learn about our process by viewing our Pathway to Homeownership (PTH) that breaks the building process down into three phases (pre-construction, construction and move-in) and 13 total steps. Review the Pathway here.

 How long does it take to build a new home?

From contract signing to move-in day, a Premier home takes approximately 6 months to complete, depending upon the weather.

How do I personalize my home?

During the pre-construction phase, you’ll select your community, floor plan and lot, then meet with our interior designer who will assist you with making home selections. You will make selections on paint colors, cabinetry finishes, flooring, appliances, backsplashes and more.

Can I buy a home that’s already built?

Yes, we have available Designer Homes for when you need a quick move-in or find your perfect dream home. Our interior designer made selections on these homes, so each one showcases homey, personal touches.

Where does Miller Family Homes build?

We currently build in three communities: Southern Ridge, Clear Creek and Village Estates. We also have a Build On Your Lot (BOYL) program where we can potentially build on your land in the Wichita, Kansas, metro area.

What are your starting price points?

We currently have two main price points starting from the low 200’s and from the upper 200’s.

How is Miller Family Homes “building better homes”?

By building healthier homes, we’re building better homes. We offer high-efficiency gas furnaces, range hoods venting to the exterior, fresh air ventilation systems, 10-year waterproofing warranty, 4” pleated air filters, 92% passive radon ventilation and a 1-year builder warranty program.

How is Miller Family Homes “building better communities”? 

We not only care about our communities’ appeal including landscaping and amenities, we care about the well-being of our families in our neighborhoods and the greater ICT community. We’re members of the Chamber of Commerce and Wichita Area Builders Association (WABA).

This year we’re partaking in a fundraising campaign to support children fighting cancer. The fundraiser is called The Great Cycle Challenge. Three of our team members are cycling 600 miles in the month of September 2020 and have a goal to raise $1,000 to donate to the cause.

Can you help me sell my current home?

We’re happy to help current Kansas homeowners sell their homes before building or buying one of ours. Our New Home Specialists are experienced in resales and will be happy to assist you in selling your current home.

Do you have preferred lenders?

  1. RCB Bank: Christy Almquist, calmquist@bankrcb.net
  2. Commerce Bank: Sandra Weber, sandra.weber@Commercebank.com
  3. Guild Mortgage: Guadalupe A Martinez, gmartinez@guildmortgage.net     

Do I need a real estate agent or broker?

No, we have community-specific New Home Specialists who are qualified real estate agents. They partner with a local brokerage company and can assist you during the entire process.

What if I’m already partnered with a real estate agent?

That’s great! We’re happy to partner with you and your agent during the process.

What if I have my own land I’d like to build on?

Our Build On Your Lot program is available for those with land in Wichita, Kansas, and the surrounding areas who want to build! We’ll come to review your land and provide pricing estimates.

Do you offer warranties with your homes?

We offer a 1-year warranty program on all Premier and Designer homes. At your Home Presentation before closing day, our Warranty Specialist will review this with you. You’ll then receive a customer care home checkup 60 days and 11 months after closing.

Can we provide our own appliances, cabinetry, flooring, etc?

We don’t allow customers to provide their own building materials or appliances. We receive our materials from our partnering suppliers which coincide with our warranty program.