Home ownership can be scary, especially if you are looking to buy your first home.  Although finding your ideal home will take time, energy, and of course money; home ownership isn’t as un-achievable as some may think.  Below we have broken down the top five myths about home ownership so you can make informed decisions. 

You Have to Be Debt Free and Have Perfect Credit 

While we all strive to be debt free, it isn’t a requirement to qualify for a mortgage.  With so many Americans having student loan debt, lenders recognize being completely debt-free when looking for a home isn’t the most common reality.  Most lenders look at debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to determine if a borrower can make the monthly payments required.  You can calculate this on your own or with a professional to see if/when you will be ready to buy.  Keep in mind, that even with an acceptable DTI you still need to be able to make the down payment to qualify for a mortgage.  Lenders also take credit into heavy consideration.  Having a track record of using credit responsibly and making on time payments shows lenders that even with some debt, you have been able to manage credit in the past. 

You Must Have A 20% Down Payment 

The 20% down payment has been hailed as the golden rule for a long time, but it is not always the case.  When putting down a 20% payment you are not required to get mortgage insurance which can save money in the long run.  There are also down payment assistance programs in many states and counties to look into.  The best way to figure out what you should do in terms of down payment is figuring out what your true budget is when house shopping and drafting a timeline.  In some cases, borrowers can put down as little as 3% on a home and be approved. 

You Can Do Whatever You Want To Your Home 

In an ideal world you could do whatever you wanted to your house whenever.  Although, homeowners have much more options then renters for customizing their space, they are still subject to certain rules.  For example, if you belong to a Homeowners Association, you may not be able to paint your house a different color or let your grass grow above a certain length.  When doing major construction or renovations you may have to request permits to build.  Lastly, if your home is registered as historic there are restrictions as well.  When looking at homes keep in mind what are your limits for updating the home and process so there are no surprises later on. 

All in all, home ownership is an achievable goal for most.  If you are looking to buy a home, meet with a lender to see where you stand and to create a timeline of when you can achieve this goal.  Most lenders offer consultation free of charge to help potential homeowners figure out where they stand.  Look for resources in your area and be sure to do your research, then you’ll be well on your way!