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Are you ready to purchase a home?

Buying a house is one of the largest purchases you will make in your lifetime. It is an exciting process, but can be daunting if you are not properly prepared.






Here are a few tips to help make sure you’re ready to start the home buying process.

Start with savings goals
When you decide that owning a home is a life goal, you first need to assess your finances. A common down payment amount is 20 percent, but often lenders allow less. First-time homebuyers can even put as little as three percent down. However, a smaller down payment may mean a higher monthly mortgage payment and may require you to obtain private mortgage insurance, which is an additional cost. Evaluate different down payment options to help you establish your savings goals.

Know your numbers

Salary and geography matter. A recent report by HSH.com‡ provides information on the median home price, mortgage rate, monthly payment averages and salary you’ll need to afford a home in the 50 most populous U.S. cities.

Homeownership costs do not start and end with the down payment and purchase price. There are long-term expenses associated with owning a home, which can include:

* Home maintenance and repair costs
* Homeowner association fees
* Property taxes
* Homeowners’ insurance
* Utility bills
* Landscaping costs
* Costs for furniture and household goods

Add up the local and average costs of the above factors and subtract that total from what you feel comfortable spending on your home each month. The remainder is your ideal monthly mortgage payment amount.

Make a must-have list

Determine exactly what you need in a house and separate those factors from what you want in a house. For instance, if keeping or decreasing your work commute is a priority, then a location near your job site is essential. Factors that may not matter as much, like a finished basement or hardwood floors, should be relegated to a nice-to-have list.

With these tips in mind, you can begin your home search prepared with information about your finances, the market and the exact features you’re looking for in a home. You can also learn more about the homebuying process at umb.com/mortgage.

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Based on this piece, we think you might also be interested in reading the following blog posts:

Overlooked home maintenance for every season

How a HELOC can increase the value of your home

Green tips for spring cleaning your home

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s Web site and go to Web sites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other Web sites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.