June 7th, 2022 10:26 AM by Gregg Mower
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Debt Management Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
Are you planning on buying a home within the next year? Now is the time to start managing any existing debt so you can improve your debt-to-income ratio and boost your credit score. While you don’t have to pay off all of your debt before buying a home, do what you can to get your financial house in order before taking on more debt. The last thing you want is to become house poor! Here are some debt-management tips to help you prepare for a home purchase in the next 6-12 months.
Home Buying Steps for Business Owners
If you own your own business, you may have to take some extra steps as you prepare to buy a home. For example, consider forming an LLC to protect your personal assets from business-related debts or lawsuits. This will keep your new home safe from creditors! LLCs also enjoy tax advantages and management flexibility that can make it easier to grow your company. Plus, when you file an LLC, your business will seem more credible to mortgage lenders when it comes time to buy your new home. Check specific state regulations around forming an LLC so you know what to expect.
Cut Your Spending
If you want to pay off a lot of debt quickly, one of the first things you should do is reduce your spending. MoneyUnder30 recommends against creating a strict household budget and tracking every dollar you spend. Instead, set up a system that tracks all of your spending automatically, like using a single debit or credit card for everything.
Consider allocating yourself some money to spend on personal expenses, like a dinner out or a new clothing item. For example, you could set aside just $100 a month to spend on treats for yourself. Rewarding yourself for your spending cuts is a great way to maintain your motivation.
Make a Debt Reduction Plan
People use all kinds of different methods to pay off debt. Look into your options and choose a debt repayment method that will work best for you. For example, you could start by paying off either your smallest loan amount or your debt with the highest interest rate. These methods are known as the debt snowball and debt avalanche, respectively. Both of these methods can boost your confidence and increase your sense of control over your debt, encouraging you to continue down the same path.
Transfer Your Debt
If you’re paying a lot of interest on your debt, consider transferring your remaining balance to a line of credit with a lower interest rate. This will make it easier to pay down your debt. For example, you’ll typically pay a much lower interest rate for a line of credit than for a credit card or personal loan. A line of credit can also be useful for consolidating several loans into one. Just use the money from your line of credit to pay off all of your other debts, then you only have to focus on making one loan payment each month.
Land a Side Gig
Bringing in some extra income will help you pay off debt more quickly. Consider picking up a side gig for a little while until you’re happier with your debt situation. Look for a part-time job in town, drive for ride-sharing companies in your free time, or offer professional services remotely on a freelance basis. There are countless ways to make money on the side of your full-time job!
If you’re planning to buy a home within the next year, start preparing your finances now. Don’t let your existing debt get in the way of your homeownership goals! Make a plan to start paying down your debt now so you can feel confident in your decision to become a homeowner in the near future.
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Article was written by: Suzie Wilson