6 Ways to Know If You Are Ready to Buy a House


We know that you’ve thought about buying a new home in Tampa Bay.  It is a good time to buy!  The interest rates are low, resale inventory is limited, and there are lots of great new neighborhoods popping up in the suburbs.  You may even have started to look at the listings and have visited model homes.  But are you really prepared to become a homeowner?  Here are 6 ways to know if you are ready to buy a house in Tampa:


1)      Are you going to stay?

One of the first questions that you should answer is how long you intend to stay in the Tampa area?  If you are planning on moving elsewhere within three to five years, then it may not make sense to put down roots and buy a new home.  Consider your lifestyle, family and career to help decide whether Tampa is where you want to live for a while.  It often takes three to five years in a home before you start to see a good return on your investment.  If you are planning to stay, then it is better to put your money to work gaining home equity rather than simply renting a place.

2)      How are your finances?

The next consideration is whether you make enough money to afford a new home.  You can use a mortgage calculator to get a rough estimate of costs, but talking with a financial advisor or mortgage lender can give you a better idea of your financial fitness.  You will need to be able to cover the principal, interest, taxes, insurance and any HOA fees.  Plus, you will want to have enough extra for any unexpected repairs or emergencies.  Experts recommend that your monthly payment be less than 28% of your gross income.  Also take a look at how much debt you carry, as too much debt can scare away a lender.  If your credit cards are maxed out, you should work to pay them down before trying to secure a home loan.


3)      Do you have enough savings?

It is important that you have amassed enough in your savings account to make a sizeable down payment on a new home.  In this tight housing market, the sellers will often make decisions on the buyer that brings the most to the table.  While you can put less than 20% down on a home and still qualify, the more you have available upfront may make a difference on whether you get the home or not.  There should also be an adequate amount in your account to handle the closing costs, moving costs, furniture purchases while still leaving enough for an emergency fund.  There are always unexpected expenses, especially if you purchase an existing home.  Newly constructed homes offer warranty periods and less likely to require emergency repairs.

4)      What is your credit score?

A good credit score is necessary to get a new home loan and to lock in a lower interest rate.  Mortgage lenders want to be sure that you can make all payments on time and will be hesitant to lend to someone with a poor credit report.  If you have filed bankruptcy, have too much debt or have been lax in making timely payments, then you will struggle to get a home loan.  Look up your credit report in advance and work to correct any issues before you apply for a loan.  It may take some time to clean up your credit, but it will help in the long run.


5)      Is your job steady?

Buying a home means that you will need to have a steady source of income to make monthly payments.  Most lenders will look at your job history over the past two years before making a decision.  Changing jobs frequently is a warning sign to lenders, unless it is within the same industry or position change or promotion within the same company.  A gap in your income will be looked at negatively unless there is a good reason for the lapse in employment.  A change in how you are paid can also come into consideration.  For example, if you move from a salaried position to a commission based role.  Lenders get nervous if there might be fluctuations in pay so make sure you are prepared to answer any questions about the stability of your job.

6)      What do you want in a new home?

There are often plenty of reasons to buy a new home.  Do you need more space for your growing family?  Want to put your children in a better school system? Move closer to your job? Or live in a better neighborhood?  Buying a new house is a big step for most people so take the time to write down everything you want and need before starting your search.  A list will help you, and your realtor, find the perfect home in the right neighborhood and within your price range.

We hope that these questions guide in your quest for a new home and encourage you to visit one of our model homes located in some of Tampa’s top new neighborhoods.


BLOG | NEWS | UPDATE comes to you courtesy of Homes by WestBay

Homes by WestBay offers a new kind of home building experience with a focus to deliver an exceptional homebuilding experience at an outstanding value. Recognized both nationally and regionally for our award-winning new home designs, we offer new single-family homes from our New Vintage and Artisan collections for sale throughout the finest new communities within the Tampa Bay area.

Founded in 2009, we have evolved into being the largest, privately owned new homebuilder in the Tampa Bay market.  Our team of talented professionals—many of whom are award-winners in their fields of expertise – together with the top architects, engineers and other industry experts we work with, are dedicated to designing and creating exceptional new homes, new floor plans, new designs, for you and your lifestyle. Our team’s collective experience in exceeding the expectations of homebuyers throughout the Tampa Bay area spans over a century.

Homes range in size from 1,601 square feet to over 4,848 square feet and priced from the Mid $200’s to over $700,000.00.  Model home hours are 10:00AM-6:00PM Daily Except Wednesday and Sunday Noon-6:00PM.

For more information on Homes by WestBay, its residential designs and the communities where it builds call 813-438-3838 or visit www.HomesbyWestBay.com.