Buyers: Create Your Property Wishlist

writingNow that you have your finances in order and know your mortgage budget, you’re ready to start shopping for your new home. There are many things to consider such as: What does your future home look like? Where is it located? As you hunt down your dream home, consult this list to evaluate properties and keep your priorities top of mind.

Click the link below to view and print the pdf.

Your Property Wish List

Get Your Finances in Order: To-Do List

piggy bankIf you’re thinking about buying your first home, one of the first things you should do is look at your finances. Not only will you want to get your credit rating up, you’ll also want to start saving for your down payment. Here are some tips to help you get your finances in shape for buying a home:

1. Develop a household budget. Instead of creating a budget of what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual spending habits over the last several months. This approach will factor in unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, as well as predictable costs such as rent, utility bills, and groceries.

2. Reduce your debt. Lenders generally look for a total debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt — car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net monthly income.

3. Look for ways to save. You probably know how much you spend on rent and utilities, but little expenses add up, too. Try writing down everything you spend for one month. You’ll probably spot some great ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.

4. Increase your income. Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.

5. Save for a down payment. Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with only 5 percent down, or even less, you can usually get a better rate if you put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aim for a 20 percent down payment.

6. Keep your job. While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.

7. Establish a good credit history. Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off the entire balance promptly.

How Big of a Mortgage Can I Afford?


Not only does owning a home give you a haven for yourself and your family, it also makes great financial sense because of the tax benefits — which you can’t take advantage of when paying rent.

The following calculation assumes a 28 percent income tax bracket. If your bracket is higher, your savings will be, too. Based on your current rent, use this calculation to figure out how much mortgage you can afford.

Rent: _________________________

Multiplier: x 1.32

Mortgage payment: _________________________

Because of tax deductions, you can make a mortgage payment — including taxes and insurance — that is approximately one-third larger than your current rent payment and end up with the same amount of income.

For more help, use Fannie Mae’s online mortgage calculators.

Your Home Search Made Easy


There are so many outdated third party real estate sites these days that it can seem difficult to get accurate information. If you’ve been using third party websites like Zillow or Trulia to search for homes for sale in Northeast Louisiana, you might be doing yourself a disservice. You no longer need to waste your time looking at homes that are no longer on the market, or surfing from company to company site to find listings. With the Perry & Associates Listing Alerts tool, you can create an account to save searches, and receive email alerts as soon as new listings that meet your criteria hit the market. We have the most sophisticated and up to date MLS internet software, which means you have access to all MLS listings, with any changes to listings updated within minutes.

Click here to create your free account and search homes for sale in Northeast Louisiana.


Quick Links for real estate searches for Ouachita Parish and surrounding areas:

Monroe Swartz Farmerville Rayville Mer Rouge Claiborne
West Monroe Calhoun Jonesboro St Joseph Delhi Bawcomville
Sterlington Ruston Bastrop Oak Grove Mangham