It's the season of college graduation and many millennials are turning toward their futures, asking questions about careers and likely looking long-term goals that include purchasing a home. In "Dear College Grads: Start Saving for Your Dream House Now (and Other Unsolicited Advice for Your Future," Jamie Wiebe says people often make the process sound easy: "Make money, save money, have good credit. Ta-da, a house!" But she says, "not so much: Getting your finances in order for home ownership can be a challenge, even if your goal isn't a luxury mansion." Luckily, she provides some useful ways to prepare for a future home purchase.
1. Build a solid credit history by opening a credit card and paying your student loans on time because you'll want a score above 700.
2. Think about homeownership when you contemplate careers, considering factors such as income and locale.
3. Cut a significant chunk of your student loans to ease balancing student debt and a mortgage easier.
4. Establish a general idea of your goals for a home, which will help you work toward a financial plan to meet your needs.
5. Save as much money as you can, not only for your down payment, but also for the additional 5% that closing costs, home inspections, and taxes may add to your home's purchase price.
6. If you're thinking about investing, don't gamble -- utilize a financial adviser or a high-interest savings account, which provide less risk.
7. The income bump that a new job brings shouldn't mean an increase in your lifestyle spending. If you save your extra money, you'll be far better off in the future than if you attend that extra happy hour.
8. Finally, don't be afraid of beginning in a simple home or small apartment as a starter property, knowing that you can always upgrade in the future.