Before the move:
Get and stay organized. Make sure you keep records of all your moving expenses as they can be tax deductible. Keep a list of items to take and not take and those issues you want to get tied up before you leave.
Research your new community. The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce is a great place to find information about your new home.
Keep your medical records up to date. Gather medical and dental records - including prescriptions and shot records. Ask your existing doctors if they can refer you to care providers in Albuquerque. Make sure you have your children's shot records for attending a new school.
Prepare your children. Arrange to have school records transferred to your children's new school district and/or daycare. Involve your children in the moving process, from picking out the new home to packing their toys. Relocating can be a "scary" adventure, so make sure you talk to your family about the move. Visit about the new community and discuss how to make new friends.
Tie up loose ends. Before you move to Albuquerque:
• Contact utility companies to disconnect, transfer or connect services. Plan on keeping current services through your move date and having new ones available prior to your move-in date.
• Return library books and pick up dry cleaning or items out for repair.
• Call your local newspaper and set a date to cancel your subscription.
• Call your insurance agent to see what changes to expect in your policies. Ask if moving is covered and arrange for insurance for your new home.
• Contact health clubs or other organizations to which you belong. Ask how you can end, sell or transfer your membership.
• Contact your bank and/or credit union to transfer or close accounts. Clear out safety deposit boxes. Pick up traveler's checks or cash for "on the road" expenses.
Contact the Post office. File a change of address. If you don't know what your new address will be, ask the postal service to hold your mail in their office in your new city. Albuquerque's post office info can be helped here. Make a list of friends, relatives and businesses that will need to know of your move and send your new address to them as soon as possible. Postal forwarding time is limited.
• Decide what items need to go before your move and plan a yard sale or contact your local charities. If you donate, be sure to get a receipt for income tax purposes.
• Make a list of things that are valuable or difficult to replace. Ship these items by certified mail or carry them with you.
Finish up. Before leaving your old home, check every room, closet and cabinet one last time. Be sure to clean the house one last time. You wouldn't want to move into a dirty house so try and make that the same feeling for the new owners. Make sure everything is loaded. Leave a note with your new address in the house so future occupants can forward any stray mail. (They will do this more if you leave your home is a clean state.)
Benefits of Home Ownership
Homeownership has many advantages - both financial and personal. But buying a home is an important decision. Look at the benefits and the differences between homeownership and renting to better understand if owning a home is right for you.
What are the benefits of homeownership?
- Tax savings.
You may earn significant tax savings because you can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from your federal income tax and many states' income tax if you itemize your deductions.
- A more stable monthly housing expense.
Your monthly housing loan or mortgage expense can remain the same for the life of your mortgage, depending on the type of loan you choose.
You build equity in your home over the life of your loan, which allows you to plan for future goals like your child's education or your retirement
Mortgage lenders typically use the housing expense and debt-to-income ratios to more accurately determine how much you can afford to spend on your mortgage.
- Housing Expense Ratio
Mortgage lenders recommend that your monthly mortgage payment should be less than or equal to a quarter of your monthly gross income. This percentage can change based on the type of mortgage you choose and sometimes the area in which you're looking to buy.
- Debt-to-Income Ratio
You need to factor your other debts into determining an affordable monthly mortgage payment. Mortgage lenders look at whether your total debt is larger than 30-40% of your monthly gross income. Remember, debt is not just credit cards and student loans. It can also include alimony, child support, car loans, and housing expenses.
A mortgage lender, a housing counselor, or consumer credit counselor can help you better understand these guidelines. Before you talk to a financial professional, you can organize your financial picture by creating a budget. Don't forget that you may need to save for the down payment and closing costs. There are many first time home buyer loan programs that will cover the down payment but you will almost always have closing costs.
Lenders evaluate mortgage applications a lot differently today than they did even 10 years ago. And even more has changed in the last 20 years. What used to close the door to homeownership may not be a factor today.
Here are some common homeownership myths:
Myth: You need great credit to become a homeowner.
Fact: You may still be able to buy a home with less-than-perfect credit. And remember, you can improve your credit over time.
Myth: You need to put 20% down to buy a home.
Fact: There are many types of mortgage products and programs that allow low and no down payments. But remember to factor in other costs such as closing costs, possible moving expenses, and maybe a few repairs.
Myth: You can't buy a home in the U.S. if you're not a citizen.
Fact: If you're a legal resident, you can purchase a home in the U.S.
Myth: If you don't have a bank account or credit cards, you can't qualify for a mortgage.
Fact: Having a bank account is always a good idea and helps you establish credit. However, lenders can approve you for a mortgage even if you don't have a bank account or credit cards. You'll likely need to keep records showing a history of payments you've made for items such as rent, utilities, and car payments.
Myth: Lenders share your personal financial information with other companies.
Fact: By law, banks and other financial institutions are restricted in their uses and disclosures of information about you. In some situations, you may choose to restrict the disclosure of your information if you don't want it to be shared.
Myth: If you're late on your monthly mortgage payments, you'll lose your house.
Fact: If you have a financial hardship, like the death of your spouse or a medical emergency and fall behind, it's possible to keep your home and get back on track if you contact your lender early.
Myth: You can't get a mortgage if you've changed jobs several times in the last few years.
Fact: Not true. You can change jobs several times and still get a loan to buy a home. Lenders understand that people change jobs. The important thing is to show that you've had a stable income.