Buying a house in today’s market can be an overwhelming and often defeating journey. So many of us dream of being homeowners but have no idea what that whole process is really like and what we truly need to know to make an informed decision.
According to the Statista Research Department, 65.5% of Americans are homeowners. However, owning a home has become less attainable to the younger population due to overwhelming debt like school loans and high rental prices. These factors, plus an overall lack of knowledge of home loans and the home buying process, have made it difficult for most people to start their home buying journey.
This article will look at what a $180,000 home loan is, what you might need to make to afford it, what sort of financing options to consider, and important things to know when purchasing a home.
Can I afford a $180,000 house?
This is determined by various circumstances, including the down payment, interest rates, mortgage points, taxes, insurance, other debt, and other assets. Not to mention your overall financial situation and whether you make good financial decisions.
No matter your income or what home prices you are looking at, you should not be considering purchasing a home until you are financially stable.
How do you know if you are financially stable?
The following are signs that you are financially stable and ready to take on the responsibilities of a mortgage and owning a home.
- You know exactly what you make in income and assets, along with what you spend every month in bills and expenses.
- You have and use a monthly budget that accounts for everything going in and out.
- You have multiple bank accounts to automate your bill-paying and savings.
- You have an emergency fund that is at least 3-6months’ worth of your monthly expenses.
- You have enough savings separate from your emergency fund to make a down payment.
- You don’t rely on credit cards to handle any monthly overspending.
How much do I need to make to afford a $180,000 house?
On average, you should spend no more than 30% – 28% of your income on your mortgage payment.
Your monthly mortgage payment will rely heavily on how much you put down as a down payment, what the length of your loan is and what your loan interest rate comes out to.
For example, if you got a loan for $180,000, had a down payment of $36,000, got a 30-year loan with an interest rate of 3.25%, you will have a monthly mortgage payment of $627. This means you would need to earn at least $26,858 per year before tax for that to be 28% of your income.
If you could get a loan with zero down payment but still had a 30-year loan with an interest rate of 3.25%, you would have a $783.37 monthly payment and would only need to make $33,573 as income to afford a $180,000 home loan.
However, you will not only have a monthly mortgage payment to worry about when you own a home. There are many monthly costs that you need to take into consideration like:
- Homeowners insurance
- Utilities (Electric, Gas, Water, Trash)
- Other Monthly expenses (Car payment, Car Insurance, Cable, Internet, Phone, Gas, and Groceries)
- Unexpected monthly expenses
Therefore, an income of $26,858 – $33,573 is not a good income level to say that you can afford to own a $180,000 home.
To see if you can truly afford a home price, head over to Zillow and use their affordability calculator. In addition, you will need to know your annual income and how much you pay monthly in bills and debts.
What are the costs for a $180,000 home loan?
Let’s look at two scenarios:
- No down payment – If you purchased a home loan for $180,000 with a $0 down payment on a 30-year loan at a 3.25 interest rate, your monthly payment would be $783.37. If you took 30 years to pay off that loan, you would have paid a total of $282,013.20 in fees, with $102,013.20 of that being interest only.
- 20% down payment – If you purchased a home loan for $180,000 with a 20% down payment of $36,000 on a 30-year loan with a 3.25 interest rate, your monthly payment would be $626.70. If you took 30 years to pay off that loan, you would have paid a total of $225,612.00 in fees, with $81,612.00 of that being interest only.
How much of a down payment do I need for a $180,000 home?
A down payment on a property is a part of the purchase price paid in cash. The remainder of the purchase price is frequently financed through a loan from a lender and repaid in monthly mortgage payments.
Down payments are represented as a percentage of the total purchase price, and the loan terms determine the proportion you must pay. It should be noted that not all house purchasers with financing are obliged to make a down payment.
The amount you must put down on a property depends on the type of loan you obtain, but it typically varies from 3% to 20% of the home’s buying price.
Aside from lender regulations, increasing your down payment might be financially advantageous to minimize the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
To compare costs with various down payment scenarios, click here.
What are the monthly repayments?
The actual amount of your monthly mortgage payments depends on a variety of factors like how much down payment you made, what length of the loan you have, the interest rate you got, and whether your property taxes are wrapped up in your escrow account.
For the sake of this article, let’s look at what monthly payments look like in the following:
Scenario 1: You obtain a home loan for $180,000 at an interest rate of 3.25% with a 20% down payment ($41,200)…
- 15-year loan = $975.30 monthly mortgage payment
- 25-year loan = $676.39 monthly mortgage payment
- 30-year loan = $604.07 monthly mortgage payment
Scenario 2: You obtain a home loan for $180,000 at an interest rate of 3.25% with a $0 down payment.
- 15-year loan = $1,264.80 monthly mortgage payment
- 25-year loan = $877.17 monthly mortgage payment
- 30-year loan = $783.37 monthly mortgage payment
What is the average home for each state?
A $180,000 home in West Virginia will look vastly different from a $180,000 in Hawaii.
As of 2021, the average home price in the United States is $374,900.
Hawaii is the most difficult state to purchase a home due to the lack of available inventory and the high cost of living. A typical home costs over $600,000, usually getting you a 2-bedroom one bath home/condo.
West Virginia is the cheapest state to purchase a home because of the low average income and cost of living. A typical home in this region costs around $108,000, and that will usually get you a spacious house with around 3 bedrooms and 3 baths.
To check out the average home price for all 52 states, click here.
What is the average age of homebuyers today in the U.S.?
Homebuyers today can be categorized into three groups:
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964) 75% are homeowners.
- Gen Xers (1965-1980) 60% are homeowners.
- Millennials (1981-1997) 32.2% are homeowners.
The average age overall to buy a house in the United States is 46yrs old.
33% of people buying homes are first-time homebuyers, and most of these buyers are Millennials.
What do I need to know before buying a house?
If you are a first-time homebuyer, the list of things you need to know but don’t is long.
It’s best to do a little research in your area, get to know what you can afford according to your income, and talk to family and friends who have gone through the process to see what they suggest.
In general, there are a few key things to consider before buying a house:
- Are you ready to take on the responsibilities of being a homeowner? Do you have an emergency fund and savings that can cover home repairs? Are you prepared to pay for appliances that break down or die? Do you have a plan for tackling lawn maintenance?
- Are you financially stable? Do you have the income and available monthly funds to take on a monthly mortgage payment along with homeowners’ insurance? Are you prepared for potentially higher utility bills?
- Do you have money for a down payment that is not coming from your emergency fund?
- What is your credit score? Is it at a level that lenders will be comfortable enough to accept? If it’s low, do you have a plan on how to raise it before applying for a loan? The better your credit score, the better interest rate lenders will give you.
When is the best time to buy a house?
According to Zillow.com, the best time to buy a house is August.
During the late summer months, the inventory of homes is usually higher, giving buyers more to choose from. This, in turn, makes the market less competitive, potentially protecting buyers from having to enter a bidding war. However, the price will usually not be as negotiable as it would be if you were looking to buy in the fall and winter.
What are my options for financing?
There are quite a few options for financing. Some of the most common types of loans are:
Conventional Loans – These are loans that are not backed by a government agency and are issued by a private lender. In 2021 roughly 80% of home loans were conventional loans. These loans usually have stricter credit requirements of a minimum of a 620 credit score and require a minimum down payment of 3%.
FHA Loans – An FHA loan is insured through the Federal Housing Administration. This is a typical loan used by first-time homebuyers, and they usually require a minimum down payment of 3.5%
V.A. Loans – V.A. loans are insured through the Department of Veterans Affairs and are available for those who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military. They usually require a minimum down payment of 0%
USDA Loans – USDA loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture mortgage program for lower-income families in rural areas. They usually require a minimum down payment of 0%.
Most people do not qualify for $0 down payment loan options except for certain groups like:
- First-time home buyers
- Health care workers
- Households with disabled members
- Low-income families
What are some additional fees I should be aware of?
Most people go into the home buying process away from the actual loan cost and down payment but don’t realize other fees are involved.
Some costs to be aware of during the buying process are:
- Home appraisal
- Property records checked
- Home inspection
- Home warranty
- Closing costs
- Realtors commission
What should I do before I make an offer on a house?
When you are ready to go house hunting, it’s tempting to jump right in without any preparation. However, that can end up costing you the house of your dreams. So instead, it’s best to step back and ensure you have all your ducks in a row before starting the home buying process. Listed below are what you should do before making an offer on a house.
- Understand your long-term goals and whether now is the time for you to purchase a home. Make sure you don’t plan to move in the next few years or change careers.
- Find out what you can safely afford, given your yearly income and monthly expenses.
- Have a sizeable down payment to put toward a loan so that you look like a good candidate with potential lenders, and you can have a more affordable monthly price.
- Speak with mortgage lenders to get pre-approved for a loan. By obtaining pre-approval before looking at houses, you know exactly what type of loan you qualify for and can confidently enter the bidding process. In addition, a pre-approval is better than being pre-qualified because the lender does a more thorough check on your credit and financial documents, which gives you a more accurate idea of what loan amount lenders will approve for you.
- Take time to think through what you want and need out of a home. Think about the location, the size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, what you want and need the house to do for you and your family, and what future needs you might have. Creating a list of must haves and wants will help you decide what houses to see and pass on.
- Now is the time to get into contact with a real estate agent. Let them know what you’ve been pre-approved for, what you are looking for in a house, and the price range you want to shop in.
What are some hidden costs of owning a home?
Once you finally close on your home, you might be thinking you are free from unexpected costs and fees. Unfortunately, however, that is not the case.
Some common costs to be aware of after you close on the house are:
- The cost of moving (packing supplies, rental trucks, movers, etc.)
- Setting up services like utilities, cable, internet, etc.
- HOA or Condo fees
- Cost of replacing missing or broken appliances
- Cost of replacing locks and making extra keys
- Price of home repairs and renovations
- Cost of decorating and furnishing a new home
- The potential cost of a longer commute
Many factors go into buying a home at any price. For example, figuring out if you are financially ready and able to afford to be a homeowner, knowing what type of loans you qualify for, getting pre-approved, deciding whether you have a down payment, what scenarios will get you the best monthly mortgage payments, what you need and want out of the house and where to search.
When it comes to a $180,000 house, most incomes will show that you can easily afford those monthly payments. However, you need to consider your overall income and other monthly expenses to know that for certain.
It’s always best to seek out a professional who can help guide you through the process and take your time. Buying a house is a serious investment that can have negative ramifications far into the future. So, make sure you are ready for the responsibility and do your research.