Wondering how to get a mortgage, but scared to death you’ll mess things up? To be sure, buying a house is exciting, but there’s a fine line between excitement and pure, unadulterated fear.
This emotional roller coaster can be partly explained by the fact that “money represents so much more than just currency,” according to Emily Stroud, a certified financial adviser and author of “Faithful Finance: 10 Secrets to Move from Fearful Insecurity to Confident Control.”
Consciously or not, you may equate money with power or safety. As such, funneling a large portion of your dough toward a home can be nerve-rattling.
“People put a tremendous amount of stress on themselves to not mess up,” says Nick Holeman, a certified financial planner at Betterment, an independent online financial adviser.
So in case you find yourself freaking out, here are the Jedi-like mind tricks that can help you navigate the scarier parts of the mortgage and home-buying process—and keep your cool.
Educate yourself on how to get a mortgage
“The level of financial literacy in America is dismal,” says Holeman. “Money is often too taboo to be spoken about in the home, and isn’t well-taught in school either.”
That doesn’t absolve you of fiscal responsibility. It means you’re going to have to work harder to understand the info that you need when it comes time to buy a home.
Take baby steps—like checking out a home affordability calculator that crunches the numbers instantly on your income and debts and estimates what price house you can afford.
Once you can do that without hyperventilating, you can research the more nuanced idea of debt-to-income ratio (how much you owe versus how much you make) and making sure yours is no more than 36%. (Higher than that and you may not comfortably buy a house and keep your shirt.)
Too soon? Hands feeling a little clammy? Then ease off the money talk and…
Learn from other home buyers
“Friends or family members who’ve purchased a property likely felt the same anxiety you’re feeling,” points out Chris Taylor, a broker and investment property specialist with Advantage Real Estate in Boston. “They can be extremely helpful by sharing their own experience and answering any questions you may…