How to Buy Your First Home When You’re Expecting or Adopting a Baby
Is Buying a House While Pregnant Wise?
Buying a home always comes with challenges and obstacles. If you’re in the process of buying a house and having a baby at the same time, those challenges multiply. The same can also be true if you are adopting a child. So, which comes first? Mortgage or baby? Truthfully, it’s up to you. But read on, because knowing what’s involved when making this decision is always the smartest way to go.
Your financial situation is about to change in ways you might not even anticipate. However, there are steps you can take, mistakes you can avoid and ways to make your application as strong as possible.
In some situations, your best chance for success can become rather nuanced. Thus we suggest you start to work with a personal loan officer. They can advise you, and more importantly, explain why seemingly unnecessary steps often avoid big headaches.
Oh, and before we go further, congratulations. Lenders may get nervous about an upcoming pregnancy or adoption, but we are ecstatic about the idea.
Try to Anticipate Your Finances
A baby doesn’t just change your life, it changes your pocketbook and you need to prepare for that. When you sit down and determine if you can afford a house, you’ll need to account for a bunch of new expenses. These aren’t all of them (sorry), but it’s a good list to get your started thinking about common necessities.
- Upfront Baby Items (strollers, blankets, furniture, monitors, crib, etc)
- Ongoing Baby items (clothes/food/diapers, etc.)
- Health Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Education Fund
Adding a new baby to your family will also impact your tax filing (usually for the better). So you may also want to talk to your tax preparer about filing implications if you use one.
Armed with accurate estimates and information, you can start to assess your financial situation and determine how much home you can afford.
Three Quick Tips for Buying a House When Pregnant
1. Find a Kid-Friendly Home
When buying a house for you, it’s easy to find the things you like. When purchasing a home for a family, it’s easy to overlook the things that make it child friendly. Make sure the home you are looking at has safe railings and stairways that can easily be gated to prevent a child from falling down them. If the home was built before 1978, it may have lead-based paint that needs to be addressed for health reasons. Visit the local schools and see if they meet your expectations. Check for street traffic and assess how safe it might be to play near or ride a bike on.
2. Find the Right Price
We talked about anticipating your finances, but ultimately, what you’re trying to do is set your budget. How do you know how much home you can afford? A good rule of thumb is to keep your monthly home payment at or below 28% of your gross monthly income. To help you out, we’ve created a handy mortgage calculator that you can use to adjust the interest rate, down payment and other factors to understand how changes affect your total.
3. Find Your Financial Sweetspot
How to save for a baby and a house at the same time? It will take some time, but the sooner you can find the right balance between must-pay items like bills and want-to-do things like dining out and traveling, the better off you’ll be. Start lean. Try to forgo things like eating out or buying expensive clothes and see where you end up at the end of a month or two. You may find out you didn’t get economical enough with your spending. Or perhaps you find you can actually afford to have a little more fun than you expected. Finding your sweet spot when saving for a home, and after buying a home, will take time. Our advice: try to err on underspending versus acquiring debt.
Should I Be Applying for a Mortgage While Pregnant?
Does pregnancy affect a mortgage application? Simply the fact that you are pregnant should not affect your application at all. In fact, pregnancy is not a basis to deny or delay a loan. Lenders may verify income and other resources and have eligibility standards but they may not single out women on maternity leave to deny or delay loans for which they are otherwise eligible. Denying a mortgage based on pregnancy is a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
If you feel you’ve been treated differently in your efforts to secure a loan because you’re on maternity leave, you can contact the advocates at fair housing centers and they can be a resource in helping you to investigate the matter further and seek redress for any discriminatory harm that you’ve incurred.
Should I Buy a House or Have a Baby First?
Maybe you’re still asking is it better to purchase a home before or after you have your first child? Again, that decision is entirely up to you. Buying a home before having a child sounds easier, but it might not be. You may not know what you need, or, maybe you don’t want to move into a kid-friendly neighborhood yet.
Buying a home after a child is born can make the logistics of the move harder since you have a little one to look after while your whole world is in a bit of chaos. So the question to answer is, which challenges are you ready to face? No matter which way you choose to go, our best advice is to start with a personal loan officer. They’ll guide you to your new home and help you take the right steps, at the right time, for an easier mortgage process.