Model house by stack of coins

Buying a house should be one of the most exciting times in your life. You finally feel ready to make this big change! Soon, you’ll insert yourself into a fresh new place that you feel will improve your situation in some way. It should feel like everything is looking up for you. Right?


But does it always feel that way?


Oftentimes, prospective homebuyers are ridden with anxiety about their big change and the potential damage it could do to their wallets. They might ask themselves, “Should I really be doing this right now?” or “Do I even have enough money to buy a house?” Their heads might swim with uncertainty and doubt prior to making the final decision, but luckily, if they’re willing to talk to mortgage lenders about the process, they’ll soon discover that there are more lending options than they maybe had initially thought.

Organizations like Rivermark offer a variety of loan options and advice that could help alleviate your worries and get you one step closer to buying the house you’re ready to buy. Since we always want you to feel comfortable asking questions about home loans and the costs you’ll need to be aware of when buying your house, we put together this blog post to help you answer some of the questions you might be asking.

General Home-Buying Overview

Here’s the answer to your question about how much you need to buy a house: it depends!

Obviously, the cost of the specific house you’re looking to buy will be the first thing you’ll want to look at, but after that, it also depends on your specific lender’s policies and fees. Each lender operates differently with varying annual percentage rates (APRs), closing costs, and more.

But it’s not only about what it’s going to cost you; it’s also how much they can help you save. Many lenders offer unique deals to those they lend to. When you’re trying to determine how much money you’ll need, you’ll want to talk to multiple lenders and compare their fees and incentives.

Lenders could provide special deals that fit wonderfully for you, including discounts for first-time home buyers, active military, veterans, public servants, and sometimes, even for people with student loans. So in order to find out how much you’ll be paying for your house, make sure you speak to your lenders to figure out the one you might like working with the best.

Choose the Right Lender for You

While you’re researching different lenders, you’ll likely look first at APR. This is a government-developed percentage rate created specifically for this purpose of homebuyers comparing prospective costs between lenders. While it may seem like you should just choose the lender with the lowest APR, you’ll also have to consider the various additional costs that may not have been included in the APR. Still, this percentage is a great place to start figuring out your cost, especially since lenders more often than not share that number directly on their websites, as Rivermark does.

While you’re choosing your lender, you’ll also want to decide whether you’ll go with an adjustable or fixed interest rate—and base your decision on that factor too. Would you like to pay a set fee every single month or would you prefer to pay less in the first few months and have it increase over time? If you’re looking to spend as little as possible upfront, you’ll likely want to find the lender who has a friendly adjustable rate for you.

  1. You’re going to look at APR.
  2. You’re going to look at special deals.
  3. You’re going to look at interest rates. 
  4. It’s time to take a look at that down payment.

Down payment percentages vary from lender to lender, but usually, the lowest possible down payment rate for a conventional home loan is 3 percent, while a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan is usually around 3.5 percent. At Rivermark, we even have options for no down payment. Consider which lender has the best option for you, and with which lender can you afford a higher down payment to cut down on other costs.

Additional Costs

As I mentioned before, you shouldn’t only be looking at APR and down payment to determine if you have enough money to buy a house. There are all sorts of other factors and fees you’ll want to be aware of at the outset of your homebuying venture.

The phrase “closing cost” is a sort of umbrella term that covers a number of the costs that you’ll have to pay in addition to the purchase of your home. Each lender has different closing costs, and they often vary for each situation, so just make sure you communicate with prospective lenders before you choose one. Ask them what is and isn’t included in your closing costs.

In addition to closing costs, you’ll also want to take into account the general cost of moving. Don’t just ask yourself how much the house and closing costs are. Consider how much it’ll take to travel to your new home and furnish it based on the new layout, and whether you’re going to need a professional to help you move. Then, take it a step further. This new home might come with new utilities and various living costs that didn’t exist in your last place. Put together a spreadsheet of all these costs in order to determine which lender to use and how much money you’re going to need month-to-month instead of just how much you can afford upfront.

And don’t forget private mortgage insurance (PMI). Some lenders require this type of insurance when you don’t pay at least a certain amount upfront, meaning that if it’s not included in your lender’s description of their closing costs, then you’ll have an additional payment on top of what they’re telling you. 

Closing Words

But don’t panic. While you may not be able to determine exactly how much you need to buy a house right now, all you need to do is speak to a few different lenders with the knowledge you now have and make an informed decision with their help. On top of that, type a few numbers into our mortgage calculators and get a few ideas of what you’re looking at.

Rivermark is proud to not only offer the help you need financially but also just to be here to give you the information you need. We know this should be an exciting time for you, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it is. 

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