3 Simple Numbers to Help You Buy a Home

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all kinds of life plans, but buying a home doesn't have to be one of them. Sure, virtual tours and cautionary measures aren't ideal, but they are structures that can help keep us safe and move us forward on our property-owning journey. The same can be said of some financial guidelines to keep in mind as you look for a place to settle down until this all blows over (and beyond).


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Experts recommend a pretty simple rule for organizing your spending, whether it's a condo, a house, or a houseboat. It's called the 30-30-3 rule, and it's neither totally strict nor necessary to stick with all three parts. Following all components of the rule may help you down the road, but give yourself some room to maneuver as you weigh everything that's important to you.

  • First, a mortgage (or rent) should ideally take up ​no more than 30 percent​ of your gross income.
  • Second, you should have about ​30 percent of the new home's value​ saved in cash before you commit.
  • Finally, your new home shouldn't exceed ​three times your annual gross income​.


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Budgeting for home ownership can be weird and difficult, especially if you've never done it before. All kinds of unexpected costs can spring up the closer you get to closing. And the COVID-19 pandemic has presented both health and financial complicating factors for sure. Talk to as many experts as you can as you go through this process and figure out what works best for you. There may be some cheats available — and owning where you live may not be totally out of sight.