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Home Buying 101

Help is available when navigating the path to homeownership

Have you ever though about all the people involved in helping you buy a home? There will be professionals to help with every step. Let American State Bank & Trust’s Mortgage Team help you put together your Home Team!

It’s important to choose the housing option that’s best suited for your current lifestyle and financial situation.

For many consumers, buying a home is the largest purchase they will ever make. Homebuyers should spend time talking to their banker for help in researching their options to find a mortgage that fits their financial situation.

When considering homeownership, consider the following questions:

How much money do you have saved up? Start with an evaluation of your financial health. Figure out how much money you have for a down payment. Down payments are typically 5 to 20% of the price of the home. Be sure to keep enough in savings for an emergency fund. It’s a good idea to have three to six months of living expenses to cover unexpected costs.

How much debt do you have? Consider all current and expected financial obligations like your car payment and insurance, credit card debt and student loans. Make sure you will be able to make all the payments in addition to the cost of your new home. Aim to keep total mortgage payments plus utilities to less than 25 to 30% of your gross monthly income.

What is your credit score?

Homebuyers can expect to have their credit history examined. A high credit score indicates strong

creditworthiness. A low credit score can keep you from qualifying for a low interest rate on your mortgage loan. If your credit score is low, you may want to delay moving into a new home and take steps to raise your score. For tips on improving your credit score, visit

Have you factored in all the costs?

Find the average cost of utilities in your area, factor in gas, electricity, water and cable. Find out the cost of trash pickup. Consider yard maintenance and other basic maintenance costs like replacing air filters every three months. Factor in real estate taxes, mortgage insurance and homeowner association fee if applicable.

How long will you stay? Generally, the longer you plan to live someplace, the more it makes sense to buy. Over time, you can build equity in your home. Carefully consider your current life and work situation and think about how long you want to stay in your new home.

Our Online Pre-Qualification Form makes it easy, fast and secure to apply

For information on home lending programs, contact Meghan Wenker or Heather Rider at 701-774-4139. For a FREE “Money Guide to Home Buying” email or go to
American State Bank & Trust Co. NMLS# 407966