Speak with a qualified expert
Experts like Conley can take a fine-tooth comb to your personal finances, helping you clean up a less-than-satisfactory credit report and develop an effective savings plan. Housing counselors can help point you in the direction of down payment assistance programs that may suit your unique situation.
To really dig into the financial aspect of saving for, and buying a home, chat with a certified financial planner, like Kristen Euretig, CFP®, the founder and CEO of Brooklyn Plans.
Euretig helps New Yorkers -- especially women -- make informed financial decisions. “We often help our clients make a plan to purchase a home and counsel them on next steps,” Euretig tells Thrillist, noting that the “old rules of thumb don’t really work for the modern economy, cost of living, and sky-high rents we pay [in New York].”
“I often tell people who are interested to get pre-qualified for a mortgage,” Euretig says. Instead of going to a big bank, Euretig recommends that you go straight to a mortgage broker, who can “pre-screen you for first-time homebuyers programs.”
“A good one,” she adds, “will even give you some credit counseling tips so you can get to where you need to be.”
Both Conley and Euretig advise that New Yorkers start right away with a dedicated savings plan. “I advise clients to set up a separate savings account for their homeownership goal, and to set up an automated savings plan to add to it every month,” says Euretig.
Try an online bank like Ally, or stick with a piggy bank-style method of saving. Conley says to put aside quarters, one-dollar bills, five-dollar bills -- whatever you can collect. “ Saving is extremely important,” says Conley, “and it’s a good habit to get into.”