Buying Your First Home as a Physician: 3 Things to Remember
So, you’ve qualified as a physician, and can’t wait to leave your residency and start your practice. You’ve been offered an amazing position… and all you need now is somewhere to live! For many, this is their first home.
Whether you’re a house-buying novice, looking to practice as a physician in a new city, wanting to get your step on the property ladder or an experienced physician who owns a clinic – but who wants a change of scenery – the same rules apply when it comes to relocation.
You must find a balance between affordability, availability, and suitability.
Generally-speaking, as a physician, you’ll be able to afford a bigger house than most. However, just because you may find yourself in a higher income bracket than the average American doesn’t mean you can just choose any home you want, and assume you’ll get approved for a mortgage.
After all, mortgage guidelines (although rough) follow the principle that you can borrow up to three times your total annual income. (Couples benefit here, by being able to combine their incomes to increase the mortgage amount.)
Of course, that may sound like good news – and for many physicians; it is.
However, there’s no point taking a mortgage on your perfect home, if it’s going to leave you sacrificing most of your monthly income on mortgage repayments.
A good guideline is to aim for your monthly mortgage repayments to be no higher than 40% of your net monthly income. This ensures you can comfortably make your repayments, while also giving you plenty of leg-room for savings, home-improvements… or building your nest egg for your golden years.
Once you’ve got a realistic idea of what you can afford – both in terms of your own cash you’ll be putting towards the purchase of your home – and the mortgage loan you can afford – you need to determine if the home you want, is actually available in the location or neighborhood you want to live in.
More often than not, you’ll find yourself having to make compromises on at least some of your “must haves” and “must avoid” when it comes to finding your first home… so be prepared to be somewhat flexible, as this will enable you to find a home faster, and easier.
Searching for your first home can seem like venturing into a large jungle, with nothing more than a penknife; however, there are a few methods you can use to ease your search, and one of the most effective (and easiest-to-do), is to browse internet forums and message boards like Reddit.
Unless you have your sights set on a remote town with a population of 100, there’s a near-certain chance you’ll find questions from people online, asking what the areas are like, what it’s like to live there and so on.
This type of research can give you a good starting point – and once you’ve settled on your area (or areas), then you can begin actually looking for houses, thanks to the narrowed-down range you’ll now be dealing with.
Once you find a home you like the look of – or, in most people’s case – a few properties you’ve “shortlisted”, it’s time to decide which is the most suitable.
Before deciding either yes or no, you need to weight up a number of factors:
Work Accessibility: Is the home near enough that you could comfortably commute each day to your new place of work? Is there public transport you can use, or would you need to drive?
Local Facilities: Are there shops nearby? How about restaurants, parks, and cinema complexes?
Crime: What’s the local crime rate for burglary? Have there been higher-than-normal violent crimes recorded in the near vicinity? Is there a likelihood of gang activity?
Schools: Is the nearest any good? If you already have your eye on a school – is the home you’re looking at in the catchment area? What do the average grades look like?
Parking: Is there off-street parking available? If not, but there is on-street parking – is it a busy road? Is it likely you’ll struggle to find a space when returning home from work?
Some of the points above can sound a little anal – and in some ways, they are. But what you’ve got to remember is that buying a home is no small decision. Buying your FIRST home is an even bigger feat.
Combine that with the fact you are moving to a new, unfamiliar area…
And it’s not hard to see why taking your time is advisable.
Want a Simpler Way To Relocate and Buy Your First Home?
— Get in touch with us here at Physician Banks.
We’re a service dedicated to helping physicians relocate to new cities or states – regardless of whether they’re being a home for the first time, or if they’re already a homeowner – and we can take ALL of the hard work out of choosing your home.
We’ll help connect you with loan officers (so you can get your mortgage quickly, at a great rate)… we’ll do the house-search ourselves, in conjunction with our nation-wide collective of realtors (before presenting you a shortlist for you to look through…)
And we’ll help you at every step of the way – ensuring your move and purchase is as smooth, simple, and hassle-free as possible.
Best of all?
There’s No Charge For Our Service.
We recoup our fees from realtors… and as a special “thank you” for working with us, we’ll even give you a cashback figure up to $3,000, when you close your new home!