Buying a home is one of life’s biggest milestones, and it’s also likely the biggest purchase you will ever make.
Many mortgages last anywhere from 15 to 25 years—which means your decision to sign on the dotted line will be something you’re reminded of every month for the foreseeable future. Although that can sound scary—especially if long-term commitment to a single neighborhood, city, or state is a daunting idea—it can also be one of the most exciting times in your life.
And when you truly love your home, working towards paying it off and finally owning it all on your own can be a rewarding experience that gives you enormous pride and peace of mind.
If you’re still renting an apartment or home but are considering taking the plunge of home ownership, but you still need that extra push, it may be time to take stock of where you’re at in your life and your priorities to help determine if you’re ready to make the commitment of buying your own home.
Check out Blindster’s list of the top reasons that indicate you’re ready to become a homeowner:
You have long-term plans to stay in your area.
Uprooting on a whim or chasing a career dream is easy when you’re renting an apartment or a house, but it can be a bit tricky when you’ve purchased a home. If your wanderlust is limited to vacations and you feel settled in your career or choice of geographic location, buying a home can be a great way to put down roots in your community and begin building a long-term life for yourself and your family.
You’ve saved up enough money to make a down payment.
In many cities, monthly mortgage payments are cheaper than paying rent each month for an apartment or house of equal size, but getting your monthly mortgage payments to that level may require a sizeable down payment. The more money you put towards the cost of your home in the beginning, the less interest you will pay and the less you’ll pay each month—which can free up more money for your savings and other expenses. It’s important to strike a good balance between making a down payment that will reduce your monthly mortgage payments while also leaving you with enough money left over to cover immediate and emergency expenses.
You’re prepared for the costs and upkeep of home ownership.
It’s easy to feel like you’re throwing money away when you live in an apartment or rental home, but signing a lease instead of a mortgage does give you one major perk: your landlord is on the hook to fix almost anything that breaks or needs repairs. But when you’re a homeowner, any and all problems can only be solved by one person: you. In addition to being responsible for shelling out the cash for home repairs, it’s also vital that you know how to perform basic home maintenance and repairs and that you are prepared for “hidden” expenses like property taxes, HOA fees, and lawn care.
You know what you want in a home.
If you think you’re ready to buy a home but you aren’t quite sure what type of home you want, keep looking and keep saving. While there’s no guarantee you will end up with your dream home even after an exhaustive search of your local housing market, the chances of finding a home that meets the majority of your wants and needs is much higher when you know exactly what you want from the outset. Before fully diving in to the idea of buying a home, brainstorm a list of all the amenities and styles you want in a home, and use that list to influence the homes you tour and seriously consider as you move forward with your plans.
You’ve done your research on the neighborhood you want to live in.
When you buy a home, you’re not just buying the four walls—you’re buying the neighborhood. That means the local grocery stores, shopping centers, school systems, parks, access to interstates, and, perhaps most importantly, your commute to work are all part of a package deal. It’s rare to find a home that checks all of those boxes, so take the time to determine which is most important to you before you begin the search process. Moving into a dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re dozens of miles away from civilization and your commute to work has you leaving every morning before the sun rises.
You have a plan for the next 5, 10, and 25 years.
Are you looking to buy a home where you will raise your children and eventually retire? Or are you looking for a starter home that can get your feet wet in the housing market and eventually turn into a rental property for your family as you move on to bigger and better things? Having a solid plan in mind for your new house, whether it’s a temporary move or a place you will call home for the rest of your life, is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Choosing a starter home in an up and coming neighborhood can lead to significant rental income in the years to come, but you must do your homework to buy in the right area and at the right time.
You have enough savings to withstand a financial emergency.
Whether it’s due to an unexpected medical event, vehicle repair, or job loss, a sudden financial emergency can put a serious bind on your savings and your monthly income. Those unexpected costs can be easier to absorb if you’re renting an apartment or a house, as your monthly expenses are relatively static and don’t change much. But as a homeowner, the stakes are much higher due to the miscellaneous costs of owning a house, and missing a few mortgage payments due to unexpected expenses or loss of income can put you at risk of foreclosure and losing your home.