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Buying a home is probably one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, so it’s smart to give it plenty of careful consideration. There are many good reasons to want to own your home aside from with the financial benefits that come with building equity. Owning your home offers stability, comfort, and a place of refuge. But it also comes with numerous expenses, responsibilities, and a loss of flexibility. There are definitely trade-offs, so if you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, asking yourself these five questions will help determine your readiness:
- Are my finances in order? Ideally, you’ve saved enough for a 10% down payment. You should also consider how much debt you have, including credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and personal loans. If you’ve racked up significant debt and can’t pay it down, you’re not in the position to purchase a home. It’s smart to check your credit score, too. When it comes to buying a home, your credit score is a major factor in the process.
- Can I afford the mortgage payment every month? You’ll need to have a stable source of income that generates enough income to be able to pay your mortgage and all the other costs that come with home ownership. While the amount you pay for your rent and the amount you would pay in principle and interest on your mortgage loan may be similar, you also need to think about additional expenses such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees, and more. These charges can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly costs. Be cautious if you use an online mortgage calculator to determine how much it would cost to own a home because it only addresses one piece of the entire financial puzzle.
- Have I been pre-approved for a mortgage? Pre-approval is important because the lender will also tell you how much you can afford to borrow. This budgeting tool prevents you from overspending and narrows down the price range of homes you can realistically afford. Having pre-approval also makes your intent to purchase more credible.
- Am I planning to stay put for a while? Short-term home ownership rarely makes sense. Financial planners currently recommend that you should plan to stay in your new home for at least five to seven because the transaction costs are so significant. When you buy, you need to consider the costs of securing the loan, closing, and moving, as well as miscellaneous items such as paint and furnishings. These expenses can easily add up to thousands of dollars. And when you sell your home, you’ll have to pay a percentage in real estate sales commissions. So, if you devote the time and money to purchase a home and make it yours, and then sell it after two or three years, you’re going to come up short financially.
- Am I ready for the commitment that home ownership requires? You’ve likely thought about the expenses involved in purchasing your dream home, but you also need to take into account the supplementary costs that come along with it. Home maintenance, repairs, and replacements need to be considered, too. For example, you may need to buy a new refrigerator or want to renovate the bathroom. These kinds of expenses are all part of owning a home so it’s smart to consider them carefully before you commit.
If you answered “yes” to these five questions, congratulations! You’re ready to start searching for your dream home. If you weren’t able to say “yes” to all of them, that’s OK, too. These five questions can help you get prepared to purchase a home in the future.
Certified Title is a Title Insurance, Search and Settlement Services provider that uses the latest technology to make managing documents, communicating and closing transactions a breeze. To learn more, visit Certified Title today or call (888) 486-5511.