Homeownership isn't for everyone. Oftentimes, renting a home, as opposed to purchasing a home, fits in better for some people. While rental housing works for millions of people, there comes a time when many are ready for something more. With these four items under control, people will know that they are equipped to dive into homeownership.
Clear on Personal Housing Requirements
Deciding on the perfect home takes many potential home buyers months to determine. They spend a great deal of time looking at different kinds of home styles and floor plans to get a sense for their needs. Since owning a home is a longer commitment, people should have at least a few ideas in mind for the kind of housing they would want in a property they own. These factors include:
- property type (e.g. single-family home, condominium, townhome)
- square footage
- number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- new construction vs. existing homes
People who may be buying a home with another person need to confirm that their preferences mostly overlap with the other party. Otherwise, they may end up arguing over the details of every home they visit.
In a Period of Higher Financial Stability
Getting access to an apartment or a rental home requires a certain amount of financial stability. Buying a home increases that requirement by a significant degree. When people who rent find themselves in a spot of financial trouble, they may be able to get out of their leases without too much hassle. People cannot easily do this with a mortgage. As such, future home buyers should make sure that they can show a consistent job record for the past couple of years, a stable income expected for several years into the future, and a solid handle on their current debts. This stability often shows itself in a better credit report and higher credit scores, which buyers need to secure the best mortgage loan terms.
Prepared for a Longer-Term Commitment
Although some people decide to buy a Clinton home and then sell it only a year or two later, this rarely makes practical financial sense. Most people live in a home for about 13 years after they buy it. With a down payment and closing costs of at least a few percentage points of the sale price, home buyers usually need to occupy the home for several years to justify the purchase in the first place. People who want to buy a home should be sure that they are ready to live in the neighborhood for the time being. This also means that home buyers should generally aim to buy properties that will meet their needs for at least 5-7 years, to avoid losing money.
Up to the Greater Responsibilities of Homeownership
Much of the increased responsibility being a homeowner involves the mortgage, but not all of it. Buying a single-family home may mean that a person is now in charge of a lawn and home exterior for the first time. Even people who buy a condo with all exterior maintenance outsourced or managed by a homeowners association still have to arrange for upkeep of the home's interior. As a homeowner, there is no landlord to call when the plumbing gets backed up. As such, buyers should research the typical costs of owning a home, and confirm that they are ready to take care of them personally.
Buying a home is a step millions of people take, but preparedness is important. By checking off each of these items, buyers will be sure that they are ready to take on the challenges of owning a home.