There are many benefits that come with owning your own home. Doing so can tap into a unique sense of pride that only exists outside of the watchful eye of a landlord. In addition, homeownership gives you control to shape your space to your liking. You even build equity in your home as you go along.
However, homeownership is a very serious task that comes with many weighty responsibilities. Maintenance, repairs, mortgage payments, and taxes can all feel like a heavy burden at times.
If you’re considering purchasing a home, here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if it’s truly time to make the leap into owning your own dwelling.
Purchasing a Home? Ask These Questions First
Before buying a home, ask these questions first to make sure you buy a house you can afford. Also, to make sure you avoid a money trap.
Have You Budgeted for a Home?
Budgeting is one of the most important aspects of preparing to buy a home. You don’t want to go into the process with little-to-no money to speak of. Even if you can get a loan, this leaves you underprepared for the long-term process of paying your mortgage, taxes, insurance, and other home maintenance costs.
If you’re thinking of buying a home, it’s wise to start by carefully going over your budget. As you do so, ask yourself the following:
- Are you meeting all of your current costs?
- Do you have an emergency fund in place?
- Do you have minimal debt to speak of?
- Have you been preapproved for a mortgage?
- Can you afford the added costs that come with owning a home?
If you can pull together a solid budget, you’ve finished the first major step toward owning your own home.
Are You Planning on Moving Soon?
If you’re a fan of frequent moves, you may want to pump the brakes on the idea of settling down in a house too soon. For instance, if you like the idea of moving to the big city for work, you may want to put off purchasing a home in the suburbs for a while.
A common litmus test for buying a home is asking yourself if you plan on moving within the first five years. If that’s the case, you’ll probably end up losing money on the deal.
Instead, enjoy your current professional lifestyle. Then, once you’re done with your adventures as a digital nomad or an international job-hopper, you can settle down into a more stable lifestyle.
How Is Your Commitment Track Record?
Buying a house should never be an impulsive decision. One of the most important questions to ask yourself before you do so is how your record is when it comes to commitment and coming through on your responsibilities.
This isn’t the time to sugarcoat your answers. Be brutally honest with yourself. Are you able to handle the contractual responsibilities that come with a mortgage and home maintenance? A home isn’t the kind of thing you can return within thirty days of purchase, after all.
Do You Have Handyman Skills?
You don’t have to be Mr. Fix It to own your own home. However, you do have to at least have some knowledge of home maintenance — and some handyman skills don’t hurt, either.
Are you curious about caring for your own home?
If you hear a strange noise in your living space, do you need to investigate to see if it’s a leak in the plumbing or a mouse scratching in the walls? Whether you fix your home yourself or hire someone else to do so, you must be willing to tackle maintenance and repair issues when they arise.
Have You Considered All of the Details?
Finally, if you feel that the time has indeed come to purchase a home, make sure to consider all of the important details that factor into the decision.
Just a handful of them are as follows:
- Are you going to need room for a family?
- Are you okay with an old house, a new house, or either?
- How big of a yard do you want?
- Have you considered the geographic location you want to live in?
- Are things like the neighborhood, school system, or community security priorities for you?
- Have you found a realtor that you can trust?
Make sure to carefully consider each and every detail of your move. It can feel overwhelming at times, and that’s okay.
However, taking the time is important, as you don’t want to finish such a massive life decision only to realize that you locked yourself into a situation that won’t be desirable in a year or two.
Purchasing Your First Home
Buying a home can feel daunting. However, if you take the time to do your homework beforehand, it really can be an exciting process.
So review the questions above and come up with a thoughtful answer for each one. Once you’re finished, you should have a good idea of if you’re ready to be a homeowner. If the answer is no, then start working on what’s needed to get there. If the answer is yes, then have fun with the process!
Dan Matthews is a freelance writer with a penchant for financial wisdom and solid research. You can find him on Twitter @danielmatthews0 and LinkedIn.
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.