Some women have biological clocks that say ‘it’s time to have a baby’. Some people feel that way about marriage. For the longest time, just dating or living together is fine, but all of a sudden, there’s a strong lure they didn’t expect to tie the knot. And then there’s ‘house fever’…the irresistible urge to dump the apartment or rental home and jump into home ownership.
But…are you actually prepared to buy a house? Do you have the foundation in place to become a successful homeowner? There are some important questions you need to ask yourself before you begin the world’s most significant shopping trip.
- How long are you planning to stay in the area?
If you’re by nature a wanderer, buying a house may not be the best answer for you. Granted, if you sign a lease, it’s usually for a year, but once you buy a house, uprooting yourself to move to another location becomes much more involved than packing up your clothes and furniture and heading out. The process of buying a house is long and complicated, and it’s not always easy to sell a house either. Buying a house requires a desire for a sense of permanence.
- Is your current family unit going to change?
Are you planning to have children (or more children) or are your children going to be leaving home soon? Could elderly relatives be joining the family in the future? Are you going to need a home office or access to good community schools? All of these family-based questions are important when you’re thinking about buying a house. They’ll determine the size of the house you’ll need, and where you’d like to be. If you don’t have a good idea of how you’d answer these important questions, you may need to take some more time to think.
- How positive is your income forecast?
If you have a job known for its unreliable earnings, a job based on commission, or are planning a career change, you may be better off renting. The same is true if you work in a shrinking field subject to layoffs, or if it would be difficult to find another job relatively quickly if you were to lose the one you have. If your income were to drop suddenly and significantly, foreclosure and the resulting hit your credit will take as a result is much more difficult than moving to a less expensive apartment.
- Is your credit able to carry the burden?
Along with your income forecast, your credit rating is a major concern when you’re considering buying a house. If your credit is shaky at best, you’re unlikely to get the financing you need to buy the home you want. You may need to delay the decision while you work on repairing your credit history.
- Is total autonomy important to you?
There are advantages to owning your own home that renters don’t have, and one of them is the freedom to make your own decisions about your surroundings. If you want to paint your walls black, add a pool, change your siding or landscaping, it’s all up to you. If living within the constraints of a landlord’s rules makes your hackles rise, you may be ready for your own home.
- Are you looking for budgetary or housing stability?
Rents can rise significantly, rental properties can be sold to new owners or the landlord may want to take possession of a house again for any reason. If you’re the type of person who likes the certainty of knowing that you’re in control of your own destiny, buying a home could be the way to go.
- Are you able to handle a little uncertainty?
Are you the type of person that saves, plans for a rainy day and rebounds well from unexpected setbacks? Recessions, variable housing markets, and unexpected large repairs can be incredibly stressful when you own a house. If you’re the type of person who spends every cent of your paycheck, often lives beyond your means or isn’t willing to take a well-considered risk confidently, homeownership probably isn’t for you. You need to be brave, yet prudent, to invest in a house.
Buying a home is a big undertaking, and not everyone is truly ready when the urge to start house hunting hits. At Ernest Signature Custom Homes, we’re always here to help you with the tough decisions. Our experts are here to walk you through this important process and help you decide if you’re ready to join the ranks of happy homeowners. Call us at (912) 660-9673 or email us today!