The American Dream – buying a house. While a house can be a great investment and give your family a feeling of security, it is important to evaluate your decision and not rush into anything. The experience of buying a house can be a great one that gives you years of happiness and security, but it can just as easily be the opposite experience. Everyone has read the financial questions; Do you have a savings? Can you handle the mortgage payment? Is your credit score high enough? While these are great questions that everyone should ask, there are 3 other questions not specifically related to finances that I feel are just as important.
- Are you stable in your job and location?
The one perk of renting is that you are usually only tied to the location for a year lease, and then you can move on without a lot of hassle or potential money loss. When you own a home, moving isn’t always so easy. Before you jump in the home ownership boat, ask yourself if you and your family are happy with your jobs and location. If you plan to make a career move or location move, it may not be the best time to buy a home. On the other hand, if you like your job and the city or town you live in, buying a house may be a great investment for you. No one knows exactly what the future holds, but this is one question you want to give a little bit of thought.
- Are you ready for the repairs?
Right now, what do you do when your toilet overflows or the oven stops working? If the only way you could imagine responding is to call the landlord, then you may want to consider that before purchasing a home. On the other hand, if you are used to tackling those repairs yourself, or have the money set aside in a budget to pay for it, then you may not blink an eye when a problem comes up in your own home. There is no doubt that owning a home comes with a great deal of responsibility. For a family that is always on the go, these repairs may be more of a headache than it’s worth. Be sure to consider this before purchasing a home.
- Can you get what you want?
Take a look at your ideal school district, house size, and amenities or features. Now take a look at your max budget. Do these things align? If you have to downgrade location or house size and quality, you may want to consider if this is the best option for you. You might be better off staying where you are until you can afford to get more of what you want. If, however, you are able to get most of the things on your list, or upgrade from what you are living in now, buying a house may be a great option for you. This is where it may come in handy to pull out the pen and paper and start making some lists.
The decision to buy a home is a big one. It can come with many benefits. But at the same time, it can be a trying time for some families. Before you take that leap, sit down with your family and answer the three questions above. If you still feel ready, then go for it! If you decide to rent, that’s ok too. You may want to read some articles about making your rental feel more like a home, and you may not even know the difference! Whatever you choose, may it be the best for your family.