Owning a home is the American dream, but it can be hard to know if you’re in the best position to go from renter to owner. Not only is home ownership a big responsibility, there are many factors to consider before you buy or build a home. If you’re completely new to home ownership, it can be even harder to know what questions to ask, and things to consider, before investing in a home of your own.
If you’re considering buying or building a home, the following list can help you decide if you’re ready to take the leap.
Are you really ready to settle down?
A house is a big financial commitment, but it also represents a commitment to staying in one location. You should ask yourself if your family is ready to commit to an area for a minimum of five years. This is typically considered the minimum number of years you need to live in a home to make it financially viable. You should consider your work commute, the quality of schools in the area and the availability of conveniences your family uses for entertainment and recreation.
You’ll want to make sure that the house fits your needs today and can accommodate any changes you anticipate for the future. If you plan on growing your family, you’ll want to make sure your new home has room. If your kids are older, you may need less room as they move out. Additionally, the decision to buy or build a home impacts every member of the family, so you need to consider everyone’s needs. For instance, families with children are going to be more interested in quality school districts and the availability of kid-friendly activities is important.
There’s no doubt about it, houses are one of the largest financial investments you can make. While they can definitely be a great investment over the long-term, you need to be financially stable first. So not only do you need a savings account to fall back on, you’ll want to have a stable job. Of course, there is no way of knowing what the future may hold, but there are signs to consider. If you’ve had your position for a few years and are with a stable company, you’re in a decent position. If you’ve switched jobs recently, or your company has been bought out or shows signs of instability, you may want to increase your savings before buying.
Owning a home is an incredible and rewarding experience, giving you a stable place to create memories that will last a lifetime. But buying or building a home is also a big responsibility, so it’s important that you set yourself up for success. By knowing your family’s needs, considering the future and being financially prepared you can make sure that you have the resources you need to move past the obstacles.
If you’re ready to take the next steps, or want to window shop for the future, we have a gallery of homes online.