Are You Ready to be a Homeowner?

We’re not taught much about homeownership when we’re young. Like paying bills and taxes, it’s something we’re all expected to pick up along the way. With something as important and expensive as buying a home, however, there should be a guide to help first time homeowners determine if they’re ready to enter the real estate market. Here are some things to think about before buying your first home.

Can you afford it?

The most obvious question first time buyers ask themselves is whether they can afford a home. What many don’t ask, however, is if they can afford all of the unexpected expenses that come with homeownership. While everyone knows they'll be making mortgage payments, here are some other expenses to consider: 

- Mortgage closing costs

- Property tax

- Home insurance

- Maintenance and repairs

- Home improvement

- Utilities

- Moving costs

Do you plan on staying in the area?

When you buy a home, you’re not just committing yourself to the house itself, but also to the area you live in. Typically, it only makes sense to buy a home if you’re planning on staying in it for a number of years. Here are some questions to consider before committing yourself to an area: 

Could my career (or my spouse's career) lead me to transferring to another location?

If children are in the present/future, is the local school district what I’m looking for in terms of education for my child?

If children are in the future, will this home provide enough space for your growing family?

Will I have to move soon to care for aging parents?

Do I like the weather and culture in the area?

Is your income stable?

Owning a home is much easier when you have a stable income or two stable incomes between you and your significant other. Getting preapproved for a mortgage will help you rest easy knowing that you can keep up with the bills each month to maintain or build your credit.

Stability doesn’t just mean feeling comfortable that your company won’t get closed down or that you won't be dismissed from your job. It also means that there are frequent openings in your field of work in the area you choose to live. So, when planning to buy a home, make sure you factor in the potential travel distance to cities or places you could potentially work.

Are you prepared to put in extra work?

If you currently rent an apartment, you’re most likely not responsible for maintenance outside of basic cleaning. Owning a home is a different story. You’ll be taking care of the house inside and out. That means learning basic maintenance and buying the tools for the job. It also means mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, shoveling snow off of the roof, and other menial tasks that you’ll need to make time for. 

While becoming a homeowner can be overwhelming, it is also a significant and rewarding moment in anyone's life. We hope the points we've made will not discourage you from becoming a homeowner, but better equip you to decide when the time is right for you.