Five Tell-Tale Signs You’re Ready to Buy a House — Beyond Having a Down Payment

When it comes to buying a home, there are the obvious signs you’re ready. The main one? You’ve got enough money saved for a down payment (which doesn’t have to be 20 percent, by the way!), with some cash left over in savings for a cushion. But you also have to be emotionally prepared for ride that could include bidding wars, inspection concerns, and other twists like appraisal gaps.  (All things we are happy to explain to you!) 

But what are some lesser-known — yet still important — signs you’re ready to become a homeowner? Here’s what the real estate experts have to say:

You’ll stay put for a while.

Amid the pandemic, an estimated 50% of all Americans were considering a move. Remote work and new flexible leasing models made frequent moves and test-driving different cities easier than ever before.

If you’re looking to become a homeowner, you don’t necessarily have to buy your “forever home.” But you should plan to own the property for at least three to five years. Typically, after this amount of time, a home has had ample time to appreciate.

Your dog needs a backyard.

For a lot of people, a dog tips the scales in favor of buying a home. Either you already own a dog and know it will be happier with a backyard, or you want a dog that will require a backyard. In fact, one third of millennial homebuyers said their dogs incentivized them to buy a home. It’s not a frivolous reason! 

You enjoy DIY projects.

If you’re a renter, and home renovation shows have instilled in you the desire to buy and fix up a place, then you should consider following your instincts! Of course, renovations are never as easy as they look on TV. (Those shows have entire crews orchestrating the before-and-after magic). But renovations can be a rewarding challenge and a way to make your home feel like yours. At the very least, homeowners should be prepared to spend some weekends doing home maintenance chores, whether that’s mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, or changing out your toilet flappers.

You’ve been crunching numbers in a mortgage calculator.

Playing around with mortgage calculators is a great way to get a snapshot of what homeownership looks like for different types of properties.  These types of calculators can give you a good ballpark picture of how much you’ll be shelling out every month in housing costs when you factor in things like HOA dues, insurance costs, and property taxes. You can also plug in loan terms, like the length of your loan and interest rates, to see how these factors affect your monthly payments. 

When you're ready to take the next step, you should connect with a trusted mortgage professional.  A conversation with a lender will help you understand all the costs involved in procuring a mortgage, and will also help create a budget in which you can work. There's nothing worse than falling in love with a home, only to find out later that it's not within your budgeted price range! 

Your job is pretty stable

Before buying a home, you should ask yourself “Is my employment stable?” COVID-19 ushered in a lot of economic uncertainty, so this can be a super tough question to confidently answer.  Some things to consider include whether your employer could potentially be relocating you or changing the company’s remote work policy, as well as requiring employees to come back into an office.  But if your employment is stable and you have no concerns about affording your monthly payments, making a long-term commitment to a mortgage is more beneficial financially than paying towards rent. 

All of these things considered - are you ready to take the next step towards homeownership?  Give us a call today!

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