Buying a house is a big milestone, but how do you know when you’re ready to take that step? Here are seven questions to ask yourself before beginning the home buying process.
Do I Have a Stable Job?
This may be a given, but changing jobs right before or in the middle of the home buying process can be a nightmare. If you plan to purchase the home with someone else, the same goes for them. It’s best to be a steady job for at least six months before beginning the mortgage process.
Do I Really Understand My Budget?
You pay your bills on time but do you actually have a budget? Having and understanding your budget will help you in life and when purchasing a home. As a homeowner you need to make sure there is room in your budget if something goes wrong.
Am I Ready for the Added Responsibility?
When you own the home, the days of calling your landlord (or mom and dad) to fix your broken toilet are gone. Repairs and help are no longer free; you will have to be the person to call and pay the professional to make any repairs you can’t do on your own.
What Does my Credit Score and Debt Look Like?
Paying off your debt is not enough. If you don’t understand your debt, it may come to bite you. Before you begin the home buying process, it is critical that you take time to understand your credit score and debt.
Have Enough Saved for a Down Payment and Fees
Down payments aren’t cheap. Are you aware and prepared for all the additional expenses that go along with being a homeowner? You may have enough for the down payment but is there enough to cover mortgage insurance, closing costs and other fees?
Am I Willing to Compromise?
No home will be perfect, but what are the things that you can’t live without. Try to come up with 3-5 key aspects of the home that are your “must-haves.” By limiting your must-haves to only 3-5, it allows you to narrow your search without thinning it out too much. You can also make a wish list with additional things you hope to have, but you’re willing to compromise on.
When looking for a home my top three must-haves were location, a two-car garage and more than 1,200 square feet. There are many things that I really wanted to add (like a walk-in closet) but to find the dream home, I had to compromise.
Do I Have the Eagerness to Go Get It?
Finding a house can be an exhausting process. You will spend countless hours talking to your realtor, filling out paperwork and touring homes. If you don’t have the eagerness to go out and find your dream home, you might not be ready to take this next step.
Remember, there is no “perfect” age or life stage to buy a home. When buying a home, don’t compare yourself to your friends or peers, evaluate your personal situation to make sure you are mentally and financially prepared.