Deciding Whether You're Prepared for Homeownership - Guidance from Real Estate Professionals

Lisa Mailhot  |  August 2, 2023


Deciding Whether You're Prepared for Homeownership - Guidance from Real Estate Professionals


If you're contemplating the prospect of buying a home, there are numerous factors to consider. The state of the housing market, mortgage rates, and property prices are undoubtedly important, but the critical elements lie within your personal life and financial situation. 

While housing market conditions are definitely a factor in your decision, your own life and your finances may be even more important. As an article from NerdWallet says:

“Housing market trends give important context. But whether this is a good time to buy a house also depends on your financial situation, life goals and readiness to become a homeowner.”

Instead of trying to time the market, focus on what you can control and address some crucial questions to gain clarity on your readiness to take the plunge.

1. Do You Have Job Stability?

Considering the stability of your employment is essential. Purchasing a home is a significant investment, and when you sign a home loan, you commit to repaying it. This responsibility might feel like a substantial burden. However, having a dependable job and a steady income can provide reassurance and peace of mind. According to NerdWallet's explanation:

“A mortgage is a big commitment . . . Wait until your employment is stable before thinking about buying a house.”

2. Have You Determined Affordability?

To ensure you have a clear understanding of your savings requirements and projected monthly expenses, it's advisable to have a conversation with a reliable lender. They can provide valuable insights into the pre-approval process, loan options, prevailing mortgage rates, estimated monthly payments, anticipated closing costs, the percentage of the home's purchase price required for a down payment, and additional relevant information.

The most exciting aspect is that you might discover you're closer to achieving your objectives than you initially thought. Notably, a 20% down payment is not always mandatory unless stipulated by your lender or loan type, as explained by Down Payment Resource:

“A 20% down payment on a home is great, but . . . Many mortgages require no more than 3% to 5% of the purchase price as a down payment. Plus, there are loans and grants that may help cover these costs. Search for down payment assistance in your area, and discuss your results with your mortgage lender . . .”

3. How Long Do You Plan to Live There?

Another crucial aspect to ponder is the length of time you plan to remain in one place. Building equity in your home through loan payments and property value appreciation takes time. If you intend to relocate too quickly, you might not recover your investment. For instance, if you're contemplating selling and moving within a year, purchasing a home at this moment might not be the most prudent decision. As highlighted in a recent CNET article:

Buying a home is a good idea if you’re planning to stay put for at least three years. Home values typically increase between 2% and 5% annually, so you could end up paying more in closing costs than you’d earn in proceeds if you sell after only a year or two.”

Therefore, carefully contemplate your future plans. If you foresee a possible relocation to a different city due to an upcoming promotion or the need to be closer to loved ones for caregiving, take these factors into account during your decision-making process.

Above all other considerations, the most crucial question to address is whether you have a team of real estate experts supporting you. If not, it's essential to begin by finding a reputable local agent and a lender you can trust.

Bottom Line

f you find yourself in the process of deciding whether you are prepared to purchase a home, these questions can be beneficial. However, the most dependable and optimal source of guidance is the assistance provided by trusted real estate professionals.

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