If you’re tired of renting and want your own space it may be time to buy a home. Don’t get me wrong, buying your first home is a bit scary because it’s a huge financial commitment. But once you do it you will finally have a place to lay your hat and call a home.
I’m 35 years old and still rent an apartment with BF because I like the flexibility and carefree lifestyle of renting. Well that and the fact that making commitments scares the hell out of me. However with our new apartment being more of a co-op than rental agreement I’m slowly learning that owning a home may not be so bad.
Here are six signs that you’re ready to buy a home:
You can do handy work
One of the benefits of renting is that you’re not responsible for anything. If your roof caves in you can call your landlord, if your drain is clogged you can call your landlord and when the snow needs to be shoveled you don’t have to break your back. Renting is nice. If you are learning to be handy and can DIY minor home improvements then it may be time to buy a home.
Taking care of your own home renovations and upgrades can help save big bucks because the costs of calling a plumber for an emergency on a Sunday night can quickly add up.
You’re in your 30s
According to Credit.com the average first time homeowner is 32 years old. “Historical data shows that the majority of first-time homebuyers in the ’70s were about 232 or 30, married and had a family of nearly three people to move into that first nest. Now, first-time homebuyers are more likely to be single and about 32.5 years old.”
You want to invest for the future
People always say that buying real estate is a good investment, well I’m sure the millions of Americans who had to short sell their homes after the market crash would disagree. I personally don’t want to buy a home to invest for the future, but it is a good idea.
I will buy a home if I’m financially and emotionally ready. I want to wake up in my own home someday, not because I think the value will increase over time and I can sell it at retirement with a big chunk of cash in my pocket, but because it’s always nice to have your own stuff.
You have the money for the down payment
The more you give the bank for a down payment the lower your total mortgage amount and monthly payments will be. That’s a smart idea because it will help you save on interest and get your mortgage loan paid off faster. Banks may even offer preferred rates if you have a 20% down payment or more.
However as a financial planner I wouldn’t suggest putting all your savings towards the down payment because there are so many other costs that come with buying a home such as the price to furnish an entire house.
You have extra savings on the side
Buying a home is so much more than saving for your down payment. Although that is a big part there are other costs involved – both upfront and ongoing. You need to have enough savings for moving expenses, notary fees and the home inspection up front.
On an ongoing basis property taxes have to be paid, lawns need to be maintained and the interior decor needs to be updated. That’s not even including unexpected costs such as a leaky roof. Homeownership comes with perks, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. I would suggest having three months of your total bills in an emergency savings fund for all the extra little things.
You’re ready to spend your weekends at home
Not only will you probably be house poor after buying a home, but you’ll be spending your weekends at home because there is always something to do around the house. Grass needs to be cut, floors need to be washed, bathrooms need to be tiled and gardens needs to be planted. Having a house is a lot of work, no one is denying that but in this case the effort is worth the reward.
When you buy a home you can decorate it however you want to because it’s yours. Isn’t that nice.
Being able to do repairs yourself is a huge sanity saver. Unfortunately, not one I possess in many areas. But not having to wait on a repairman (let alone pay one) will make homeownership a lot easier.
I think of homes as “investments” only in the sense that one day you won’t have to pay rent. Well, other than taxes and insurance, both of which are nothing compared to a mortgage or renting a place on your own. Frankly, I think that’s the only way it should be considered an investment. People will be a lot happier that way.
Abigail – I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a great decorator or handy-girl, but I like to walk around Home Depot thinking that I am. There’s something about being in that store that makes me want to buy a hammer and decorate my Christmas tree, even in July.