Buying a house is a big deal. It is a big responsibility as well as one of the biggest financial commitments a person with make in their lifetime. When you’re deciding whether you want to continue to rent or are thinking homeownership might be for you, I would encourage you to really take some time to consider WHY you want to buy, HOW you might go about getting there, and WHAT needs to happen to get you there. Let’s dive in a little deeper.
Why do you want to own a house?
Stabilization for your family? Paying too much in rent? To build equity for the future? For personalization of the space? Try a different location? Closer to work or family? etc. Choose from this list or pick an answer that fits better for you.
Or do you prefer the lesser responsibility required for the maintenance of a house?
WHY? This is going to help propel you forward into taking the steps necessary to get you into a home. At times when you’re feeling frustrated in the financing or buying process, you will want to remember why you started in the first place. Or you may truly not be interested in the upkeep of a home and would rather leave it to a landlord.
How long do you plan on staying in the house?
Short Term: Do you want to own it for 2-5 years, sell it, use the equity to buy something bigger down the road? Or maybe will hold on to it as a rental income property.
Long Term: Is this a home that you and your family plan on being in for the next 10, 15, 20 years?
Or do you need flexibility in your housing? The ability to pick up and move quickly?
WHY? Knowing this from the start will paint clearer “Needs vs Wants” of the house you are looking for. For example, if you know you may be only in the house for 2-3 years, you might be willing to sacrifice not having a pool at this house in order to keep the price point and payments lower so you can have a pool home in the future.
Or you may prefer the flexibility that renting gives you. With a home purchase you would need to coordinate the sale of the house if you needed to move in a quick turnaround.
Is there anyone else involved in this process with you?
Are you the sole decision maker and only one living in the house?
Do you have a spouse or may have a spouse who will share in the decision making process?
Do you have a family? Do you need to consider children and school zones?
Is having your parents come to live with you a possibility in the near future?
WHY? It’s important to keep these people in mind who could be affected by your purchase. This could mean only looking in certain school zones, or only buying a single or two story home, or buying in between you and your spouse’s place of work. This will help to narrow down the search criteria and make your process easier and clearer.
I would encourage you to take some time to think about what you want in your future. You may decide that continuing to rent is the best option for you at this time. Either way, you have a stronger conviction of what is the best path for you.