How to decide it’s time to buy a house

Maybe he’ll detect a sign of sale in this awesome cabin that you have always admired during your morning bike ride. Or a friend is happy with the benefits and privacy of the brand new stylish apartment they just bought. Maybe you’re fed up with roommates or just want to take care of your own garden. At some point, you will ask yourself: should I buy a house and how much can I afford?

The decision to move from tenant to owner is emotionally and financially complex. Here are some key factors to consider when deciding if the purchase is right for you.

There is no better time to buy, is there?

Homeownership was previously a virtual prerequisite for realizing the so-called American dream. But then people drove 2-ton cars, smoked on planes and watched live TV. Buying is a smart option for many people, but it’s not always the best deal, depending on the market you live in and factors such as the length of your expected stay in your home and the size of the home. you want to buy it. compared to the place you rent.

Before purchasing, consider the following:

A significant initial investment is required. You must purchase a large sum of money when purchasing your home, from the final costs (about 3% of the purchase price of the home) to the down payment. Not everyone has that much money.

Can you manage the debt? Lenders often analyze your debt-to-income ratio – how your mortgage payments and other debts can be compared to your payment. Conventional lenders often use the so-called 28/36 rule to determine if you want to offer a loan. Your home payments (mortgages, taxes, insurance) cannot exceed 28% of your pre-tax income, and all other debts together cannot exceed 36% of your monthly pre-tax income. (Much more on this later).

Buying is more expensive than you think. You can’t just compare your monthly mortgage payment to your monthly rent – they are apples and oranges, especially when you consider that the place you buy is not necessarily the same size as the place you rent. Although you can deduct a portion of your property costs, you will have to pay property taxes, home insurance, HOA costs, and possibly mortgage insurance, as well as renovation, maintenance, utilities, and other fees that generally apply to the owner.

The purchase reduces mobility. In today’s ever-changing job market, very few people can say with confidence that they will have the same employer in five years. Leaving a one-year lease is much easier and cheaper than selling a house.

What is the temperature of your market Real estate is local and cyclical. So think about whether your region is better suited for rental or purchase. If you live in a large metropolitan area, the Case Shiller index is a useful overview of how the current values ​​of the properties you live in are compared to historic highs and lows.

Is a house an investment?

Some people prefer to put their money in equity on their property rather than giving it to an owner. While math has meaning for many, especially for those who want to stay long enough to pay off their mortgage in full, no one can predict whether property prices will rise or fall in a given period of time. So don’t count on it.


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