There are two times when it is best to buy a home. When you have to buy one and when you can afford to buy one. In general, owning a home is better than renting one because you are building up equity for yourself, instead of throwing your money away by helping the landlord buy the property with your rent money.
Best- And Worst-Case Scenario Planning
Be prepared for owning a home, especially if this will be your first time as a homebuyer. There is a natural tendency to stretch finances to the breaking point when wanting to own a home. Try to be patient and have a contingency plan for what would happen if you lose your job or if your significant other loses his or her job if you are buying a home with the help of another income.
A surprising piece of counter-intuitive advice is NOT to use all of your savings as a down payment, even if you have to pay more for the mortgage. Instead, hold back three to six months of mortgage payments in your savings to use in case there is an unexpected job loss or problem. That will give you enough time to recover from a temporary problem without having to worry about having enough money to make the mortgage payments.
Keep Emotions Under Control
Try not to let your emotions override practical considerations. Most people trade-up from the first home that they buy. A house need not be “perfect”; however, you want it to be in a decent condition to avoid having large expenses right after buying it, unless you are a fixer-upper type and know what you are doing.
Seller’s Or Buyer’s Market
It is useful to know whether the area you want to buy a home is a seller’s or a buyer’s market. In a seller’s market, there may be many buyers for fewer sellers. In that case, you will need to be more competitive in your approach when buying a house.
One easy way to tell if the area is a seller’s market is to ask your REALTOR® to find out the median number of days that homes are on the market for sale and the percentage of the asking price that the average home sells for.
Don’t be surprised to learn in a seller’s market that homes stay listed only for a short time, and they sell for nearly the asking price. Having a pre-approved lending commitment before you go looking for a home in a seller’s market is one way to make your offer(s) stronger.
Take time when buying a home to do some market research first. Get your loan commitment approved, before shopping for a home. Make looking for a home to buy an adventure. Avoid stretching yourself to a financial breaking point and plan to stay in your home for a few years, at least, before you trade-up.
If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to set an appointment with your trusted real estate professional.