Is Buying Your First Home a New Year Resolution?
With the new year right on our doorstep, many people will be adding home ownership to their list of resolutions. Buying your first home represents a significant leap towards traditional “adulting.” It’s exciting. But, owning a home also means more responsibility and accountability.
Also, it is not only about financial readiness and ability to get a mortgage. That is critically important. Don’t get me wrong because I am all for you buying your first home. But I also want you to be ready emotionally before you even look at your financial position. Otherwise, buying your first home can become your worse nightmare.
Unless buyer’s remorse is on your bucket list before you plunge ahead ask answer these questions honestly and find out if this is the right time for this life-altering event.
Are you ready to sacrifice the time it takes to maintain a home?
Homes require constant time and attention. Are you ready to give up leisure activity to mow the lawn and take care of other yard maintenance during the spring, summer, and fall? If the answer is no, can you afford to hire someone to do it for you? If the response is also negative, you might want to buy a townhome or a condo, or keep renting until you have a change of heart.
Are you ready to handle unexpected repairs and replacements?
When you rent, and the sink gets clogged you only need to call 1-800-landlord. Ditto if the air conditioning or refrigerator stops working. When you own your own home, you will either have to make necessary repairs yourself or pay to have it done. And of course, new appliance expense is on you.
Do you travel a great deal for business?
If you are frequently out of town for extended periods, leaving your home empty is probably not the best scenario. Wondering if something unexpected happened like a pipe bursting or the basement leaking will cause undue stress. Again, you may decide that under those circumstances renting may be your best option until the situation changes.
Do you anticipate a job-related move?
When buying your first home, you should expect to stay in it for the next five years. Otherwise, it may not be the best financial decision. Your home may not appreciate enough in value if you have to sell in 2 or 3 years to cover the cost you accumulated when you bought the house much less the expenses to sell it.
If after dealing with these questions you still feel positive about buying your first home, it’s time to move on to figuring out if you can get a mortgage and how much you can afford.