Home ownership is still considered to be a major milestone by many people. Despite post-housing-bust the claims that it might not be for everyone, it is still a wise move for many people who reach that point where they want to have more independence. It is a big move, though, so you have to consider carefully whether you are really ready to take that step. Take a look at the following issues and see which ones apply to your situation. You may find that it's time to buy.
Monthly Mortgage Costs Are Cheaper in Your Area -- and They're Within Your Budget
A common reason for wanting to buy a house is to escape the spiraling rents that can hit cities unexpectedly. If the costs of owning a home are cheaper per month than renting, you may think that is a sign you need to buy. However, be sure that the costs of owning are themselves within your budget. If not, you may need to reconsider where you live to begin with rather than jumping into the property market.
However, if all of the costs are within your budget and you can easily make payments, buying is a really good idea for you. Just be sure to take all costs into account including home repair and maintenance over the next couple of decades.
You're Planning to Stay Put for a While
Much has been made of house flippers who buy a place, fix it up over a year or so, and sell it. Don't try that if you're new to property purchases. Buy a place you want to live in for several years. If you know you're going to be moving soon, you may want to wait on buying just because there's no guarantee you'll be able to sell the place or rent it out when you leave.
Your Family Isn't Growing
If you are single and planning to get married and have kids soon, buying now can be OK if you buy a place that will be big enough for your family plans. It's not a good idea to buy something small now if you plan to expand in a couple of years. It may sound simple on paper -- sell then and buy a new place -- but you don't know what the housing market will be like when it comes time to move. Plus, really, trying to sell and buy over and over again can be disruptive to your life.
You Know the City Relatively Well
If you've just moved somewhere new and don't really know the city well, hold off on buying until you get a better grasp of what the region is like and how areas are changing. Neighborhoods can go from nice to nasty in just a few years, while rather shabby areas can gentrify before you know it. Figure out the lay of the land first, and once you have an idea of how things are going, then try to buy a house.
Talk to a real estate agent about whether or not buying property is right for you at this point in time. Remember that there are a lot of programs that can help you purchase a home, and what may look like an obstacle at first may actually be just a temporary issue that, once cleared, leads you to the home of your dreams.