When that rent check leaves your bank account every month, you feel a little lighter in the wallet and probably a bit more empty inside. Every month, that money goes into your landlord’s pocket, pays down their mortgage, helps them increase their net worth, and you get what? A roof over your head that hasn’t been updated since the Reagan administration, and neighbors that seem to not realize that while their band is lovely, 2 am is not the time to crank it up to 11!
No, you’ve had it! It’s time to move.
It’s time to buy your own house. You’re ready to have some control over your own living situation. Aren’t you?
Spend Some Time Soul-Searching Before You Pre-Qualify
Plenty of articles are out there that discuss home buying readiness in terms of dollars and cents, neglecting all the other things that are involved in a truly successful homeownership experience. So, let’s assume you’re able to qualify for a loan and just skip that part.
There are huge emotional and social components to homeownership that rarely gets talked about. It’s natural for people to become strangely attached to their homes. Feeling the experience of deep heartbreak when a contract falls through, or feeling almost rapturous when they finally sign on the dotted line! And, the first problem their home develops gives them a sick feeling in their gut.
What even drives us to buy a home? Two main things: an urge to increase our social standing and a hope to give ourselves some kind of financial security. At the end of the day, that’s what it amounts to. Before we go there, let’s do a reality check
Reality Check: Are You Really Ready?
Even if you are qualified, and have plenty of cash saved up, you may or may not really be ready to buy a home! After all, these are untested waters for you. Let’s learn from others, and make sure you have these items in check:
Wanderlust. Buying a house is not a thing that’s easily undone. If you have wanderlust left in you, get it out now! If you think it’s likely you’ll want to try living in another city, state, or even country, do it while you can, because once you buy a home, you should plan to live in it for a while before attempting to sell it.
Emotional Maturity. Living in a neighborhood with people you can’t easily move away from also requires a bit of emotional maturity. The guy across the street may drive you nuts because he loves bright, annoying Christmas lights. Don’t punch him in the face, just hang some blinds. In addition, learn to tame your inner worrier. All houses have problems, every single one, even the brand new ones. So when you notice that the air conditioner’s condensation line is backed up, take a deep breath and get to flushing it or call in a pro. In short, don’t panic, there’s a solution to everything.
Career Security. All jokes aside, it’s really very important that your career is fairly secure before you jump into a mortgage that’s 30 years long. If you hate what you do or you’re not really sure you want to do it over the long term, you may not want to commit to a mortgage just yet. Maybe wait until you get that first year under your belt and see if what you learned in class is anything like what the field really is in practice. If you would need to return to school or move out of state to find a new opportunity, it could be very difficult while trying to maintain a mortgage.
Relationship Security. The thing no one wants to say to you is the thing we are going to say right now. Is your relationship really sure enough to be buying a house with that person? No, really. It’s a huge financial commitment and one that could obliterate you for years and years if things soured quickly. Whether you’re married or not, make sure this person is one you can count on for the rest of the term of that loan, as romantic as that notion may be. You’re in this mortgage together, make sure it’s an equal partnership.
These are some really important parts of your life to examine before you decide to buy a house. Please know as REALTORS®, we are here for you to provide you with expert advice and guidance every step of the way. And as a buyer, there is no charge to you to utilize our services!