When are you ready to transition from a renter to a home owner?

Stoneforest Real Estate Services is more than just a real estate office. We work in many facets of the real estate industry, including both residential real estate and property management. We also make a strong effort be well versed in the status of the real estate market, both locally and across the U.S. One topic that we are faced with frequently is, “when is the right time to buy a home?” While many people are specifically curious about that current market status and best buying season, we have found that there are several other factors that need to be considered when answering that question. This is especially true for first time home buyers. Here are a few things for you to consider when making the decision to go from “renter” to “buyer.”
  1. Do you have a down payment? If you are looking to purchase your first home and are used to renting, the idea of needing a large amount of money up front may easily be overlooked. Ideally, you need to have 20% of your target home price saved up and ready to use as a down payment.
  2. Does your monthly income cover ALL homeowner expenses? Typically, when you rent a property, there is some amount of utilities that are included in your rent. When you own a home, you will be responsible for all those expenses in addition to your mortgage. These include: Gas, water, electric, internet, cable or dish TV services, HOA fees, Property taxes, maintenance, etc. While you may be able to easily cover the price of your mortgage, don’t forget to factor in these other expenses as well.
  3. Are there any other large purchases you will need to make? Occasionally, there are other situations that arise that need your attention…and your money! Maybe your vehicle needs to be replaced or you need to purchase all new furniture. Increasing your debt prior to buying a new home could result in higher interest rates or other potential set backs.
  4. Does your current income allow you to purchase the home you need or want? This point does factor in the current market status, as well as your assessment of what you are looking for. First, determine what it is you want. (Acreage? Suburban home? How many bedrooms? Location? Etc.) Once you have decided what would best suit you and your family, take a look at the market. (What is available in your price range? Are you flexible on location, bedrooms, etc.?) Talk to your realtor about market status, trends, and projections. This can help determine when and what to buy, and if buying now is the best decision for you.
  5. Will you be able to perform the necessary home upkeep and maintenance? We are strong believers that a house is more than just something you live in, it is an investment. In order to help protect that investment and help it to hold (or increase) its value, it is important to maintain the home well. From exterior maintenance and weather protection to interior upkeep and routine system checks, make sure you can perform (or afford to hire) the necessary tasks that will keep your home operating efficiently and at its highest value. Not only will this protect your investment, but can save or MAKE you more money in the future!
Starting with these 5 questions can help to put into perspective wether or not you are ready to take the plunge into becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind, your realtor is very knowledgable in each of these areas. They can sit down and help you look at each of these questions and present every option available to you, even before you make a decision. Ready to start the conversation? Contact us today to schedule a meeting with one of our realtors!

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