Signals That It's Time to Buy a Home Rather Than Rent One
Of course, finances play a big role in the decision to buy a home and for that very reason, the signals associated with being ready to buy versus rent have to do with how your income and expenses relate to each other. Many people will tell you that you're throwing your money away by renting a home, but rent has it's purpose and many times it's a better fit for someones current needs and their future lives.
Are you in school and looking to move once you graduate? Are you someone that's climbing the corporate ladder? Are you someone that currently doesn't have a family? All of these things can affect the decision to rent versus buy and the answer is not always clear because as humans, life can and does change. Whats the saying? The only constant is change. Very true.
These are some things you should consider and think about when you're trying to decide whether to buy or rent a home.
- Do you have student loans and are they under control? Either you've been able to completely or significantly pay them down, or you have just started paying on them.
- Does credit card debt take most of your paycheck? If you're maxed out on your cards then it's probably best not to buy, but to find somewhere to rent that's affordable and within your means. Consider renting a place with a roommate for a year or two until you get your finances in order.
- For your credit history, it's important to have a track record of paying bills consistently and regularly and you have paid off judgments or tax liens you may have. Any car loans are in good standing.
- You've completed college, found a job that has plenty of room for growth and promotions, which means you can usually and hopefully count on many years of steady paychecks working for a strong company or organization.
- If you're self-employed, you've developed a strong supply of ongoing work and income with a good list of customers. Your track record shows consistent income several years or more.
- You found the perfect neighborhood to live in and become a part of and you're tired of finding a new place to live in every year or two. You're ready for more quiet, more space, and more responsibility as well as to be part of a neighborhood.
- You have enough in savings for a down payment. Ideally you will want to have a substantial down payment and additional funds available in reserve for emergencies. Lenders will work with you to help you determine the required down payment amount for your loan type and the ideal range of monthly payments that you can manage.
Once you have gone through and thought about each of these points, you need to make sure that you're planning to live there a number of years in order to overcome the closing costs, utility hook-ups, moving expenses and time it takes to maintain a home. You'll need to consider the fact that you'll most likely be needing things like a lawn mower, snow shovel, wheelbarrow, shovels, and so on. You may need a leaf blower or leaf rakes if you have trees.
Yes, many times it comes down to financial means, but it also comes down to if you're ready to make the step. Keep in mind that paying rent is not a bad way to go depending on where you are in life, your career, your relationships, and so on. Some people rent most of their life and that's not necessary a bad thing either. They avoid paying real estate taxes, home owners insurance, all the costs associated with maintaining a home and more. So, its a balance and no right answer other than you need to make sure you can afford it, and that you have enough space and leave yourself open to being able to change with the changes that life can usually present.