Owning a home is part of the American Dream. But not everyone is ready for the commitment and financial obligations of homeownership. Before you meet with a REALTOR® or apply for a loan, you need to weigh the benefits and costs of homeownership, look at how you spend your money and ask yourself a few questions. If you buy a home before you’re ready, you risk not being able to repay the loan and losing your home. Be honest with yourself. Are you ready?
Buying a home is a major decision. It is probably the largest purchase you will make during your lifetime. More than two-thirds of the people in this country own their own home. You too can own a home if you follow the steps in this guide. The first thing you need to do is ask yourself a few questions to see if you are really ready to begin the process.
Have you been employed regularly for the last two years?
Do you have a credit history?
Do you pay your bills on time?
Is your total debt (all credit cards, car loans, etc.) manageable? Can you afford those debts and a mortgage?
Do you have money saved for a down payment and closing costs?
Can you afford both the mortgage and other expenses, such as electric, water, repair and maintenance costs?
Do you plan to live in the house for two years or more – long enough to build some equity?
Do you have time to take care of a house, including responsibilities such as mowing the lawn and repairing the property each spring?
Do you have time to devote to buying a home right now? Or are other commitments, such as night school, a priority?
If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions, you are probably on your way to owning your own home. Next you should look at how you spend your money.