Is It Time to Consider Buying Your First Home?

Buying your first home is one of the most significant steps you’ll take in your adult life.  It’s a sign that you’re looking to put down your own roots in hope of securing the future that you’ve always dreamed of.  Becoming a homeowner is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s also one of the biggest financial investments you’ll take on during your life.  So, are you really ready?

Buying your first home is all about preparation.  It’s not something that you can just dive into on a whim.  While buying a home can be an exciting experience, it’s also one that comes with a great deal of stress.  Homeownership requires so much more than the simple desire to have something of your own. It requires real mental preparedness in addition to the obvious financial security.  That’s why we encourage you to take the time to ask yourself a few essential questions before you take on the task of buying your first home. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Is your job secure?  Homeownership comes with monthly mortgage payments.  So, are you going to be able to make those payments each month?  More than that, are you going to be able to make the payments on your property taxes, insurance, and other unforeseen costs that many first-time buyers don’t account for?  You should only take on home ownership if you have job security that provides a steady stream of predictable income.
  • Do you have positive cash flow?  A responsible homeowner should always have positive cash flow, that is, you should always be bringing more money in than you spend (including debt payments, daily expenses, etc.).  If, for example, you have debt and are only able to make the monthly minimum payments, then you need to sort that out before you even consider taking on an additional monthly mortgage payment.  
  • Have you saved?  Have you been putting away money with the explicit purpose of using those savings for a down payment on a home?  Too often home buyers just take that money out of their retirement accounts, which is NEVER a good idea, as this act will only cost you in the long-run.  So, instead of blindly throwing money away, dedicate a separate savings account to the purchase of your future home.
  • Are you ready for the full-time commitment?  Homeownership always comes with additional expenses from the upkeep itself.  From toilet repairs to HVAC replacements, to appliance maintenance, to yard work, and beyond, as the homeowner, all of the property goings on, any and all issues, fall on you.  It is a full-time commitment. So, are you prepared to take this on? Or, does the very thought of not being able to call upon a landlord for help make you nervous? Would you have the finances available to cover unexpected expenses?  If you have doubts or know you wouldn’t be able to stretch your budget, then it may not quite be the right time for you to buy your first home.
  • Are you ready to put down roots?  If you’ve taken the proper time to assess your financial situation as well as examined the level of responsibility you’re willing to take on with buying a home, then the final question to ask yourself is simply whether or not you’re ready to put down some roots in a place that is all your own, for now, and the foreseeable future.  Are you ready for the stability of building your life in your own home?

While there are many wonderful benefits to owning your own home, you have to make absolutely certain that you’re ready to take on such a huge responsibility.  So, don’t base your decision to become a first-time home buyer on a fleeting feeling. Take the time to carefully research, and get your finances in order so that you can make a smart decision that will result in joy and comfort for years to come.       

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