Becoming a homeowner is a major goal for most people. It’s a way to invest, a point of pride, and can be a refreshing situation after renting for years.
You may be at a point where you’re asking yourself, “Should I rent or buy a house?” There are a lot of factors to consider, such as budget, home location, timing, personal goals, and what your future has in store, among other things.
Here are some things that are not as widely talked about when it comes to owning a home.
Your monthly payment is not just the mortgage.
Renters are used to a monthly fee paid for living in their space, plus any utilities they are responsible for. The monthly expenses of owning a home go beyond that.
Many online mortgage calculators don’t take the entire picture into account, so if that’s what you’re using to determine your budget you’ll want to consider other factors.
Outside of the mortgage payment you’ll also be paying for homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and any homeowner’s association fees if that applies to where you live.
You should look outside the property itself to determine if it’s the right fit.
The primary decision-making factor for buying a home is whether or not you like the property enough you can see yourself living there, as well as if it fits into your budget.
Keep in mind there are other facets of the home that exist outside the property that should influence your decision.
Do your research on the neighborhood your home is in, as well as any close towns or cities. What does a typical resident look like?
Research crime rates in the area, especially if you are raising a family.
If children are a factor, consider the school districts available to them and how well they perform according to state standards.
Is a grocery store nearby? How about a gas station so you can fill up on your way to work? Make sure there are amenities available close enough that it makes your day-to-day a little easier.
You should also test drive your commute to work from the neighborhood you plan to live in. Think about what the traffic is like at that time of day, what you pass on your way to and from home, and how many alternate routes are available to you.
Owning a home is not just about the immediate space you live in.
Your home will most likely always be a work in progress.
The more time you spend in your home, the more opportunity you see for changes, be they small upgrades or total renovations.
As you and your family grow, so will your home. What was once your dream home at the time of purchase may look a little differently in your head now.
This can be as small as wanting to redecorate your bedroom or as involved as doing an entire kitchen renovation.
At the onset of a home purchase many homeowners often have a list of things they like to do. Those tasks will not be completed quickly and, in fact, some may never get done at all.
They take time, and money.
Get comfortable with the notion that your home will be ever-changing, your to-do list not quite complete.