Buying a home is a big emotional and financial decision. If you define your needs and goals clearly, it will be easier to narrow your search and make decisions.
Maybe there’s a life change ahead – marriage, a new job or a new family member – and you’d like to upsize or downsize. If you’re a first-time buyer, you may be looking for the advantages of ownership.
- A fixed monthly payment instead of rent increases
- Building up savings in the form of ownership or equity – instead of paying off your landlord’s mortgage
- Being part of a stable neighborhood or community
- Freedom to put your personal stamp on the place where you live
In the end, you’re making a lifestyle choice that reflects your values. Is location – for example, walkability, distance from work, or the quality of schools – your top priority? Or is the house itself – its size, design and features – more important? It can be helpful to approach home buying as a process of elimination. You probably won’t find the perfect home. But you’ll find one that is the best possible match for you.
For most people, a house is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Beyond the sale price, transaction costs are high, including sales, lending and closing fees. So is the cost of maintaining or improving your property. The point at which you buy in the real estate cycle – the average 18-year period from valley to peak to valley – affects the price you pay and when and how much land appreciates in value. For all these reasons, you should be prepared to live in your home for at least 5 to 7 years. A long-term commitment is the surest way to maximize your equity and personal net worth.
Posted in: FAQ for Buyers