Buying a home is most likely going to be one of, if not, the biggest financial moves you ever make. So the decision is not something that should be taken lightly! Many people dream of buying a home one day, but it’s important to make sure you are buying a house because it’s the right time for YOU, and not because you feel pressured to, or like you have no other options.
Some things to consider when buying a home…
Can you afford it?
This is the biggest contender on whether you are ready or not to buy a home, and probably the most obvious. Can you afford it? Take a look at your financials, do you have enough saved for a down payment (minimum 5% down, however I suggest minimum 20% down and I’ll tell you why here)? Do you have enough savings for things like furniture, moving, closing costs, or an emergency? What about your current expenses?
The best way to find out if you can afford to buy a home is by getting a pre-approval from a lender. You can achieve this by getting in touch with a mortgage broker (I’ve got a list of preferred mortgage brokers here) who will grab all the information from you that a lender would need to decide whether they will loan you money. They can also provide you with how much you would be approved for, which is crucial when searching for a home and setting proper expectations.
Is the timing right for you?
What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to stay in the area for awhile? Do you plan on switching careers? Do you plan on starting a family? Real estate is usually best as a long term investment, if you buy a house now and have to sell within a few months or the next few years, you mind end up losing money (mortgages can have huge early cancellation penalty fees!). If you know a big move is coming up in the future, it may be best to wait on buying – unless of course you plan to rent the property out when you move!
Career changes can affect this decision too. If you plan to change careers, it could affect your mortgage approval. Say you get pre-approved working at company A, get a house under contract, and get a new job before the house closes. The lender can look at your information before closing on the mortgage and see that you are now with company B. This can raise a big red flag to them not only because income verification will have to happen again, but most lenders require you to be full-time in your job for a minimum of 3 months. This would not be good timing for you!
What about a family? If you know you are wanting to start bringing some little ones into the mix in the near future, keep that in mind. Where would you like to raise your family? How many bedrooms would you need? Where are the best school districts? Would it be more beneficial to buy now, or to wait a year and save up a larger downpayment to get into the area you REALLY want? (Here’s some great ways to save more for your downpayment).
Buying a home can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be hard! If this is your first time buying, or you’re looking to buy again, I would be honoured to help you through the process and find the best home for you!