Mortgages

When Should You Wait to Buy a Home?

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Whether you are hearing about great interest rates available from mortgage lenders or great deals friends are getting from real estate agents, you may be thinking it’s time for everyone to buy a home. Not necessarily.

A house is one of the biggest purchases you will likely make in your life and you don’t want to regret your decision. Calculating how much house you can afford may seem like the most overwhelming part, but first you must decide if you should be buying in the first place. Check out the signs you should hold off on buying a home.

1. Plans to Move

There are costs associated with selling a home as well as buying one, so if you are thinking about switching jobs, moving in with someone, having kids or other major life changes that may uproot your life, it may be a good idea to hold off on buying that home. Homeownership can complicate the process of relocating.

It is difficult to know exactly when your home will sell, and selling a house from another state or country can be stressful. If you don’t think you will be sticking around for at least a few years, it may be best to rent until your plans are more certain. If you are new to an area, it can be beneficial to explore the place and rent until you find the right neighborhood for you.

2. No Extra Cash

Owning a home requires a lot of cash. In addition to the down payment and regular mortgage payments, there are often other costs. To be a homeowner, you must be financially prepared for emergencies such as broken appliances, flooding or pest infestations. Having enough money in the bank to hold you for months or even years can save you from losing your home in the event of a sudden change. If you do not have plenty of extra cash saved up or if you would rather build your savings toward a trip instead of new shutters, buying is not likely a good idea, at least for now. Even if your monthly rental cost is equivalent to what a monthly mortgage payment might be, homeownership also means you must pay for maintenance and repairs.

3. Not Ready for Responsibility

While that extra cash we were talking about can go toward hiring others to do maintenance around the home, you still have to be responsible when you own a home. Not everyone has the time and inclination to manage a home’s upkeep. If you do not want to do repairs and maintenance yourself, you have to search for and retain reliable, trustworthy workers. Owning a home is a lot of work, while renting usually means you are not responsible for most of the maintenance and repairs. If you do not want to worry about every little thing involved in home maintenance, you may be better off holding off on buying a home.

4. Your Credit Isn’t in Shape

One of the first things you need to do before buying a home is checking your credit reports and scores. A good credit score can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan, so if you need to take an extra month or three to get your credit in shape, it could be extremely beneficial. You can get free copies of your credit reports once a year from the three major credit reporting agencies. You can check two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com, plus get tips for how to build your credit.

When it comes down to making the decision on buying a home, you have to consider what is best for your finances and your lifestyle. Even if everyone else you know is buying, renting may be the right option for you. It’s important to consider important factors like price, credit and upkeep before you decide whether to rent or buy.

More on Mortgages and Homebuying:

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