William Raveis Real Estate and Home Services

Posted by Deborah Schilling on 10/19/2017

Buy a house before you're ready and you could get stuck with a mortgage that chips away at your savings. The fact is that unless you're a professional house flipper, it could take you weeks, perhaps months, to sell your house.

Knowing whether you're ready to buy a home or not is a major life decision. The effects of your decision could last years. Do yourself a favor and think about the below readiness signs before you sign a mortgage.

It's important to buy a house at the right time

The average American mortgage exceeds $170,000. That's a lot of debt to take on if you're not ready. Assess your finances before you look for a house. Add up your food,clothing, entertainment, student loans, travel and credit card expenses. Also,add in how much the house you would like to live in cost, including mortgage interest payments.

Because you'll be paying on your mortgage for years, wait until you've been at your job for longer than a year to buy a house. That doesn't guarantee job security, but it can give you time to gain visibility and a strong, positive reputation where you work. Make sure that you have a dependable income before you take on a mortgage.

Give yourself time to improve your credit score. A good credit score can get you lower fixed mortgage interest rates. Avoid getting pulled into low adjustable rate mortgages, as the amount of interest that you pay on these mortgages may rise over time, making it harder for you to meet your mortgage obligations.

Think about house repairs that you may need to make. Buy a brand new house and five or more years could pass before a pipe, wire or floor needs repair. Buy an older house and you could start repairing leaks, floors and window panes a year or less after you move in. If you know how to lay floor tiles, repair holes in walls and unclog pipes, you might be more ready to take on a mortgage than you think.

Your personality and personal tastes play a role

Consider where you're moving to. If you're a leader, you might be able to form community groups and improve an entire neighborhood that had been struggling with safety and beautification issues. Your personality plays a role in how satisfying you will find home ownership. After all, regardless of where you move, you're going to have to interact and relate with others.

Regarding relationships and personality, ask yourself if you're more comfortable living in a single home or an apartment. For example, if your adult children recently left home, you might adjust to the change better if you rent a townhouse or an apartment for one to two years before you buy a house.

Take the stress out of buying a home. Wait to start house shopping until your personal,work and financial situations permit. It's also good to wait to co-sign a mortgage with a partner until after you have been in the relationship for awhile. But, this doesn't mean that you have to rent an apartment. Until you're ready, as a safeguard, you could purchase a home under a rent-to-own agreement.

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Deborah Schilling