Making the decision to settle down and buy a home is a huge one to make. Tons of different factors play a role in whether to make the investment to buy a place or just to keep renting.
Of course, the largest influencer in the decision is finances. If you don’t have the money for it, you won’t be able to buy a home, plain and simple. You’ll need a large enough income to cover a mortgage, plus homeowner’s insurance, and other expenses like utilities and an HOA fee.
But money isn’t the only deciding factor. When it comes to buying a home, you need to also account for your lifestyle, future career changes, your goals and dreams, whether you are ready to settle down or not, and more when making the choice.
Are You Ready to Settle Down?
Buying a place, whether it’s a condo, a home, or something else, is a way of settling down for a long time. When you rent a place, you can move away after the contract is up, or even leave during your contract period for a fee. When you buy a home, you can’t just up and leave, you have to sell the place first. Depending on where you live, that could be somewhat easy or very difficult, but usually you are looking at around a 3 to 6 month process.
If you aren’t ready to make a commitment to living in a specific area or city, or think your career might take you to other places, buying a home is not right for you. Renting gives extra flexibility to be able to up and leave at a moment’s notice and move across a city or the world. If your job or even personal preferences mean moving from place to place on a regular basis, don’t buy a place, rent.
Similarly, if you want to see the world, or live in exotic places, don’t buy a home. Pursue those dreams and put your extra money towards them instead of putting it in savings for a home. Get the travel bug out now, because once you have a home, it becomes a lot harder to spend a few months backpacking through Europe.
Comfortable with Home Maintenance?
When renting a place, if something in the home breaks, you can call the landlord to fix it. Leaky sink? Call them up to contact a plumber for you. Wasps building a nest outside your front door? It’s your landlord’s job to get rid of them.
But when you buy a home, all of these problems, and more, become your responsibility. If you are swimming in cash, then sure, you can call specialists for each problem that needs fixing, but that’s probably not the case. That means getting comfortable with fixing things when they break and managing disasters when they strike.
Another point to consider if you are buying your first home, is whether to buy a fixer-upper home or spend more to get something nicer and newer. A new home will cost more, but have less maintenance needs and costs. A fixer-upper though will have more updating and maintenance, meaning you’ll need to be comfortable working on the home.
Making a Place Your Own
While having to perform maintenance on a home is kind of a bummer, there is a major upside of not having a landlord: You have complete control over the home. There is no landlord telling you not to hang pictures using nails, prohibiting burning candles, or requiring permission to paint the walls. You can do whatever crazy things you want when you own a home, short of violating HOA standards in your neighborhood.
Want to paint every wall hot pink? Go for it. Any type of home renovations or improvements are yours to do. That can be as small or large as you want, ranging from a simple paint job to knocking down walls. Home improvements don’t even have to be costly, just be smart about how you do them and you can make your home look great on a budget.
If you’re tired of living under the thumb of a super controlling landlord, consider buying your own home. That way, you have nobody to answer to but yourself (…and maybe the other people you live with).
Taking the Leap, Buying a Home
Again, the most important factor in buying a home is finances. If you don’t have the income to cover a mortgage and extra home-owner costs, don’t buy a place. But if you can afford it, have a stable income, and the renting life is starting to become too much to bear, buying a home might be the solution.
Don’t let your first time owning a home become a headache. Plan ahead for everything, from the home buying process, to having a stress free move, to deciding early on what kind of remodels and decoration to do. That way, everything goes as smoothly as possible, and you can quickly adjust to the homeowner lifestyle.