Buying a home is the largest purchase most people will ever make. Homeownership has great benefits but also comes with certain responsibilities. You need to answer the question, "Are you ready for homeownership?" You need to take a look at your current situation and determine if:
- You have a steady, reliable source of income and a steady employment history for at least two years
- You have a credit history
- Your total debt is manageable and you can afford to take on the costs associated with homeownership
- You have money saved for a down payment and closing costs or you have access to other sources of funds, such as an employment bonus, tax refund, or a gift from a relative
- Think about your future plans that might affect your ability to manage the costs of homeownership
Other considerations to factor into the equation are:
- Whether you need to make lifestyle changes that might include not taking expensive vacations or purchasing luxury cars, and dining out less
- The costs of a growing family when looking at your homeownership budget
- Whether your future plans might include a wedding or college education for yourself or your children
And remember, the mortgage is not the only bill you'll be footing. Homeownership comes with other potential budget items such as repairs, maintenance, taxes and possibly, landscaping.
Many government agencies, banking institutions and local non-profit organizations want you to succeed in purchasing and owning a home. Homeownership assistance programs can provide down payment assistance and homebuyer education for first-time homebuyers, moderate-income people, teachers and armed forces service members, for example.
To find out more about government resources, go to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA).
Once you fully understand your current situation, your future plans and the big picture in terms of homeownership, it’s important to look at the pros and cons of homeownership before making the best decision for you and your family.