Every renter dreams of becoming a homeowner, but not everyone is ready to take on responsibility. There’s a lot more to the decision than whether you’re financially ready, though that is important. What also matters is that you’re mentally and emotionally in the right place for what lies ahead. By digging deeper into your reasons for buying, you’ll have much more confidence when entering the market and have a surer handle on what exactly you’re looking for. Here are five signs that you’re ready to take the plunge into homeownership.
You’re ready to handle home maintenance and upkeep.You’re ready to handle home maintenance and upkeep.
If you’ve been a long-time renter, then you’re probably used to having your landlord or property manager handle any issues that need fixing. Boilers breaking down, cracks appearing in drywalls, home appliances going haywire, etc. Since you don’t own the property, you’ve never been liable for any of this upkeep and maintenance before. That all changes when you become a homeowner. You’re now fully responsible for either making repairs yourself or hiring someone to do so.
Part of becoming a homeowner is accepting this both willingly and confidently. You have to feel that you’re not only ready to get your hands dirty from time to time but also that you actually want it this way. One of the draws to homeownership is the desire to stake out your own plot of land to call your own. The way you do this is by shouldering the responsibility that comes with that. Do plenty of research on the level of upkeep and maintenance that will typically come with the type of home you’re looking for. If it sounds manageable, then that’s a good sign that you’re ready.
You want to settle down long-termYou want to settle down long-term
It’s pretty common for most people to spend their early-to-mid 20s zipping around different cities and counties searching for one they like best. By their late 20s, early 30s, most are ready to settle and start thinking long-term. Homeownership suddenly takes center stage as the most pressing need and envious desire in a person’s mind. But before you start looking at online listings and calling real estate brokerages, take a step back and think about your long-term goals. Where are you now in your career? Are you looking to start a family? Could you see yourself staying in one place for 10+ years? Answering these questions should be one of the first things you do before embarking on a home purchase.
Know what you’re getting into before you buy. If you like where you are, buying a home can be one of the best investments you can ever make. Real estate tends to increase in value over time, so look for neighborhoods with good price appreciation. Most experts agree that to see a return on investment, you need to hold onto a home for at least 5-7 years. After that, you can sell and use the profits to upgrade to a larger home if you desire. Because if you’re not ready for the long haul, then you’re not ready to buy just yet.
You want to personalize your living space.You want to personalize your living space.
Rental homes always come with the severe drawback that you can never personalize and upgrade them to suit your tastes and needs. It’s rare for landlords to approve major changes, and it usually doesn’t make financial sense to do so. Suppose you want to have full control over how your home looks and functions. It would help if you had a place of your own. The desire for creative control like this will likely grow as you get older and your needs change. For instance, a newborn child can lead to dramatic changes in the type of home you need. A family member may become disabled and require specific home modifications to make life easier. Perhaps you’ve discovered a new hobby that requires a dedicated room to house it.
Whatever the reasons might be, knowing that they’re there or soon will be a powerful incentive to purchase your own home. You’ll also have a clear idea of your wants and needs once you begin the home search. Something many first-time buyers have a hard time grasping initially.
You want more control and privacy in your home.You want more control and privacy in your home.
Another downside to rentals is the lack of privacy and control. Landlords can be popping in and out all the time, noisy neighbors can drive you up the walls, and building restrictions can keep you from having any pets. This may not be much of a problem in your early years when you’re likely spending most of your time out and about. But as you get older, you’ll probably find yourself spending more time at home. The desire for total privacy and control will only grow until you can’t take it anymore. If you feel like you’ve reached this point, then you’ll know it’s time to look for a more permanent abode.
Just be aware that if you’re looking to buy a condo or co-op apartment in NYC, there will still be building restrictions and house rules. Make sure you read up on these, so you understand what you agree to. Any NYC buyers that want total control and privacy over their homes should focus their search on townhouses or the outer suburbs.
You want a place to call your ownYou want a place to call your own
You could boil down all the previous points into this one statement which encompasses everything becoming a homeowner means. No matter how comfortable a rental may be, it will never really feel like your home. That ethereal feeling of having a place to plant your feet down and call your own is something that all homeowners can relate to. The personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes with it are unmatched. For those who’ve found their dream home, closing day can be one of the happiest moments in their entire lives.
In the end, any decision to buy a home is made from a combination of emotional and financial considerations. It’s an investment for the future and one that you should feel ready for on both accounts.