Is there a “perfect” time to buy a home?

No matter what is happening with home prices and mortgage interest rates, the right time to buy a house is when you are ready to take on the financial and emotional responsibilities of homeownership.

It’s easy to fall in love with a house, but committing to one for the long term can be more challenging.

“Buying a home is a serious investment,” said Loan Officer Rob Garrison. “Before you start shopping home listings, it is important to sit back, do your homework and analyze your personal and financial goals as well as your lifestyle before you take the plunge.”

“Don’t buy just because everyone else is, make sure you are ready.”

Start by answering these questions.

1. Why do you want to buy?
An important first step is to evaluate your reasoning behind wanting to buy. What do you hope to gain from purchasing a home? How does that fit into your short and long term goals? Consider how long you plan on spending time in one place, as it can tie you to that place. It is
important to take your career into consideration as well as the possibility of an expanding family.

2. Do you know what you can afford and still continue to live the lifestyle you are accustomed to?
You will likely need to take out a mortgage. It is important to begin by checking your credit score from three different reporting bureaus to assess whether you are able to obtain a mortgage. Then, there is the question of your down payment. There are zero down government options as well as 3-20 percent options, depending on your situation. Looking at your cash savings is an important first step.

3. Will you be staying there for five years or more?
When you purchase a home, the general rule is that you want to be sure you will be in the same location for at least five years. Otherwise, you are likely to take a hit financially. Of course this depends on the area you live in.

4. Do you have 3-6 months of emergency savings?
A good rule of thumb is that you have 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund for unforeseen events. Home ownership also requires maintenance and repairs, so a slush fund is recommended to pay for repairs as they crop up.

If after careful evaluation you aren’t ready to purchase a home, there are great short term options to fit your needs. If you are looking for guidance to get yourself ready to purchase, enlisting a trusted, knowledgeable mortgage advisor is a great first step to realizing your dream,
whenever that might be!

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