How Do I Know If I’m Ready To Buy A Home?

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Buying a home is a big step for anyone, but especially for those of you who’ve never bought a home before. You probably have a ton of questions about how the process works, finding the right home, what to offer, getting a mortgage and more. But there’s an even bigger question you have to consider:

Am I ready to buy my first home?

Yikes. That’s an intimidating thing to think about, isn’t it? Here’s some advice that can help you decide. If you answer “yes” to these questions, you’re probably ready to buy your first home:

Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?

If you’ve just started a new job, and it’s in the same field you’ve long been in, that won’t be as much of a deal breaker as if you’ve just began a new job in a new field for you. If you’re a salesperson or in a commission-based job, the bank needs to review your earning history to see if you’re likely to keep making the same amount of money.

Do I have a good record of paying my bills on time?

Your credit score is key, and your score may be lower than you’ll need it to be if you’ve skipped a payment — even just one.

Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments?

The bank likes to see that you’ve made a commitment to paying for something large over time — but not too many commitments!

Do I have money available for a down payment?

There are some loan programs available where the borrower doesn’t need to bring any money to the table. However, as a rule, when you have some money that you’re contributing to the process, you have more “skin in the game,” and are therefore considered a better risk to the bank. In addition, the more money you have to put down, the smaller your loan amount will be and the less money you’ll need to borrow.

Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional property maintenance costs involved in owning a home?

Owning a home often brings additional costs to your life that you don’t have if you’re renting. If the HVAC goes on the fritz, or a pipe bursts, guess who pays for that? You, of course. If money is already pretty thin with your existing monthly expenses, it may not be the right time to buy a home.

Do I plan to stay in this community for at least 3-5 years?

No real estate agent has a crystal ball, and any market can start to rapidly appreciate or depreciate at any time due to economic and/or environmental factors. But, as a rule, when it’s time to sell the house you’re about to buy, waiting 3+ years will give you a better chance of recouping all the costs involved in buying the home. And the longer you stay in a home, the better your chances of realizing a profit when it’s time to sell.

Final Thoughts

Did you answer “yes” to all of these questions? If so, congratulations! You’re likely a good candidate to be a home buyer. And if you’re ready to get that process started, give us a call or contact us via the form below. We’ll have you talk to a trusted lender partner and then get started in helping you find the best home for you!

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About The Author
Cari McGee

My husband and I came to the Tri-Cities in 1994, and we thought it would be a temporary stop on our way to larger cities. He was a television sports anchor at the time, and we planned to go wherever the "next step up" took us. Twenty-plus years later, we're still here and we've loved every minute of it! We have two children now, and we've found the Tri-Cities area is a wonderful place to raise a family. It's a great place to do outdoorsy things -- I like to hike Badger Mountain or run along the river path. I also love reading ... by a cozy fire in the winter or a beautiful picture window in the summer (with the A/C on!). I've been a licensed Realtor since 2004. I earned my managing broker's license in 2016, which means I can run my own brokerage, or create a team of real estate agents and supervise them, which is exactly what I did when I formed the Cari McGee Real Estate Team in 2018! We have administrative and marketing personnel, as well as additional agents to serve you. I became a director of the Tri-Cities Association of Realtors Board of Directors in 2016, became Secretary/Treasurer of the organization, and was elected to Vice President in 2019. Want to talk about real estate? Click here to schedule a meeting with me!

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