4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing a House
As a homeowner, you will have the freedom and personal space that renting simply doesn’t provide, but you should know that commitments and new responsibilities will be part of the experience also. Nobody takes the process of purchasing a house lightly – people know they need to educate themselves about general real estate terminology, from mortgages and loans to home inspections. While these things are important, they don’t provide you with complete clarity in reaching the right decision.
As much as it takes research, deciding to take the plunge into real estate ownership also requires a serious chat with yourself. Some of these questions may feel uncomfortable, some may seem difficult to answer. But the only way to be certain that purchasing a house is the right decision is to have clearly defined answers for them.
Is It Really Your Decision and What Are the Reasons?
It’s a fact that many people jump into buying a house influenced by friends or family. It’s easy to get carried away if people tell you only a fool wouldn’t invest when prices are so low. Prices may be low, but the last housing boom was from 2000 to 2006 and analysts agree that we’re not gonna see it again any time soon. So going for it as an investment is actually not a great idea, especially compared to possible issues that might prop up – hidden costs, unexpected maintenance, monthly mortgage payments that are too high, etc.
But even if the decision is yours, that doesn’t mean its right. If the reason behind it is just pride of ownership, forget it. If you really want to purchase something, you should be able to understand why. Our reasoning can often trick us, so you need to back it up with facts. For example, if your reason lies in the fact that it’ll be less expensive than to rent, don’t call it a fact until you’ve done the research to see if this is right for you.
What Do You Want to Do with Your Life?
This question might feel uncomfortable if put like this. But it’s the most important question on this list. According to experts, the housing market will need at least five years to fully recover, so that’s the amount of time you’ll need to spend in your house without risking the loss of money. We all have dreams and hidden desires, and if yours is to move to Hawaii than the purchase is probably not a good idea.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be anything that big. Just imagine yourself living in the neighborhood you’ve picked for 5 years. While there are some common things that constitute a desirable neighborhood – vicinity of parks, good school districts, medical institutions, etc. – different generations have different preferences. If you want to have kids, their needs will be different then yours and you need to take this into account. So this is not about having an exact plan for the next five years or looking at a crystal ball to predict the future. It is simply about your wants and desires.
Are Your Ready to Give up Your Routine?
Let’s face it – our lives consist of routines. If you enjoy walking to work, commuting by car can change the whole perception of that experience. If you have to swap running in a park for a gym, that might change your motivation to workout. Sometimes even simple things, like going to a local coffee shop every morning, can mean a lot to us. The question is – are you ready to give up on them? Are you able to adapt?
Luxurious vacations or drinks at the pub every night are also a part of our routines. Then there are hobbies, which can also be expensive. Or you simply won’t have as much time for them as before. We already said that homeowners acquire a lot of new responsibilities. Some will take time to handle, some money, some both. You have to be ready for unexpected repairs, general maintenance, and upkeep, which will certainly break your routine. Neglecting new costs and responsibilities can lead to a financial mess. If you’re not ready to give up your routine, it will only fill your life in the new home with regrets.
Do You Lead a Stable Life?
Probably another uncomfortable question. But committing to a 10-year mortgage is not an easy thing, not to mention a 30-year one. You need to have a steady job which makes you feel safe for a venture like that. And you need savings that will cover at least six months of your mortgage in case that job turns out not to be as safe as you thought.
But stability is not all about finances. On a much larger scale, it is a question of whether you’re comfortable with your life. Are you satisfied with your relationship? Are you happy with your marriage? Are you sure you can depend on your partner or your spouse? Divorce can lead to home foreclosures as much as job losses do.
As you can see, we’ve barely touched the question of finances. It’s not that they’re not important, but it’s a mathematical equation. But If you don’t have a real reason for buying a house, if you have suppressed dreams and desires that pull you somewhere else entirely, if you couldn’t survive without your routine and if you’re not happy and comfortable with your current life situation – there’s simply no point in calculating.