5 Warning Signs You Aren’t Ready to Buy a Home
While many have romantic visions of homeownership (from painting the walls to planting gardens), the reality of buying a house is sometimes a bit less shiny (and a bit more stressful) than we'd care to admit.
The honest truth? Homeownership is a big deal, and it comes with a lot of responsibility.
Besides taking basic care of your property, you have a mortgage to maintain, along with various repairs, fixes, and upkeep. Needless to say, it’s not a job to be taken lightly.
If you’re considering the prospect of home buying (but aren't quite sure if you're ready), take a quick look at the checklist below. If any of these apply to your situation, you may want to put off home until the time is right.
- Your credit score is super low. Most lenders look for credit scores in the mid-600s or higher. They may consider applicants with lower scores, but you’d have to be able to prove your income and payment history – as well as offer up a decent down payment.
- You hate handy work, cleaning, or paying for either. When you own a home, there’s no more calling a landlord every time the dishwasher is on the fritz or the AC stops working. That’s all on you. You’ll either need to fix it yourself or hire someone to do it – and both those options require additional resources.
- You don’t have any savings. Buying a home requires a down payment. The minimum is typically around 3 percent, but if you want a low monthly mortgage payment, you’ll want to put down 10 percent or more. For most people, this requires scrimping and saving for a few months – or even years – before purchasing a home.
- You don’t have steady employment. Your lender will want to verify your employment, as well as your employment history, long before approving you for a loan. They want to see that you can hold down a job and that you will have a steady stream of income over the course of your loan (i.e., you won’t have trouble making your payments.)
- You’re not sure where you want to put down roots. If you’re just out of school, applying to jobs all over the country, or really into traveling at the moment, it might be counterproductive to buy a house. Tying yourself down to one spot – and all the monthly bills that come with it – will likely cause you more hassle than its worth. If you think buying a home is complicated, selling one – especially if you’re not around often – is even harder!
If any of these applies to you, you might want to reconsider buying a home at the moment – or at least talk to a Realtor about your situation first. They’ll be able to guide you toward the best possible living arrangement for your current needs.