Spring is finally here, and as the weather starts to heat up, it's a perfect time to start house hunting. Whether you're looking to move into an upscale condo in the city or a sweet home in the suburbs, there are bound to be plenty of options to choose from during the spring home-buying season. But before you commit to a new home, there are some key questions you should ask yourself first.
Why do I want to buy a home?
Whether you're a first-time buyer or you're already an experienced buyer, purchasing a home is a big financial decision. As you compare your options, take some time to write down your personal reasons for moving to a new home. Are you looking to upgrade to a living space with more room for your growing family? Or, do you want to downsize into a smaller, easier-to-manage home? Maybe you just want to live in a new geographical location. Identifying your needs, goals and priorities upfront will help guide your search for a new home.
What can I afford?
Current mortgage rates are low, but there's much more to a buying home than just the monthly mortgage payment. You'll also need to consider closing costs, interest, inspection fees, homeowners insurance and private mortgage insurance, if applicable. The monthly expenses of homeownership can add up, too. Because no home is perfect, you should factor in the additional costs such as necessary repairs and cosmetic maintenance. Make a list of needs and wants and budget accordingly. You may really need a new roof, and you might want new countertops or better carpet, but everything will require a working budget. Be sure you include these extra costs in your budget when you look for a home.
How long do I want to live in the home?
Generally speaking, it takes at least five years of paying your mortgage before owning a home is more cost-effective than renting. The longer you stay in your home, the more equity you build, and the better your chances of selling your home for a profit when it's time to move again. Before making a final decision, ask yourself how long you plan on staying in the home. Can you picture yourself living in the same house, neighborhood, and area for five years or more? If you're planning on growing your family, will the home be big enough? Pause to consider the big picture before you buy.
Thinking about buying a home this spring or summer? Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help you every step of the way. Check out our series of short interactive learning modules to help you through every step of the way. If you'd like help buying or selling a home, please complete this contact form and we will make every effort to get back to you within one business day!