For some people, buying a home remains their American dream. They want the stability and comfort of a place they can call all their own. But, since the recession, the job market has remained a tough place and many consumers aren't as sure if it's the right time to make such an important financial decision. Many questions come up when home buying becomes an option: How much can I afford? Do I have enough saved for a down payment? What kind of mortgage should I get?
Before potential homeowners connect with a real estate agent and take the plunge into house hunting, they should first decide if they're ready for the real estate commitment. Here are numerous ways to know you're ready:
You plan to stay in your current area for at least five years.
You're happy with the community, and if you have children, schools in the area.
You have a steady source of income.
You know how to create and live within a budget.
You've researched the homes you can afford.
You've considered your must-have features as well as the factors you can be flexible on in a house.
You've discussed preapproval for a mortgage or become preapproved with a bank or credit union.
You've saved approximately 20 percent for a down payment in your price range.
You have savings in addition to your down payment funds.
You have researched and understand the costs of owning a home in addition to the mortgage payment such as home insurance, a home warranty, taxes, maintenance and repairs.
You're able to continue paying down any debt you have.
You know your credit score and have worked on improving it if necessary.
You're prepared for a long journey and don't expect house hunting to be easy.
If you answered no to one of these questions, you should think carefully before shopping for a house. Some of these factors are less important than others and can be overcome, but to truly be in a good place to purchase a home, you should answer yes to all of the statements.