4 Thinking Points Before You Buy A House
By: Roger Sorensen
So you've been renting an apartment for a while and your friends are all buying houses and settling down to nice, quiet suburban lifestyle. Is this something you should be doing too? To put even more pressure on you, every other evening news cast is talking about the rapidly increasing value of houses in your area. Before you rush out and buy the first house you can get a loan for, perhaps it would be wise to stop and decide if buying a house is really what you should be doing. To help you, here are four things to think about.
How long will you live there?
If your job requires frequent moves, or you are pretty sure you will not be in the same city in five years, do not buy a house. Real estate prices do sometimes dip and if you move you may have to sell your house at a loss.
Are you a Flipper?
Flipping is the art of buying a house, living in it for a time as you fix and improve it and then selling it for a profit. You then buy another house, live in it for a time, and sell it for a profit. The risk here is similar to that in the previous paragraph; the resale value of the house may go down. So if you are going to be a flipper, be sure to buy a house you would want to live in for the next ten years.
Does renting cost more than owning?
Sometimes you can find a house that is actually cheaper to own than the place you are currently renting. If you are purchasing a house purely for the sake of less cash outflow each month, be sure to consider all the costs of ownership: mortgage, insurances, maintenance, snow removal, etc. If you still find that owning is more cost effective than renting, go for it.
Is it what you really, really want to do?
Occasionally owning a house is what you really want to do, even if it doesn't make economic sense. In that case, make sure you do your homework, consider the three thinking points above, and make the best choice you can. Buy the most house for the least money in the best neighborhood.
Buying a house can be an emotionally charged time in your life. It is also an enormous user of your resources. Take your time and be confident that you are ready to move into another stage of your life where you can be proud to say "This is my house."