We make small decisions every day, like what to wear to work or to a night on the town. Bigger decisions usually take more time to sort through, such as when it's the right time for you to buy a home. While you probably don't need help choosing an outfit every day, you can get help with your home-buying decision.
Am I staying put? If you think you might move somewhere else soon, it's probably a better bet to rent for now. Buying and selling a home in such a short period can be time consuming and often doesn't make financial sense.
Where do I want to live? Do you like the neighborhood that you live in? Or are there other areas of town that you could explore?
Do I have enough money for a down payment? Most conventional loans require a down payment. Many home buyers place a down payment of 10% to 20% of the purchase price. For a $150,000 home, that's $15,000 to $30,000 in cash. Having enough money for a down payment usually means better loan terms and a lower interest rate on your mortgage loan.
Can I afford the cost of owning a home? There's more to owning a home than paying a mortgage. You'll want to consider property taxes, maintenance costs, renovations and possibly even new furnishings. The cost of home maintenance and repairs is usually one of the biggest surprises for new homeowners, who may be used to a landlord fixing issues.
When you're creating your home buying budget, include the cost of regular home maintenance and unanticipated problems. One way you can become acclimated with these costs is to test out a homeowner's budget while you're still renting. Then, assess how those potential costs affect your budget.