Home ownership is a goal shared by many people, serving a practical function as well as promoting individual financial interests. But while there are inarguable advantages to owning property, buying a home isn’t for everyone.
Whether you are actively considering a home purchase or sitting on the fence, unsure of your best move; exploring a number of relevant factors can help you weigh the pros and cons of owning a home. And while personal preferences and other individual influences make each case unique, you can still borrow from others’ success contemplating this important milestone. For results you can count on, reflect on these considerations as you reconcile the prospect of becoming a home owner.
Timing is Everything
Buying a home typically makes the most sense for would-be owners planning to stay at the residence for a period of time. If your job assignment is tenuous, for example, with relocation potential; committing to a property purchase may not be the flexible housing solution you need. But if you’ve recently been promoted on the job and feel confident your position is secure, buying a home may provide the stability and consistency you need to excel at work. Conditions change without warning, so even the best-laid home-buying plans are vulnerable. But by looking head and anticipating life changes, you may be able to avoid costly missteps buying and selling residential property.
Market Trends Influence Outcomes
Real estate markets respond to various economic influences, reflecting global conditions as well as localized trends. In a seller’s market, demand outpaces inventory, leading to quick sales and high asking prices. In a buyer’s market, on the other hand, listings linger unsold for longer periods of time, sometimes resulting in bargain sale prices on desirable properties. Timing your real estate purchase when market conditions are favourable results in better value and affordability – and may enable you to buy a home with more of the features you want. Building sweat equity is another cost-effective strategy used during “down” markets, making it possible for buyers to add value to their homes, completing DIY improvements and other affordable upgrades.
Ancillary Costs Inflate the Price of Ownership
The cost of home ownership rises well beyond the purchase price paid for your home. In fact, your down payment and mortgage commitments are just the beginning, setting you on a course for related spending. House cover, for one, represents a substantial add-on cost to protect your property and valuables. And even if your home is in perfect condition, the cost of upkeep starts building the day you close the deal on your new home.
Taxes and Home Ownership
Home ownership carries tax implications, which may influence your decision to buy property. If your home-buying budget is tight, it is particularly important for you to crunch the numbers before making financial commitments, ensuring your property tax and mortgage obligations are not more than you can afford.
Financing Terms and Eligibility
Next to your home’s purchase price, the cost of financing represents your most significant monthly home-buying expense. In fact, you’ll ultimately pay a lot more interest than principle, unless you accelerate repayment on your home. As a result, mortgage terms are a crucial piece of the puzzle, weighing heavily on the cost of home ownership.
Does your credit score reflect a lengthy history of credit success, using various forms of financing to build a track record of responsible repayment? Does your down payment measure-up to lender expectations? Are you pre-approved for mortgage terms? Answering yes to any of these questions improves your chance of landing conventional financing, reserved for the strongest applicants. On the other hand, a checkered credit history replete with late payments and repayment inconsistencies undermines access to favourable financing.
Personal ambition and lifestyle choices drive housing decisions, so it is up to each family to weigh the costs and benefits of home ownership. To close a deal you can live with (or stay out of the game), consider these and other factors, before signing-on as a home owner.