Rent vs. Buy

How do you know when you’re ready to buy a home?

By Amanda Maletz, On Q Financial Mortgages Simplified

There is not a one-size-fits-all or “right time” approach to home ownership. Just as every person is different, the journey to home ownership is different as well. If renting is all you have ever done, you might think it’s much cheaper to rent your one- or two-bedroom apartment. Have you ever considered that the amount you are paying for rent might be close to your potential mortgage?

The national average monthly mortgage payment for home owners was $1,030 for a 30-year fixed rate loan, according to the latest American Housing Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s no secret that rental prices continue to increase every year. The national average for monthly rent is around $1,300, according to RentCafe.

Maybe you have thought about buying, and you are anxiously waiting for that “perfect moment,” when the stars align and you “just know” it’s the right time, to buy a home? Perfect moments and signs are few and far between, but if you have been thinking more about home ownership, here are some clues that you are ready to take on that next step:

Clue #1: You are tired of renting

The sound of your upstairs neighbor stomping around at 1 a.m. or your next door neighbor’s dog barking is finally getting to you. You hate fighting for a covered parking spot, and you don’t want to carry groceries up two flights of stairs.

Clue #2: You CAN afford it

The big question most renters are scared to ask is, “Can I afford to buy the home I want?” Don’t do what we all do. Don’t go to Zillow.com or Realtor.com, find a beautiful (yet unattainable house), check your bank account, get discouraged, and then stop trying.

Instead, try this:

Step 1: Look at Your Situation. First, assess your current situation, both financially and mentally. Take in all the factors that come along with purchasing a home and settling in — such as the schooling district, property taxes, and the work commute. Check out the average rent and home prices that fit your needs and specifications within a particular area. Also, check with your certified public accountant (CPA) to get information on how a mortgage could impact your status.

Step 2: Check Your Savings Account. OK. If you don’t have a savings account, turn back now because you’re not ready for this step. But if you do, GREAT! When buying your first home, no matter how new, unexpected expenses are going to occur. Be prepared for anything to come your way. Life will throw curveballs and you’ll need a little money saved for those expenses.

Step 3: Know Your Stuff! Many first-time home shoppers start by searching for houses they think they can afford by mortgage cost alone. It’s common to forget home insurance, property tax, homeowner’s association, electric and water bills. Once all of that is added to the mortgage, the cost of home ownership ends up being way more than what they had originally considered.

Step 4: Use Our Tools. On Q offers tools for you to learn about the mortgage process — including blogs, mortgage calculators, and our Simplicity mobile app. I would be more than happy to share any of these with you. They can prove to be a huge asset when preparing to buy a home.

Step 5: Do the Math and Know Your Options. If you’re worried about a 20% down payment, we offer a variety of loan programs that have minimum down payments for less than 20%. If what this is something you didn’t expect, reach out to me to discover your options. If you already know this, then you’re more prepared to buy a home than you think!

Clue #3: You’re emotionally ready

Pressure is EVERYWHERE. “Get Married! Get a Job! Buy a house! Move out already!”

Ultimately, you have to feel that the time is right. Clues 1 through 3 are factors you should consider before buying a home. But if you’re not ready for that leap, trust your instincts. At least, know your options, educate yourself about the mortgage process, and learn how to start planning for a home.

OK. Stop daydreaming.

I know this sounds great, but you have to take the first step. Give me call or shoot me an email today. I’m here to help you every step of the way. On Q’s Mission is to make your dreams of home ownership a reality, and I want to help you find your way Home.

Amanda Maletz is a branch manager and mortgage consultant for On Q Financial. For more information, call 843-547-0468 or 912-433.2920. You also can reach her at amanda.maletz@onqfinancial.com.

(NMLS 203977 | GA 27575 | SC MLO-203977)

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