Home Buyer's Guide - Prepare and Plan
Deciding to Buy
Buying a home is a major undertaking. Before taking the plunge, make sure that you've thought it through and are ready to proceed.
Consider your motivations for buying to help determine if you are really ready to enter the market.
Think about your personal reasons for moving. Do you need a larger home to accommodate a growing family? A shorter commute to work? Don't forget to consider the difficult aspects as well. Are you emotionally attached to your present home - will it be painful to leave? Being mentally and emotionally prepared is the first step toward a well-conceived and well-executed move.
Do You Feel Pressure to Move Now?
Do you feel that you'll be priced out by a rising market if you don't buy now? Or are you afraid you'll miss bargains in a troubled market? Review our tips for evaluating real estate markets to help you decide how to proceed.
How Long Do You Expect to Own Your New Home?
Buying or selling a home is an expensive and involved process. Closing costs alone can amount to 4-8% of the sale price - for both buyer and seller, making a home purchase financially unattractive unless you plan to own the property for several years. Remember that you'll face another round of closing costs when you sell; so your house will have to appreciate 8-12% just for you to break even.
Assess Your Financial Condition
Do you have enough cash to fund the down payment and closing expenses? Can you comfortably afford the mortgage payments as well as taxes and insurance? Do you have any credit problems? Review our affordability guide to help you get the answers.
Homeownership as an Investment
While markets can be turbulent and values occasionally decline, owning a home remains an attractive investment over the long term. Additionally, don't forget to consider the tax advantages of homeownership - mortgage interest is deductible and profits from the sale of a home are usually exempt from capital gains taxes.