There’s a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to renting versus buying. While renting offers a flexible way of living and the opportunity to easily move from place to place, homeownership allows you to establish roots and build equity in your property. It can even be cheaper than renting!
We can’t tell you which is the better choice – but we can help you decide if you’re ready to consider buying a home. Afterall, buying a house is a big deal. Here are five signs you’re ready to be a homeowner.
1. You Enjoy DIY Projects
Enjoy doing work around the house? Proud of the garden you built by hand? The ‘do-it-yourselfer’ is more likely to handle projects themselves than call the landlord for help. This is huge when it comes to homeownership – as it’s not just a financial investment, but a time investment. If spending the weekend building a shed sounds more interesting than lounging around the house, you might be ready to tackle projects that come along with owning a home.
2. You’re Actively Looking at Homes for Sale
Sure, it can be fun to peruse real estate websites as a hobby, but if you’re consistently checking out homes online (along with tax history, nearby schools or other important information), chances are you’re starting to get serious about buying a home. If this is the case, get a head start by figuring out how much you can afford, improving your credit score (here’s some tips on how to do that) and getting in touch with a Chicago realtor.
3. You Pay Close Attention to Your Surrounding Neighborhoods
You may love the town you live in, but a true first-time homebuyer is also interested in what else is out there. If you find yourself taking notice to the amount of schools in nearby towns or whether it has your favorite grocery store, you might be ready to start looking at real estate in those areas, too. There’s plenty of great neighborhoods and cities throughout Chicagoland – and we cover a lot of them!
4. You’ve Saved Enough for a Down Payment
First of all, congratulations! Saving money is difficult to do, and if you have reserves for a down payment…you’re killing it. But how much do you actually need? The sweet spot is 20%. Down payments will vary depending on how much house you can afford. Having a 20% down payment helps to avoid private mortgage insurance, which typically equates to 1% of the purchase price per year. Don’t worry – alternative financing is available for less money down.
5. You Can Afford the Extras
And by ‘extras’ we mean everything other than the actual mortgage. When renting, certain amenities may be covered like utilities or lawn maintenance. When buying a home, the homeowner is responsible for more expenses. These include taxes, insurance, maintenance and homeowner’s association fees. Lenders will check your debt-to-income ratio before approving you for a mortgage.
Ready to buy your first home?
StartingPoint Realty – dedicated to first-time Chicago home buyers!
Always feel welcome to contact us for help with your Chicago home buying questions!
Ryan Gable Broker/CEO Starting Point Realty
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