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3 Questions to Ask Yourself if You Are Considering Buying Your First Home

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Although buying a house is often seen as the American Dream and something that everyone should want to do as soon as possible, the truth is that most people need time to get ready to become a homeowner. While previous generations often married and bought homes soon after graduating high school, social and economic changes over the last few decades have made doing so much less common. Therefore, if you are planning to buy your first home in the near future, it is a good idea to ask yourself the following questions.

1. How Much Money Do You Have in the Bank That Could Be Spent on Emergency Home Repairs Without Causing a Financial Problem?

One of the great joys of renting is knowing that when a pipe under the house breaks unexpectedly on Christmas Eve, you will not be the person paying a plumber double-time to make the necessary (and expensive) repairs. The same is true of a damaged roof or impaired foundation that for whatever reason, is not covered by your homeowner's insurance in a year. 

That means that before you commit to buying a home, you should take a look at your finances. A good rule of thumb has often been that you should have at least three months of household expenses in the bank before committing to a home loan and having six months has become increasingly popular. When you have that cushion in the bank and you know that you could pay for an expensive repair without having to skimp on other bills, it may be time for you to become a homeowner.  

2. Are You Sure of the Type of Home You Want to Buy?

Although many people envision a house in a subdivision when they think about buying a home, the truth is that condominiums, manufactured homes, and multi-occupant properties such as a duplex or triplex are also viable options. Because there are so many options to choose from, it is best to be sure of what you want from the property and how you envision your future prior to buying any residential property.

For instance, a condominium is a good choice if regular upkeep of a yard doesn't appeal to you and you don't see the need for an above-the-ground pool or a swing set for the kids in the near future. In addition, the idea of buying a duplex and renting out the other half is a good one, but it may not be for everyone, due to the additional requirements associated with being a landlord. Manufactured homes are popular in many parts of the United States, but they tend to diminish in value after they are purchased, while a regular house is more likely to increase in value.   

3. Are You Ready for the Invisible Expenses of Home Ownership?

Before investing in a home, you may want to consider the expenses that are not necessarily obvious at first. For example, buying a house or duplex in a subdivision often requires membership in the homeowner's association and shared financial responsibility for new projects and upkeep of the neighborhood amenities. The same is true of some condominiums, so before buying a new home, be sure that you are ready for the financial aspects that relate to buying a home in the neighborhoods you are shopping in.     

In conclusion, buying your first home is a wonderful experience that you have probably been dreaming of for years. However, it is easy to forget about some of the additional financial and personal obligations that come with home ownership, so you should ask yourself the questions listed above before committing to this big purchase.