With low interest rates and home prices, it feels like a great time to buy a house. Homeownership is about more than your mortgage payment, though, so before you hand your real estate agent that earnest money, you might want to consider whether you're really ready to buy. Think you know all there is to know about buying a house? Test your knowledge with this quiz!
You avoid paying private mortgage insurance or taking out a costly second loan by forking out that down payment in cash, and a good credit score will help you nab the lowest possible interest rate. If you don't have the down payment or good credit, it's not time to buy.
While some financial experts say the percentage can be as low as 25 percent or as high as 33 percent, 28 percent of your monthly income is a safe bet when calculating your payment.
When you own a home, you can always save up for renovations. The thing that you can't change is the house's location.
If you're used to moving to a new rental every 6 months, 5 years in one place might seem like a long time. That's about how long it takes to build up equity in a home.
You can try to negotiate an inspection contingency where the seller agrees to repair some or all of the problems, or the contract becomes void. The seller doesn't have to agree, and if he won't repair the home, it might be time to walk away.
Most lenders will allow you to finance your closing fees; just make sure you can afford the higher monthly payment that goes along with borrowing more money. You can also try to have the seller cover your closing costs, though this is a little bit less common.
If you're buying a house that needs some love, you want to make sure you have the money and energy to fix it up. Get a quote from a contractor on any renovations and make sure you can afford the additional monthly payment. Remember, real estate is all about location. You can always repair a house, but you can't change where it is.
If you're planning to move to another city within the next few years, renting is your best option. While you might want to downsize your home when the kids move out, that doesn't mean you shouldn't look into buying.