100 Real Estate & Relocation Tips in 100 Days (Day 78)

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In the easy money days of the mid 2000's, many people bought a home even though they were not really capable of responding to the challenges of home ownership. Although making the monthly payment is a very important part of owning a home, there are other considerations.

Does Your Future Require Staying In One Place?

The first consideration is why? Do you really need to own your residence, or is renting a viable option at the moment? If you are single or newly married, and uncertain as to where you may be growing roots, buying a property may not be such a good idea. If you want to buy a home because of the investment potential, think again. While homes should appreciate in value, using your home as a giant ATM machine to spend your equity on life opportunities is seldom a good idea. Your home is just that, a home, a refuge from the world. You should think about paying it off, if for no other reason to have value for future retirement. While there is a good argument to buying a home for the tax advantages, you should never buy a personal residence unless you can plan to remain a resident owner for at least 2 years, and 3 is better.

Home Maintenance is Part of the Cost

You must consider maintenance. Homes (even small condos) are complicated and expensive things that are not easy to separate from. While builder warranties may provide protection in the event you purchase a brand new home, there are still expenses associated with ownership. The fact is, things break, and usually at the worst possible time. It is wise to have heating systems, roofs, and plumbing checked at least every two years. Regular maintenance costs real money, but is considerably cheaper than deferring items that will cost 4 or 5 times as much later.

Before you buy a home, you should consider if your employment is stable, and not just for the next 3 months. Is your marriage or relationship stable? Buying a home as a band aid to improve a struggling relationship usually means you will have one more problem to deal with when the relationship ends.

Are you ready to become involved in the community?

If you are buying property in a legal owners association, you will be subject to the rules of that association. Those rules, and costs, can change based on the majority rule of the other home owners. While you may not wish to be involved, you must at least be aware, because changes may affect your property value. Understanding property tax issues and the effect of tax base services on your property value is poorly understood by most home owners. It takes little time to be attentive to the things that affect your property value, and your ability to sell when the time comes.

Finally, there is the question of money. If you are thinking of buying a home or condo, the very first thing to do is secure the services of a competent Realtor®. Even if you are not ready to buy a home now, the valuable guidance you can receive from an expert will save you time and money. Solicit recommendations in your search, compare information on the internet, and speak top more than one Realtor® before making a commitment. Then, if necessary, find a competent mortgage lending adviser, one who will explain your options and provide advice that benefits you, not the lender.

After you consider all of the things above, then begin the process of selecting a property that you can call home.