Buying your first home is an enormous investment of time, money and emotional significance. Where you settle down and the specific property you select will shape your life for the next thirty years, and the terms of your mortgage payments will shape your finances for just as long. Many people assume home buying happens almost automatically in the natural course of finding a mate and settling down to have children, but it’s really a much more personal decision than that and doesn’t require a new family dynamic to trigger. The right time to buy a home is when it’s right for you. Whether or not you have a spouse or start a family, buying a home is about being ready to be happy in a single location for a long time. If you are financially stable, ready to settle and know what you want from a home, it’s probably time to start browsing the housing market.
1. Be Financially Stable
The first and foremost requirement of anyone committing to home ownership is financial stability. Chances are you will take out a multi-decade mortgage to slowly and steadily pay off the value of the home. This means you will need to be able to make mortgage payments for a significantly long time. Having a steady job in a reliable career ensures you can handle the responsibility of this large financial commitment.
2. Know Where You Want to Live
Many people, especially while they are younger, face the periodic desire to travel, see and live in other environments. Before this urge dies down, it’s not yet a good idea to decide to buy a house. Even if you have recently fallen in love with a location, you may want to wait a year or two to make sure you’ll love it forever, and not just until the seasons change. If you have a favorite location in which you would be delighted to live forever with a permanently owned property, you are on the fast track to home ownership.
3. Know What Type of Home You Prefer
Do you want a ranch house or an urban townhome? One story or two? Do you need a big yard or are you happy with a patio? What about HOAs and neighborhood resources? These are all questions you need to answer before settling on a final property. Buying your first home is choosing where you will be making memories for decades. You want to make a choice that will delight you every time you walk in the front door or look out your windows. This is your home, so it should make you happy to be there.
4. Be Aware of the Market
If you’ve assessed everything else and know what you want from yourself, your location and the structure of your home, it’s time to start considering the market. Currently, mortgage rates are trending upwards. Tulare County home values have gone up 9.0% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 4.9% within the next year. This means that right now may be your best time to buy a home, and all you need to do is find a property and a helpful bank willing to assist you with a favorable mortgage. Your goal is to buy a house you’ll love and negotiate your mortgage to ensure monthly payments are no more than the cost of reasonable rent fees. That said, you want to make sure you are allowed to pay the mortgage faster with larger payments whenever you choose to, effectively lowering the overall time it takes you to own your home free and clear.
Only you can know when you’re ready to buy a home. Whether you’re starting a family or settling into a strong career, the most qualifying factors are stability, inside and out. When you are financially stable, and certain of what you want out of a home and its location, you are ready to buy.
Are you looking for a new home in the San Joaquin Valley or Bakersfield? SJV Homes now has open for sale 10 communities with a combined 845 single-family homes. If you would like more information, sign up for our interest list here.