Owning your own home can seem like a dream come true but make sure to take into account the following ten misconceptions about home-ownership. These myths can help you decide whether owning a home is the best choice for you and your family.
10. Buying a Home is Better Than Renting
One of the most common myths is that buying a home is always better than renting. This myth derives from the idea that it is financially advantageous to pay off a mortgage (toward a home that will eventually be yours) rather than opting to pay rent on a house you will never own. However, buying a home is only a better option if it is what is right for you and your family, in your current situation. It is a good idea to ask yourself the following questions, to help determine whether buying or renting is really best for you, right now:
-Can I really commit to living in this place long-term?
-Do I have the money needed for the down-payment and mortgage?
-Do I have the time, energy and money to keep up with home repairs and maintenance?
9. You Should Have Perfect Credit
Many believe that it´s impossible to buy a home without a nearly perfect credit score. While it is true that having a higher credit rating is necessary, the minimum may actually be lower than you think. Also, keep in mind that you need to have good credit to rent, as well! So, if you think your credit isn´t as good as it could be, get to work on improving it! But, don´t give up on the idea of owning your own home just because your credit isn´t perfect.
8. Once You Buy, You Are Stuck for Life
Buying a home can feel like locking yourself into a lifestyle, town and neighborhood. And, of course, you shouldn´t buy a home until you are ready to commit to a certain area for a relatively long period of time. However, just because you purchase your own home, it doesn´t mean you will necessarily live there for the rest of your life! While the thought of selling one house, buying another, and surviving the move in between, can seem daunting, it´s something that people do all the time. You should make a commitment to the area you choose to buy, but don´t feel stuck – if you need or want to, you can always sell and move somewhere else.
7. Buying is Always a Good Investment
A house, or property of any kind, is generally considered to be a good investment. But don´t forget that no one can predict the future – the housing market and personal circumstance can change, and disaster can strike. So, while your house is undoubtedly an important investment, which should be cared for responsibly, it´s important not to allow it to become your only investment. When it comes to investing, the old adage of not putting all of one´s eggs in one basket is a good general principle to follow.
6. Newly Built Homes are Better
Purchasing a new home that was just built and in which no one else has ever lived seems like an ideal situation. Everything works perfectly, no repairs need to be made, and you can expect things to last a long time. However, the myth that newly built homes are “perfect” is just that: a myth. Even with expert craftsmen, top-of-the-line building material and utopic landscaping, it is rare that everything will go exactly as planned. If you decide to purchase a newly built home or have one built to your specifications, try your best to keep that beautiful, new house in perfect condition by having regular maintenance and upkeep done.
Similarly, fixer-uppers can get either a really bad rap or an idyllically good one. Older or damaged homes can indeed go for very low prices. If you feel you have the skills to repair the house yourself, you can save a good deal of money. However, some homes are just too far gone to save, and others have hidden costs or flaws, all of which can make them more costly in the long run. If you are in the market for a fixer-upper, do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line.
4. Owning a Home is Too Much Work
Another myth about owning your own home is that you will spend all of your free time mowing, raking, shoveling, washing and fixing. While it´s true that all houses require at least some essential maintenance and upkeep, you can decide what level of work you are willing to put in and buy your home accordingly. A city apartment or condo requires little or no lawn or outdoor work; an independent home leaves you on your own with the grass, shrubs and trees. Take your time to be sure about how much work you´re willing to take on before choosing your home.
3. My House, My Castle
Once you purchase a house, you may feel inclined to make some changes to suit your fancy, and you will be well within your rights as a home-owner to do so. However, before you build that turret, or add an indoor tennis court, check out your town´s building codes, and make sure your plans won´t get you into trouble further down the road. It may be your home and your castle, but that doesn´t exempt you from the local laws and restrictions.
2. Static Costs
Rent can go up, and it often does over time, making the words “fixed mortgage” sound so enticing. But, while your mortgage may not change, property taxes and other costs can change over time (unfortunately, usually in the upwards direction), so make sure to budget for rising costs when you decide that home-ownership is for you. However, do keep in mind that these increases are part of the reason rent goes up over time, so don´t think that renting exempts you from being affected by them.
1. Selling is Easy
Some potential buyers seize the opportunity to move through a series of houses, making a profit along the way. Its called “house flipping,” and it can be a lucrative business if you are in the right part of town and are relatively lucky. Before becoming a house flipper, it is important to realize that selling a home is not always as easy as it seems, and keep in mind that selling is a process that comes with a lot of variables built-in. Don´t think that you can insist upon a rigid time frame or price limit without being dissapointed.
Once you have evaluated your own personal and financial situation, you will be ready to decide if owning your own home is what is best for you. Purchasing a home comes with some tangible and beautiful rewards, as well as some hefty responsibilities, so do your research and take the leap if it seems right.