My fiance and I are living together and we are currently renting a home. He would like to take the next step and BUY a house but I want to continue renting. What are the pros and cons of each and what are some things we should consider when purchasing a house?
Afraid of Housing Commitment
There are a few variables that need to be considered before making the “big step”, and no I don’t mean marriage! The first thing to compare is how much you are paying in rent now and how much of a mortgage payment you would be comfortable making each month. Average mortgage payments in this area vary from $500 a month up to $1500 a month. If your rent is somewhere in this range, you might be able to afford buying a home. The best way to test your finances would be to make a rent payment then try to set aside the same amount of money into a savings account. If you can get by saving this extra amount of money not only are you pretty clear to make a mortgage payment, but you’ve also started saving up for your down payment!
Job security is also something to consider. With the economy in this area fluctuating constantly, what seems like a sure job now might not be so sure next month. If you have been on your job for a few years, or work in a field that consistently needs people, then your job might be secure enough to consider purchasing a home.
Have you two talked about expanding your family any time soon (and by “any time soon” I mean in the next 5-15 years)? If so, that might change the size and location of the home you might purchase. Buying a one bedroom home is silly if you plan on having children. School zones should also be considered when purchasing a home.
How handy are you? How well can your fiance fix things? Because when you buy a house, you’ll probably be fixing a lot of things. When you rent a house or apartment, you usually have a landlord that will either make repairs himself or hire the job out to a professional. On the upside though, you’ll be able to paint and hang anything you want on the walls. It’s very fun decorating your own home. Most landlords are a little hesitant to allow residents to change the wall color to anything but bland eggshell white.
While renting leaves less headaches to incur, it also leaves absolutely no return on your money each month. Every rent payment you make goes toward your landlord’s rent if your property is not paid off, or his pocket if it is. Every mortgage payment is one step closer to owning something of value.
But not everyone should buy a home. If you move around a lot (military, work, family reasons, etc.) it would probably not be wise to enter into a long term commitment like a mortgage. If you are one of those people that becomes complacent with a house after a year or two, you probably should not buy a home. If you just started a job, now is probably not the best time to buy a home. I would honestly say wait until after the wedding to decide anything, because planning a wedding and buying a home are too much to handle at once.
The market is another huge factor in deciding to buy a home. If the homes in the areas you are interested in are at prices you know you can’t afford, it might be better to continue renting for a while, or looking in other neighborhoods. Some people choose to purchase land then later build a home there that fits their personal specifications. Either way, I’m pretty sure it’s still a “buyer’s market” as I’ve seen houses with “For Sale” signs sitting in the yard for almost a year now.
In the end it really depends on your financial situation, your fix-it capabilities, and the market…
Ashley Branch is a resident of Lee County. She is a wife, and mother of two boys. She enjoys photography, art, and crochet when she’s not writing for The Albany Journal.