5 Things to Consider before Buying a Home

  • by Rayna Karst
  • May 9, 2024, 10:00 AM

It’s home-buying season! If you’ve been considering buying your first home, here are 5 things you should think about before getting started:

  1. Evaluate your finances. To comfortably buy a home, you’ll need a stable income, a solid credit score, and enough cash for a down payment. Plus, enough left over for your emergency fund and regular expenses. If you’re missing one or more of those pieces, now might not be the right time to buy.

    REMEMBER: A home down payment can be anywhere between 3% and 20% of the price of the home. But if you want to avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), you’ll need enough cash for a 20% down payment. While PMI allows you to put down less money up front, it can significantly increase the cost of your monthly mortgage payment.

  2. Consider, are you ready to put down roots? Buying a home necessitates some larger one-time expenses. You’ll want to stay put for at least a few years to spread out those costs and increase the value of your home.

  3. Compare rental and house prices in your area. Buying a home and building equity is a good investment. But in some areas, monthly rent may be much lower than mortgage payments for similar properties – making renting the better value.

  4. Look at interest rates. The higher the interest rate, the higher your monthly mortgage payment will be.

    Luckily, even if you’re not happy with the current rates, they tend to move up and down over time. Once the market is more stable, you can consider a refinance to bring down your rate and your monthly payment.

  5. Listen to your gut. It’s important to ask yourself – are you ready for the responsibilities of homeownership? Remember that in a rental apartment, plumbing issues, a leaky roof, and similar issues are typically fixed by the property manager. In your own home, that’s all up to you.

If you’re still not sure, CoreFirst Bank offers free online calculators to help you decide whether renting or buying is the right option for you. Visit the resource center here.