LOS ANGELES, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- If you log onto Realtypin.com, you'll find all kinds of tips and expert advice about the home buying process. But before you start taking advantage of it all, there's one very important question you need to ask yourself – are you actually ready to buy a home? Here's how to tell if you are:
- You're buying because you want to – not just because it seems like the time is right
Low home values and even lower interest rates have made the idea of home ownership more of a reality for lots of Americans. However, you shouldn't run out and get a great deal just because you can. If you aren't ready to spend the next several years of your life in this home, you aren't ready to be a homeowner. Remember, it's going to take awhile for the housing market to officially be deemed "A-OK". That means you won't be able to turn around and sell your home for a big profit for awhile. Since your home is the biggest investment you will probably ever make, you need to make sure you're willing to stay awhile before you sign on the dotted line.
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- You've got a stable situation at work
If you want to celebrate that new job with a new home purchase, don't. These days, lenders will want to see a pattern of steady employment – typically, about two years' worth. So, instead, celebrate that new paycheck by putting some of it aside every two weeks for your down payment. That way, you'll have plenty saved up when it comes time to buy.
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- You've got enough for a large down payment
Speaking of your down payment, you're going to want to put down a big one. The days of little or no down payments left when the housing market crashed. Instead, virtually all of today's private lenders are going to want you to put down at least 10% of the purchase price. And, if you put down 20%, you can avoid paying private mortgage insurance every month – something you'll probably spend close to $100 on every month, which won't count towards your home equity.
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- You're ready to be Mr. (or Ms.) Fix-It
When you rent, getting that leaky toilet fixed or that broken air conditioner up and running again is as easy as calling your landlord. But when you own your own home, you become responsible for any problems that pop up. That means you'll either need some basic home repair skills or room in your budget for plumbers, electricians, and other handymen.