To Buy or Not to Buy: Making the Decision to Purchase a Home

Sarah Woodbury Sarah Woodbury / Published Jan 19, 2018, 4:13 PM

A young couple is sitting and discussing if they should buy a home

If you haven't yet ventured into homeownership, the idea of buying a home can be frightening. You may even be among those who are so daunted by it, you've thrown up your hands and accepted that your future may be made less of the stuff of dream houses and more of the stuff of landlords and rent.

But, if you're like many renters, you have a home in your sights, even if it's been on the backburner for a while. You may have questions like:

  • Should I start thinking seriously about buying a home?
  • Do I qualify for a mortgage?
  • Which options are best for me?
  • How can I start the process of getting a mortgage?

Though becoming a homeowner isn't right for everyone, it's more attainable than you might think. We've put together a series with simple breakdowns of the process to help you in your journey toward owning a home.

The Advantages of Homeownership

  • Increasing Home Equity – This is possibly the main advantage of buying a home instead of renting. "Equity" refers to how much of your property you really own. As you're making payments to lenders, you're basically buying interest in your home from them. You can think of equity as a savings in "house form" that you pay into through mortgage payments. Equity usually builds over time as you pay off your debts to the lender and the property value goes up. You can also build more equity in your home by increasing the property value through renovations and maintenance. Equity is a valuable asset.
  • Stable Monthly Payments – If you're taking out a fixed-rate mortgage, you can enjoy monthly payments that don't fluctuate.
  • Privacy – Without the drum players in the room above you or a roommate's friends coming over at will, a nice bonus of owning a home is that it has more privacy than a rental. You also don't have an owner of your space to check in with the way you do for a rental.
  • Stability & Community – There is a level of commitment associated with owning a home. Since you and your neighbors understand that you're probably going to be around for a few years, you may find a more invested community. A more permanent living space can add a feeling of stability to your situation and relationships.
  • Tax Benefits – Different aspects of homeownership, like property tax and mortgage interest, are tax-deductible. These benefits can save you a lot of money.
  • Personal Space – In a rental property, you may have certain rules on how to decorate and processes you have to go through for renovations. In your own home, however, you have much more freedom to make your space your own. You can put in that deep kitchen sink you've been wanting or build a loft for the kids.

The Disadvantages of Homeownership

  • Maintenance – With rental properties, a landlord is usually responsible for repairs and maintenance. As a homeowner, however, the time and energy required to keep up on these things will be your responsibility.
  • Payments – Failing to make mortgage payments on time can be a less forgiving experience than it is for rental payments. If your payment is 15-30 days late, you may take a considerable hit to your credit. If your payment is very late, you might have to foreclose on your home. These are things that no one wants to experience, but if you carefully plan and evaluate your ability to pay, the risk can be reduced.
  • Less Relocation Flexibility – Compared to renting, owning a home significantly reduces your ability to just pick up and move. If you're not ready to settle down for a few years or can't part with being able to move at the drop of a hat, buying a home may not be the best choice for you just yet.
  • Long-Term Decision – The decision to own a home includes responsibilities that don't go away after it's made. Extra responsibility, substantial payment obligations, the need to keep steady employment, etc. are all going to be yours for a number of years.
  • Possibility of Depreciation – If you don't keep up on improvements to your home as it ages or in the event of changes in the market or your neighborhood, there is the chance that your property may depreciate. This loss of value can end with you losing money when you sell the home.

When Should I Look for a Mortgage?

Finding a mortgage and getting into a home may be one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make, but with the right lender, type of loan, and timing, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Whether or not it's the right time for you to look for a mortgage is wrapped up in what you want and feel ready for, which can be hard to measure—only you will be able to decide those things. There are, however, more measurable aspects of the decision to be considered, such as your qualifications, finances, and employment.

Which Loan Works Best for Me?

There is an array of different mortgage types to fit vastly different borrower needs. For more help deciding whether to buy a home, you will want to speak with a mortgage professional. There are many lenders with different rates, so make sure you talk to multiple lenders before deciding on a loan.

The Low VA Rates Difference

Here at Low VA Rates, we are dedicated to helping veterans find the VA loan that works best for their individual situation and needs.

Our loan officers, underwriters, and processors truly care about your future. We understand the importance of the decision to become a homeowner and have the experience needed to help you on that journey. To learn more about what we can offer, feel free to call one of our mortgage professionals today at (866) 569-8272.