Many people dream of having their own house at some point. Owning a home is an excellent way to build financial security and equity. And while renting gives you the freedom to move when you want, the urge to own often rises to the surface. But how do you know when you’re ready? Here are six signs that it’s time to buy a house.
Your Rent is Increasing… Again
Both buying and renting have their drawbacks, but one of the great grievances with renting in recent years is rising rental prices. These make it difficult to have enough for monthly costs and save for the future. Unlike paying rent, owning a house builds equity, and the monthly costs are cheaper in many areas, even with extra expenses like property taxes and maintenance factored in.
You Have Excellent Credit
Besides not having enough for a down payment, low credit scores are a common reason that renters can’t qualify for a mortgage. But if you have a healthy credit score – most lenders look for at least 650 – then it is likely that you will be approved. The better your credit score, the better rate you will get on your mortgage and the easier it will be to get approved since lenders will be less worried about you going into default on your loan.
Your Debt is Manageable
Another thing that mortgage lenders look for in the application process is the applicant’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI). This is calculated by adding up your monthly debts and dividing the sum by your gross monthly income. No lender expects you to be completely debt free, but the higher your DTI ratio, the more risk you pose to a lender and the less likely you are to get approved. Most prefer a ratio of no more than 43 percent.
You Have a Down Payment Saved
The single biggest factor in whether you are ready to buy a house is whether you have a down payment saved. In Canada, a down payment of 5 percent is required to buy a house. However, the larger your initial down payment, the more you will save over the lifetime of your mortgage loan. Putting down an extra five or ten thousand dollars could help you get a bigger house or cut down on your mortgage costs.
Remember that there are additional costs to buying a house than just the down payment, such as closing costs, maintenance, and emergency funds. You will want to have the down payment saved plus extra.
You Want to Settle Down for a While
If you know that you will be moving away in the next few years, buying a house may not make sense since you may not break even on the home sale and instead lose money. Similarly, buying a house is probably not a good idea if you are worried about losing your job since part of settling down is knowing that you have career stability. But if you want to remain in your location for the foreseeable future and have a stable income that can support a mortgage, then it might be time to buy a house in your area.
Your Lifestyle Can Support It
It is a lot harder to sell a house than it is to break a lease, so you want to make sure that you are in a good place in life to pay a mortgage long-term. This means not only job stability but relationship stability, especially if you are buying a house together with your partner.
Sometimes certain aspects of your lifestyle are not very conducive to renting, such as if you have a large dog or are a musician. In these cases, owning a house can be a more comfortable way of living, giving you control over how you live and more privacy to do things the way you want.
Once you know you are ready to move into a house, determine what you need and what is important to you, such as location, amenities, and the type of house. There are many options out there, and each has its benefits and things to consider. If you are ready to take the leap into owning your own house, a mortgage lender can help you get pre-approved so that you know what you can afford.