Donna Coakley McGowan's Blog
Few things are more exciting than buying a house and making it your home. Knowing when it’s the right time to buy derives from your personal circumstances, but some external elements and market realities affect when it’s right to buy too.
Here are some of the things that can affect your decision to purchase a home, and the timing to do it.
- Interest rates. Right now, interest rates are low, making housing affordable. Keeping an eye on rates can save you money. You can get pre-approval for a mortgage that locks in a low rate, so check out the programs offered by various lenders to see which one has the most useful option for you.
- Inventory levels. Listed homes in your area that fit your budget, and your criteria, ebb and flow. Develop a relationship with a qualified real estate market specialist to keep tabs on inventory levels, so you know when to buy.
- Increased prices. Supply and demand drive up prices, so if prices begin to increase it may be time to step into the market. Again, your real estate agent can keep you apprised of price fluctuations in the market.
- Income levels. You might simply be waiting for a promised raise or that bonus to plump up your down-payment cache. When that’s the case, notify your agent of your expectation and the timing so that they begin looking for you just ahead of when you’re ready to make the purchase.
- Income tax refunds. Although using the IRS as a savings account is a poor financial strategy, sometimes, you end up with a bigger refund than you’d anticipated. When that happens, and you receive the extra funds, it might be time to make homeownership a reality.
- Investments. When an investment gives you an unexpected return, it might be time to reinvest it into a home.
If any of these are true, you may be financially ready. When making any financial decision—especially huge ones such as buying a home—it's essential to contemplate the reason behind your decision. What do you believe a home provides you? How does it fit into your future goals? Are you willing to tie up your funds in a non-liquid investment? Are you prepared to handle the maintenance? Do you have time for upkeep?
When you feel positive about your answers, reach out to your agent for advice, and to start looking for your new home.