Congratulations on your decision to move! There is one question you should answer before you start looking. Do you want to buy it? Or rent? You may have a thought in mind already but there are pros and cons to both options, and they can change depending on where you are at this stage of life. Here are some things to consider at the beginning of your home hunting.
Is this a permanent move? Are you thinking about growing your family? Would you move for a new job? Knowing how long you want to stay in a new home should influence your decision to rent or buy. Buying can make sense if you are planning to stay at your new location for at least 5-7 years. If you change your mind and decide to move after buying a house, you could be saddling yourself with a lot of debt and paperwork. Renters have the flexibility to sign leases and move when they want. Buying a house is a commitment and you must be prepared to stick to it. That commitment comes with a lot of benefits! You can now decorate, remodel, and make this place your own! You also have the stability of being your own landlord and not being forced to move out. Deciding the level of commitment you want to put into your new home is crucial in the buy vs. rent decision.
Both buying and renting come with their own kinds of freedom. As mentioned in above point, renting has a limited lease, allowing you to move once it is up, but a landlord still can ask you to leave. A house you have bought comes with the freedom to do as you please: get a cat, play your music loud, burn candles, or just go crazy! Renters will have to agree to the rules put down by their landlords or face eviction. But renters make a deal with their landlords and in exchange for this rule-following, they are free from the responsibilities of repairs, maintenance, and other unpleasant duties. Homeowners have a responsibility to care for their own homes or live with the consequences. Which of these freedoms is most important to you?
Finally, we come to the cost. Many people always assume it is cheaper to rent than to buy. This is not necessarily true. You have to compare similarly sized homes and neighborhoods to get a true comparison. Several factors are still in play even then: where you live, the direction of the housing market, interest rates, and your return on investment. Here are a few things to consider. Do you have a steady income? Whether buying or renting, paying your bills is a must. Buying a home can be the same monthly cost as renting, just stretched over a longer period of time. But if your financial situation changes, it is much easier to get out of a lease than a mortgage. When buying, in addition to the initial price there are also fees, down payment, closing costs, and interest payments to consider as you budget. Depending on where you are financially, the answer to buying or renting is different for many people.
As you get started on your search, consider what is important to you. How long do you want to stay in your new home? What sort of freedom or perks are you looking forward to? How much can you afford to spend? Answering these questions can help get you on the right path to your new home. Happy hunting!