Buying a home isn’t just a financial decision; it’s one of life’s biggest choices. Whether you’re fresh out of college or well on your way in a career, homeownership will likely cross your mind sooner or later. When that time comes, there’s a lot more to consider besides finding a great neighborhood and a mortgage payment you can afford.
There’s something about knowing you’re the queen of your castle that appeals to a lot of women, regardless of age. (Read: Are You an Aspiring Home Owner?) Maybe you’re normally an apartment dweller. Or perhaps you live in a single-family house, but have always been a renter. Your lifestyle reveals hints about your personality and interests, and whether the commitment of owning a home is right for you. It's a matter of weighing what you want against what you'll be happy with later, but that's not as simple as it sounds.
Owning a home isn't the only course you can take, and there's nothing inherently wrong with being a lifetime renter. Here are a few important considerations that can help you make a checklist to decide if homeownership is right for you. And know that you're not alone if you're single, as homeownership among women is increasing according to Trulia.
Homeownership Means Rebalancing Your Monthly Budget
Are you a dedicated saver, squirreling money away for a rainy day? Or do you prefer to travel, dine out, buy nice things, and enjoy a lifestyle where you can spend what you want, when you want?
As a homeowner, you'll probably have to sacrifice at least a few things that you're accustomed to splurging on. Where a landlord is responsible for major expenses and smaller repairs, that responsibility will land on you as the queen of your castle. When the roof needs replacing or a plumbing pipe bursts, you'll be the one making the call to have it repaired … and paying the bill. (Read: Home Maintenance Strategies: Which One is Right for You?)
Further, the old wisdom of buying as much house as you can afford means you'll pay more in property taxes and insurance. Homeownership means you pay all the bills, and make all the decisions. You'll have more flexibility when you've got a home contingency account so when your heating or air conditioning system decides to give up the ghost, you're prepared.
Take inventory of how you spend money, and figure out which of your usual expenses can be cut. For most homeowners, this is the only way to afford the financial responsibility that comes with home ownership.
With Homeownership, You'll Spend Precious Hours Managing Your Home
Do you have hobbies or activities that take up a lot of your time? Maybe you love wintertime ski trips, play on a softball team, or stay active in community programs. These are all great, but your new home will add new demands on your time.
Mowing the lawn is a weekly endeavor that many women sacrifice for during warm months. Add in weeding and normal landscaping work, and a good portion of your Saturday or Sunday might be taken over. Once autumn arrives, raking leaves takes the place of frequent mowing. There's always something to be done around a house.
The lifestyle that many women lead doesn't offer a lot of free time to perform the necessary work around a house. But that doesn't mean you can't own a home. If you're busy and can make more financial sacrifices, you can hire out these jobs to lawn care specialists and a handyman. Buying a house is about making choices you can live with.
Purchasing a home can be the most thrilling time of your life. But not everyone is cut out for owning one, and that's perfectly fine. The important thing is weighing your current lifestyle against the responsibilities of owning property, and sorting out whether you want to take on the time, work, and expense to make it happen.
If you're already checking out real estate ads, we'd love to hear about how you're planning to make the leap into buying a home to call your own. Are you examining your budget, saving for a down payment, or making other choices that will lead you to your dream? We would love to hear about it!