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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Are You Ready To Buy Your First Home?

There are many great reasons to own a home. For one, the place is yours.

When you own your own home you have a place to raise your children and to be a part of a community. You can even pass your home down to your children and their children, creating security for generations to come.

Owning your own home can even help you reduce your taxes. You can deduct the interest on your mortgage and property taxes you pay on your home on the tax returns you file each year. These tax savings partially reduce, or offset somewhat, the actual cost of owning your home.

Another good reason to own your own home is that your monthly payments won’t ever go up, that is if you choose a fixed-rate mortgage! A fixed mortgage is one that stays the same for the life of the loan. If the mortgage is 30 years, you’ll pay the same mortgage payment each month for the entire 30 years of the loan.

So what are the risks of owning a home, you might ask? Overall, homeownership is a good investment for most people. If you understand the benefits and risks of homeownership, you can make the best decision about when to buy a home.

The first risk is that your monthly housing expenses can increase if your mortgage is higher than what you are used to paying in rent. On the flip side, rent goes up while your mortgage can stay the same. Another risk is that if an appliance breaks, you will have to pay for its repair or replacement. You are also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your home and your property.

If you are somebody who plans to move soon, the downfall of owning is that you have to wait to sell your home to move. Depending on the local real estate market, you might not be able to sell your home quickly. You should also factor in the likely expense of hiring a real estate professional. Fees can be negotiated and vary across regions. They also vary from professional to professional.

The last risk is that property values can depreciate. You can lose value in your home for a number of reasons, such as a recession, the condition of your home not being kept up, or a drop in a neighborhood’s home values. If your home loses value and you have to sell it for less than you owe, you will be required to repay the full mortgage.

Many people don’t even consider buying a home as they believe that you need great credit to become a homeowner. The fact is, you may still be able to buy a home with less-than-perfect credit. And remember, you can improve your credit over time.

Another myth about buying a home that often keeps people from looking is that you need to put 20% down. There are many types of mortgage products and programs that allow low and no down payments. But remember to factor in other costs such as closing costs, property taxes, moving expenses, and repairs.

So are you ready to buy your first home? Certainly the benefits outweigh the risks.

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