There comes a point in every gal’s life when she starts getting pressure from all angles to buy a home. Whether it’s after your wedding, when you get a big promotion at work, or following the birth of your first child, friends and family members will find any excuse to ask when you’ll start looking for a place to settle down. And, once they plant that seed, it can be hard to ignore the urge to start searching for a house. After all, it is the logical next step, right?
While buying a home is a reasonable next step for many folks, taking the leap into homeownership is a momentous decision that should only be made after carefully considering your personal, financial, and emotional readiness. At the end of the day, whether or not you choose to buy a home is totally up to you, and no amount of nudging from your loved ones should influence your decision.
If you’ve already started browsing for a house and are having second thoughts about getting serious about your search, here are a few signs that could mean you’re better off saying “no” – or at least “not right now” – to home buying.
You can’t commit
In nearly every case, it doesn’t make sense to buy a home unless you plan to stay put for five to seven years. If you have a serious case of wanderlust and can’t imagine not having the flexibility to move when it strikes your fancy, now may not be the best time to buy a home.
Your job isn’t stable
While you can never be 100 percent sure that your job is secure, it’s smart to take a close look at your career and workplace climate before deciding to buy a home. If there has been a significant number of layoffs or if there are rumors flying that the company will be restructuring, you might want to hold off.
You’re not ready to care for a home
One of the perks of renting is that your landlord is almost always responsible for making repairs when something needs to be fixed. As a homeowner, you need to be ready to take on the time and expense involved in keeping your property in top shape. If this doesn’t sound like you, it may not be time to buy a house
You live paycheck to paycheck
Coming up with a 20 percent down payment can be really tough – especially in a weak job market. If you don’t have the savings for a down payment or closing costs in addition to a reliable cash flow for your monthly mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance and other fees, you probably aren’t ready to buy a home.
Your credit is less than stellar
If you’ve started looking for a home and haven’t checked your credit score, it’s time to hit “rewind” and evaluate your financial fitness. A low credit score can make it hard to get a mortgage. And, even if you do qualify for a loan, poor credit can affect your interest rate. If your credit score is below 700, it may be a good idea to pause your home search while you pay down your debts.