First-time Buyers in Harrisburg PA: Should You Buy? The amount of material promoting first-time home buying is extensive. Financial and real estate experts from across the country know that today's market conditions are heavily weighted in favor of buyers. Interest rates have never been lower. Home values are more affordable than they've been in decades.
Yet, does this mean now is a good time for you to buy? That depends on a number of personal and financial factors. To really understand if you should enter the market, you must look at what homeownership means.
Irresponsible buying or borrowing could be detrimental to a first-time buyer in our already fragile economy. Homeownership is a long-term financial responsibility. It brings with it many social, and sometimes financial rewards, but like any commitment should not be entered into lightly.
First and foremost, how stable is your employment? Has your company been experiencing lay-offs, or are they hiring?
Next, do you have at least an 8-month emergency fund in case you get laid off or become too sick to work?
Many potential first-time buyers today are unable to obtain a mortgage due to bad credit. This has created a multi-month supply of homes for sale. If you are not a first-time buyer, will you need to sell your current home in order to buy a new one?
Yearly homeownership expenses for first-time buyers extend past the monthly mortgage payment. Can you afford property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance, and upkeep?
Real estate can be a way to build long-term wealth. Your home can be one of your largest assets! Plan on remaining in your new home for at least 3 to 5 years. It will take at least that long for first-time buyers to break even financially when they sell.
What if home values continue to fall? Are you buying for reasons other than building equity? Why do you want to buy? In today's market, housing is affordable. It could be years, however, until your home begins to build equity. By the time you put 20 percent down, pay closing costs, and perform repairs and maintenance, returns can be quite slim.
Owning certain homes in specific neighborhoods can be a sign of status. However, you should be strongly cautioned that "keeping up with the Joneses" is not a valid reason to buy a home!
Having said all that, the majority of first-time buyers who are now homeowners would recommend buying to family and friends. This is because homeownership instills a sense of community and stability. As a first-time buyer, having a place of your own can be priceless! Just be sure you are truly ready to buy before entering the market.