When I lived in North Carolina I toyed with the idea of buying a house. I even went so far as to research realtors and choose neighborhoods I was interested in. But I never really pulled the trigger because I got laid off twice and renting so much more cost efficient and less of a commitment than buying.
Related post: How to Find the Best Realtor for You
Fast forward a few years and I've moved to Florida where renting is more expensive. I'm not kidding. I paid several hundred dollars more for a 1-bed/1-bath apartment in Florida than I did for a 2-bed/2-bath in NC. Also no utilities were included in the rent unlike in NC where your water, trash and sewer were included. Now with my house I'm paying less than I was for the 1-bed/1-bath apartment. If you don't believe me here are some stats
- Brand new apartments are being built smaller. They are about 8% smaller than brand new apartments from 10 years ago1
- To make it worse, the national average rental cost has increased to $1,296. It was $977 in 20111
- It's recommended that you spend 30% or less of your income on housing. With the rising rent costs, the number of people spending 30% or more of their income on housing is continually rising2
So depending on the type of house, size and location, you can get a mortgage payment less than your rent where I live. This got me seriously thinking about buying a house. What helped me make up my mind and pull the trigger to get serious about buying was consideration of the following four questions.
1. Do I want to live here for more a couple of years?Doing research I found it's usually better to buy or rent if you plan to live in the area for three years or more. I like where I'm living and have started to build a life here. I can see myself living here for several years so buying made sense.
2. Do I feel financially stable?I felt more financially stable over the last year and had the money for a down payment without breaking the bank.
3. Do I really need (or want) more space?For me the answer was yes for a couple of reasons
- I live several states and hours away from family and friends. So I want to have room for this stay so they are more inclined to visit me instead of me always being the one to travel.
- The way my apartment was laid out it wasn't helpful for taking pictures for the blog or recording videos. The light wasn't the greatest despite having several big windows. And all my walls had something against creating backdrops not great for video recording. I felt I needed a better environment if that would help me be more serious about blogging.
4. Can I and do I Want to Take Care of a House?Taking care of a house takes time and work. Since I've moved in I've lost track of the number of times I've run to Lowes or Home Depot for something. Even though I create a list something else pops up days or even hours later that I need to get.
There were also considerations for mowing the lawn, taking care of the flower bed, making repairs, taking time off or working from home to wait for the repair man.