• Home » How to Figure Out if You’re Ready to Buy Your First Home

How to Figure Out if You’re Ready to Buy Your First Home

Don’t rush into buying a home unless you’re sure that you’re ready. Here are some things you should do to prepare.

Get Your Finances in Order
Your debt-to-income ratio can affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage. Credit card debt and auto or student loans can also make it difficult to afford monthly mortgage payments. You don’t necessarily have to be debt-free before you buy a house, but you don’t want to get in over your head. It may be a good idea to wait a year, or two, or five to pay down your other debts so you can buy a house you can comfortably afford.

Your credit score will affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage and the interest rate on the loan. If your score is low or marginal, raise it by making payments on time and reducing your credit card balances.

Save Enough for a Down Payment and Other Costs
You may be able to get a house with a low down payment, but you will have to pay for private mortgage insurance if you put down less than 20 percent. That may add hundreds of dollars per month to your overall cost of homeownership. A larger down payment can help you avoid PMI and lower your monthly mortgage payments.

You will need money for closing costs, moving expenses, furniture and appliances. Be sure to have funds set aside for maintenance and repairs.

Figure Out How Much You Can Really Afford
The amount a lender preapproved you for is not the amount you should spend. That estimate may not consider all the costs of homeownership or some of your other expenses, such as childcare, or your savings for retirement and for your children’s college education. 

Think About How Your Life May Change
Consider how secure your job is and whether you have a large enough emergency fund. Think about possible changes that may occur in the coming years. For example, you may have one or more children, your kids may go to college or you may start a new job. Those changes may cause your monthly expenses to rise significantly. Ask yourself if you would still be able to afford a mortgage.

Consider How Long You Plan to Stay Put
Think of a home as a long-term investment. You don’t have to stay there forever, but it may not make sense to buy a house if you don’t plan to live there for at least five years or so. If you sell too quickly, you may barely make enough to cover the amount you paid on closing costs and break even. You may even lose money.

Are You Ready to Be a Homeowner?
Many people feel pressure to buy a house to fit in with their family and friends, but rushing into homeownership unprepared can lead to serious financial and emotional stress. You should only buy a home when the time is right for you. 

Our Offices

Brooklyn Office

361 Nostrand Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11216


Elmhurst Office

76-26 Broadway

Elmhurst, NY 11373


Wantagh Office

1897 Wantagh Avenue

Wantagh, NY 11793


East Meadow Office

1856 Hempstead Tpke

East Meadow, NY 11554


Fresh Meadows Office

188-13 Union Turnpike

Fresh Meadows, NY 11366


Syosset Office

40 Underhill Blvd.

Syosset, NY 11791


Oceanside Office

2911 Long Beach Road

Oceanside, NY 11572


Long Beach Office

284 W Park Ave

Long Beach, NY 11561


Merrick Office

55 Merrick Avenue

Merrick, NY 11566


Farmingdale Office

392 Conklin Street

Farmingdale, NY 11735


Franklin Square Office

1069 Hempstead Turnpike

Franklin Square, NY 11010


Hicksville Office

10 Stewart Ave

Hicksville, NY 11801


The CENTURY 21 American Homes App

Download the CENTURY 21 American Homes app to take your search on the go and access your saved homes and searches from anywhere. Try it for free and get notifications directly on your phone about new homes on the market!