yellow house

Few topics scream “adulthood” and “commitment” more loudly than real estate, and to put it mildly, the market — and society in general — isn’t what it was 50 years ago. Gone are the days when everyone was expected to get married and invest in a home before completing the first quarter-century of life… and for more reasons than one, perhaps that’s a good thing.

At Moveline, we’ve worked with folks of all ages and backgrounds with all sorts of careers and personal lives, and no two cases are exactly alike. There are some mile markers that signify readiness for real estate investing, though, so we’ve put together a quick guide to help you determine whether or not it might be time for you to buy your first home

Your finances are in fantastic shape

First and foremost, lenders want to be assured that they’ll receive their payments like clockwork — on time and in full. If your credit rating is low, you’re up to your ears in debt, your income is unsteady and/or you’ve only got a tiny bit of money saved up for a rainy day, chances are, you’re not a viable candidate for homeownership right now.

On the other hand, if your financial house is in order, you might be ready to sink some of it into an actual house. Your financial institution can review your profile and determine what kind of loan, if any, you might qualify for, which should help set the parameters for the type of home you’ll be shopping for. Particularly if you’ve built a longstanding relationship with your bank or credit union, you should be able to ask frank questions about exactly what needs to be done to put you in the proper position to invest.

You have realistic expectations

Simply having the remote perenially tuned to HGTV won’t arm you with an accurate set of data when it comes to knowing what homes cost in your city or town (or, for that matter, the place you might be relocating to if you’re considering settling down somewhere else). Do your research through publicly-accessible sites like Zillow and Trulia, and make sure you have a good idea of what a monthly mortgage payment would be with an acceptable mortgage rate over a comfortable period of time.

Also, keep in mind that renovation budgets can inflate quickly, so if you’re looking into fixer-uppers, be sure to do your homework on the potential amount you might be dropping on those floors, that yard, those pipes and whatever else might need to change in that house with “good bones” and “lots of potential.”. Remember, real estate professionals need to make a sale off of you, so an agent might not be the best person to ask for advice in the beginning of your planning process; again, your financial institution should have qualified staff ready to walk you through any questions you might have about the first-time homebuyer process — particularly when it comes to your cash. And of course, there’s no shortage of online resources for buying a home.

You can make a sizeable down payment

Speaking of cash, a large down payment can obviously save you a world of hurt on a monthly mortgage payment and potentially give you more power during the purchasing process. If your credit is healthy, your debts are minimal to nonexistent, and you’re mentally prepared to purchase a home but don’t quite have a comfortable amount of money saved for a down payment, organizations like Kiplinger’s offer great guides and worksheets on saving moneytoward large purchases like a home.

You really, really want to settle down

More than anything, purchasing a home is a big deal, emotionally as well as financially. With more than a solid 35 percent of the American population renting, The Atlantic Cities reports that three in five adults in the U.S. believe that “renters can be just as successful as homeowners in achieving the American Dream.” So be sure that if you’re indeed thinking of buying a home, you’re doing it for your own gratification and not to appease anyone else, like parents, co-workers or that secret nemesis you’ve been silently competing with since high school.

The emotional, fiscal and physical commitment of buying a home — particularly for the first time — is nothing to be taken lightly; while it’s certainly something to be celebrated, it’s not something to be done on a whim. Do your homework, take your time, and make sure you’re properly motivated and prepared to spend a good deal of time and energy on making your next home officially yours.

Whether you’ll be renting or owning your next home, let Moveline help with the moving process. By simplifying your inventory process and assigning a Move Captain to secure fair,accurate quotes from reputable moving companies on your behalf, we’ll oversee the entire process and take the headache out of ot completely. Best of all, our services are free. So don’t go it alone. Let Moveline help you #movebetter. Get started on our homepage to learn how we can make life easier during your next transition.