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How to Know When You’re Ready to Buy a Home

By Paul Lochore FREINZ

Here at Lochore’s Real Estate, we’ve been operating as real estate agents in the lower North Shore for decades, so we’ve seen a lot of people take their first step into home ownership over the years. We understand; it’s a big decision, involving a complicated marketplace, and what’s likely to be the biggest transaction of your life so far. It’s completely normal to consider it for several years before making any tangible progress.

But the longer you think about a big decision, the harder it can become over time to see an opportunity when one arises. When we spend years thinking about taking that next step, we can become accustomed to the holding pattern we’re in, and it can be hard to differentiate a natural hesitation to pull the trigger from a legitimate barrier to purchasing property. In this blog post, we’re looking at a few things you can consider when you’re wondering whether or not it’s finally time to buy.

Do you want to stay where you are?

It pays to reflect now and again on where you’d like to be, both in life, and geographically! In this case, we’re talking about the latter—deciding where you want to be seems like a simple question, but finding the answer can take some genuine, honest reflection. A big part of this is understanding what stage of your life you are at. If you’re trying to get on the property ladder for the first time, you may not be as concerned with location as someone looking to raise a family. If you are looking to settle down, you’ll want to consider the surrounding community, including schools, parks, etc. Try to think about how you’ll feel 5 or even 10 years from now, and consider how home ownership will be able to integrate with that.

Seven years is typically the average time people own their property for.  We believe between five and seven years is a good amount of time to expect to own a house, as this will give it room to appreciate, and begin to offset the costs of purchasing it. If you don’t think you’re interested in staying in one place longer than five years, you’ll want to reconsider a home purchase or instead look at the property as an investment property.

Remember to factor in the differences between neighbourhoods, the stability of your job, and your goals for your family, all of which might change your answer on this front.

How are your finances?

Everyone knows that property is a long-term investment, but if you’ve spent some time thinking about buying, you are likely already thinking about how you would budget your mortgage payments.

Your finances play an obvious role in making the initial purchase, but we bring them up because they also tie into the point above. The ongoing costs of home ownership rely on your income being dependable. If you work in a field that can be quite volatile, having a solid plan for your savings can provide you that level of fiscal reliability. Ultimately, if you want to make it work, you can, but in thinking about these details, you’re likely to intuit if you’re ready to buy or not.

Considering your finances is a vital step in the process, as it’s your chance to begin to get pre-purchase financing arranged. This is essential to buying a home, as it helps you get fully informed about your budget, and which homes fit your price range.

Are you excited to own your own home?

Owning a home may entail a lot of work. You don’t necessarily need to carry out maintenance on your home yourself, but picking up some handy skills can be a great way to save money, and many people do opt to work on their own homes. This work is both a responsibility and a source of freedom. For many homeowners, the excitement of that freedom—chiefly being able to make any changes you like—makes it all worth it.

This point is highly personal, because people often have their own passions when it comes to home ownership. Some dream of creating the perfect garden, others the perfect kitchen, and some just want a comforting space to raise children. You’ll know that you’re ready to own a home when the idea of mowing your own lawn, cleaning your own gutters, and patching wear and tear feels manageable and, in some cases, largely irrelevant when compared with your dreams for the space. Freedom and responsibility often come as a package deal, and home ownership is no exception.

We can help you find what you’re looking for

Hopefully, the ideas above have helped you feel a little more confident about your decision-making process. If you’ve decided that you’re ready to buy, the first step is considering what you want. The key is flexibility. Make sure you know what your deal-breakers and must-haves are, and then expect to make adjustments to the rest. Once you’ve made this list, and you know what really matters to you, you’re truly ready to buy.

But finding what you’re looking for can be tough. Thankfully, that’s where we come in. Lochore’s Real Estate are the local experts on houses for sale in the North Shore of Auckland, across areas such as Northcote, Birkdale, and Beach Haven. If you’ve decided that this is the location for you—out of the CBD but close to the central city—we can help you find a home you’ll love. Talk to us to day to find out more, or take a look at some of our North Shore open homes.

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