June is National Home Ownership Month. Providing the homebuyer education that we do, it’s kind of a big deal. Personally, I love homeownership. I am a homeowner. I teach about homeownership. I have my real estate license and have helped people become homeowners. I’m all about homeownership.
And I’ll tell you that not everyone should be a homeowner. They just shouldn’t…. for a number of reasons.
There are all kinds of information out there right now about becoming a homeowner. We’ve been sharing a bunch of it on our social media. You can go to the Center for Financial Resources’ Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages to find all of that.
To provide a fair, at least less-biased perspective, I’ll add in this blog with reasons you should NOT buy a home. So, here we do go:
- You want to move – As much as it costs to buy a home, it also costs money to sell. It takes time to both buy and sell. If you want to live the carefree Bohemian lifestyle or are just planning a single move in the near future, YOU SHOULDN’T BUY A HOUSE. Aside from the stress and headaches of the buying and selling processes, it just doesn’t make sense financially to buy and then sell that quickly. Sometimes it can’t be helped. But if you know a move is coming, just sign a lease for now.
- You don’t like working on your house – Homes take maintenance. Some properties, like townhomes, condos, twin homes, and villas may have an association (HOA) that takes care of the exterior things like mowing and snow removal. But even there they have limits. If you get less than two inches of snow, you are probably on your own to deal with it. And you are totally on your own for the interior maintenance. Even with an HOA in place, you are still going to have maintenance. If that does not sound like anything you are willing to even try and tackle, YOU SHOULDN’T BUY A HOUSE. As a tenant renting a property, pretty much everything other than regular cleaning falls on the landlord. That’s one reason you pay the rent and never get ownership – they take care of the heavy work for you.
- You want to travel…. A LOT – I like to travel. I get it. Even on a long weekend trip, it always seems like there is something to deal with when I get home. This kind of ties back to the whole conversation about maintenance, but when you are traveling there is no one there to notice that the furnace went out and the pipes froze and burst and now you have a skating rink in your basement. You, after all, are gallivanting across the globe. If you want to travel for extended periods of time, YOU SHOULDN’T BUY A HOUSE. If you do, you need someone locally who can check on the place for you. Unless you like returning home to a skating rink in your basement…… And then you have a ton of extra costs because a little issue of a non-functioning furnace was allowed to turn into a tsunami of problems.
- You aren’t financially ready – I don’t just mean that you have to have a decent income and your credit is ok…. or at least you think it’s ok…. or maybe you are just assuming your credit is fine. Aside from the aforementioned maintenance costs, there is this little thing called a mortgage payment that you have to be ready for. EVERY MONTH. You may know you are fine this month. And maybe next month. But what about after that? Financial readiness means that you have a budget and know where your money is going. You know how much is coming in, how much is going out, and how much extra you have for all of those home ownership-related expenses. You know that, even with a hiccup or three, you are going to be fine affording homeownership. If you can’t say that, YOU SHOULDN’T BUY A HOUSE. The good news is that many people just don’t know yet. There is help for that. You can begin tracking your expenses and put a budget together on your own. If you want help, hey, that’s something we do regularly at the Center for Financial Resources. Even if things are a little out of whack, we can help you come up with a plan to get back on the road to homeownership. But you have to be intentional about getting yourself ready to take the leap.
- You haven’t turned the lights on – I use the illustration that a lot of people are afraid of the dark. Perhaps rightfully so. I mean, when you are in the dark you don’t know what’s out there. You don’t know what’s coming. You don’t know what you are walking into. If you have never bought a home before (or haven’t done it regularly), you are probably in the dark and YOU SHOULDN’T BUY A HOUSE. The light switch is homebuyer education. High-quality HUD-approved home buyer classes educate you and turn the lights on so you know what is coming and how to navigate the process. Here in South Dakota, that education is actually paid for on your behalf by the HERO Program of SDHDA. It’s one of the few things in the buying process that is actually free to you. I have had clients go from “terrified of the thought of buying” to “totally ready to do this” just by attending class. There was no more darkness to be afraid of.
If I haven’t talked you out of buying a home yet and you are interested in more, check out our Homebuyer Express classes. You can find dates and times on the calendar at CFR.LssSD.org or call us to register for a class. Even if the scheduled classes don’t work, call us anyway. We will make sure you get the education you need.
We also have Pre-Purchase Appointments that you can schedule. If the financial end of things is more of a challenge for you, we can go through your expenses with you and help you set a budget. We can help with the plan to get you financially ready to buy a home. Or we might even say, “You know what? After looking over everything, I think you are in a good place to buy a home. Go for it!”
Either way (or both) you come out knowing more. And knowing is half the battle.
Check out our website at CFR.LssSD.org or call us at 605-330-2700 for more information about classes and one-on-one appointments.
written by Breck Miller, Community Relations Coordinator
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus| Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 |Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities