7 Signs You May Be Ready to Purchase a Home

The process of buying a home can feel like an emotional roller coaster. You might go from feeling excited about starting a new chapter in life to wondering if you’re making the right decision. All these thoughts are very common, especially considering the purchase of a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most people will ever make.

To help you decide if you may be ready, we talked to Michele Radosevich, an MTH Mortgage consultant. She recommends asking yourself these seven questions to see if now is the time to buy your dream home.

  • 1: Is your rent rising each year?

    Chances are you answered yes, and you’re not alone. According to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas forecast that uses data from the federal government's consumer price index, year-over-year rental price growth will rise from 5.8% as of June 2022 to a predicted 8.4% in May 2023.

    Having a fixed mortgage payment in lieu of a rent payment that can rise every six to 12 months can be a much better option for future financial planning,” Radosevich says.

  • 2: Do you have a reliable source of income?

    Prospective buyers should be financially ready before buying a home, and if you have a dependable income then you’re likely in good shape. Review your finances to check if you have a low debt-to-income ratio, enough money saved for emergencies, and a retirement fund. If you check all these boxes, then it might be the perfect time to start house hunting. 

    “Ask yourself if you are comfortable with your income stream and ability to make monthly mortgage payments. The underwriting process will determine your income stability from an underwriting perspective. However, each buyer will also be able to evaluate if they would be comfortable with their future mortgage payment knowing their current income and debts,” Radosevich says. “Your job history, employment type, and position can definitely play a role in the stability you feel with your income, but these are all personal decisions, and it’s up to the individual buyer to determine what is best for themselves and their families.”

  • 3: Are sellers or homebuilders offering incentives in your area?

    Meritage occasionally hosts sales events, so ask one of our sales counselors if there are any special promotions or incentives you should be aware of. Finding an incentive isn’t a guarantee, but it’s definitely an added bonus worth asking about. If you’re buying a home outside of a Meritage community, work with your real estate agent to see what options are out there, and don’t be afraid to ask the seller if they will include things like furniture or window coverings in the purchase price.

  • 4: Do you have money for a down payment?

    Having money saved for a down payment is important, but many homebuyers don’t realize they may not need 20% of the purchase price to use as a down payment. There are dozens of homebuyer grants and down payment assistance programs you may qualify for, so it’s important to contact a mortgage expert who can walk you through all your options.

    “We have conventional loans with as little as 3% down and FHA loans that require only 3.5% down–these lower down payment loans open up more financing options for borrowers,” Radosevich says. “Most loan programs also allow for the down payment to come in the form of a gift from an immediate family member–this helps increase a buyer’s options for purchasing. 401(k) loans are also a good option–you can borrow from yourself to purchase a beautiful new Meritage Home for your family.”

  • 5: Are your utility bills really expensive?

    The price of natural gas continues to increase, causing utility bills to be more expensive for everyone. In fact, this year the national average residential electricity rate increased 14.3% compared to 2021. The good news is that a new Meritage home will be much more energy-efficient than the typical resale home. Meritage Homes has a long-standing commitment to leading the way in energy-efficient homebuilding while maintaining a price point that’s accessible for entry-level homebuyers. Find all our energy-efficiency buyer resources here.

  • 6: Are you having trouble creating a work-life balance while working from home?

    The number of people working from home tripled between 2019 and 2021, and 26% of U.S. employees work remotely as of 2022. This shift away from the office has definitely influenced homebuying trends as buyers prioritize the need for a designated home office.

    If you or someone in your family works from home, then be sure to think about this when hunting for homes—is an open floorplan the best option? Will more than one person be using the office? All things to consider. “Purchasing a three- to five-bedroom Meritage home offers the ability to turn one of the bedrooms or flex spaces such as a den or loft into a home office, so there is definitely more room in a Meritage home than an apartment,” Radosevich says.

  • 7: Are you outgrowing your current space?

    There’s nothing worse than feeling cramped in a place where you’re supposed to be able to relax and feel most at ease. Whether your family has grown, a relative has moved in, or you’ve simply outgrown your current space—buying a new home might just be your best bet.

    “Meritage builds great floorplans to suit the lifestyle of growing families with options for extra bedrooms, bonus rooms and lofts that can be used as play areas for children,” Radosevich says. “Many Meritage communities also offer amenities such as community pools, clubhouses, fire pits and other family-friendly activities you might want to take advantage of.”

These questions are intended to help you evaluate your current housing and make the best plan for the future. This year, 62% of first-time homebuyers say the primary reason they purchased a home was simply because of their desire to own a home of their own. So, if you too find yourself dreaming of putting roots down in a place of your own, then we hope these questions helped you realize you could be more ready to purchase a home than you think.

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