I have read many articles that help people decide if they are ready to become a home owner. They tend to focus only on the financial obligation of home ownership. Can you afford the monthly payments? Do you have good credit and manage your credit? Can you afford the maintenance of a home? Especially now, these questions are on everyone’s mind when thinking about home ownership.
But, there are other considerations besides just money. Homes require other resources for maintenance, like time. If you have the financial ability for home ownership, consider also how you like to spend your time. This will also help you determine what type of home to look for.
Do you enjoy doing home improvement projects? Do you enjoy tinkering around in the garden?
In my neighborhood, home ownership is kind of like a hobby. If you go for a walk any time of day, any day of the week, you will find neighbors in their garage, building something. Or, in a sun hat watering their flowers. There is a lot of pride in the home, and you can see how much the owner loves it by its perfectly manicured lawn, without a blade of grass out of place. I sometimes wonder if the owner is sitting in a chair looking out the window, ready to run out and pick up a leaf that has blown onto their drive way.
We recently started our own home improvement project of replacing a very old carpet in the kitchen. I don’t know whose idea it was to put carpet in the kitchen. To each his own I guess.
It is incredibly satisfying to me, at this stage in my life, to spend my nights and weekends installing a laminate floor. I’m just your average mid twenties party animal! I love you Home Depot! For some, spending free time with a measuring tape and a utility knife sounds like a punishment.
That said, I do have an infant, and my house is not immaculate, nor is our yard. Ha. Immaculate. Barely passes for clean. In fact, the “woodland creatures,” ceramic renditions of squirrels, owls, etc., that belonged to the previous owner still inhabit the front yard. Even though I vowed that they would be the first to go. (I’m sorry, homeowner, if you are reading this. I will make sure they find a suitable new home!)
So, I think we fall somewhere in the middle of the Home Improvement & Maintenance Spectrum. The important thing to recognize when considering home ownership is that there is a spectrum, and even if you want to do just the absolute bare minimum, it will still be time consuming.
In addition to how much money you can afford, think about how much time you can afford.
Be realistic about how much tinkering you want to do. If you want to do home improvement projects yourself, do you have the time? If you want someone else to do them, do you have the money to hire contractors? Or, if you want to spend the minimum time and money, maybe a condo without a yard might be the solution?
Talk to your buyer’s agent about what kinds of improvements and time commitment you are looking to get in to. With their experience, they can help match you to a home that will realistically match your time budget, as well as your financial budget.