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When is the Right Time to Buy?

Deciding to Buy

The decision to buy a home is an incredibly personal decision and there is no clear right or wrong time. When I made the decision to buy my first home, it was based on years of renting and challenges associated with sharing walls with others. I desired having something that I could call my own. Something that I could make decisions about, make my own, and something that would gain value and opportunity over time.

My first home was supposed to be my “5 year” house. I was going to get in the door, build some equity and then “level up”. I bought at a time in the market where costs were high, and had to adjust what my expectations were based on what was affordable for monthly payments. In order to have “more house” I needed to consider homes that needed updating or work. Concessions had to be made regarding my wish list.

It was just over 10 years later that I sold that house. I was a couple of years post divorce, with two small children and a home that had been updated from top to bottom. It had one more bathroom, a finished basement and a newly designed and installed kitchen. AND…I was finally at a point where I could sell the house for more than what I had bought it for.

That home provided stability and security for a decade. It taught me a lot about homeownership responsibilities, built my capacity and knowledge of home renovations, maintenance, and the unexpected. I learned how to make that situation support my goals.

What is your why?

What do you need in a home versus what you want? What priorities have you set that will guide your search?


In general, experts say you can afford a home that costs about 2.5 times your yearly income. Income can include salary, benefits, public assistance, child support, and alimony.

Here are some questions to help estimate what you can afford:

  • How much can you afford to spend for monthly loan payments?

  • How much money do you need each month for other expense obligations? (utilities, maintenance, bills, entertainment, groceries, and other)

  • How much cash do you have saved for down payment and other associated costs with buying a home?

  • How much cash will you need for closing costs?

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