You may think you come to me only when you need a loan for a new home. That’s only partly true. You will also get the very best financial advice I can offer. As you begin your home search, now is a good time to discuss the issue of choosing the home you can afford versus the most home you can get based on your mortgage pre-approval.
A recent Washington Post article, “All the things Americans sacrifice because housing costs too much” points out some of the very real consequences of becoming “house poor.” While home ownership is one of the best financial moves you can make, buying a house you can barely afford can have a serious impact on your health and quality of life.
According to the national housing survey by the MacArthur Foundation cited in the article, “more than half of Americans — 53 percent — in the last three years have made some kind of sacrifice to cover housing costs. They took on longer hours at work or an additional job. They stopped putting money away for retirement. They accepted tradeoffs for cheaper housing — like moving to neighborhoods that they felt were less safe or had weaker schools.”
Keep in mind that the home you buy today isn’t likely to be the home you live in for the rest of your life. Most people tend to move every 7 – 10 years, and few first-time homeowners remain in their “starter” home. A first home can be an important financial building block towards a dream home or even a future rental property.
It’s important to be realistic about your home buying experience. Hopefully you take this article as me looking out for your best interests. If you have any thoughts, or would like to talk about adjusting your home hunt with greater affordability in mind, I am here to help, not to push you to your limit.