Updated: Aug 30, 2019
It can be quite the quandary to figure out if you should buy a home or continue renting. Here are a few things you should definitely think through before making a decision.
What kind of interest rate can I get?
The lower the mortgage rate is, the lower your monthly payment will be. This largely determines affordability. Right now they are super low.
How long will I want to live in this home?
Buy if you plan to be there for 5 years or more. Rent if you can't see yourself in one place for 3 years. If it's 3-5 years, look at the other factors and make a judgment call.
How much can I afford to put down?
If you can comfortably make a down payment of 20% and still have plenty in savings and an emergency reserve, then strongly consider buying that house. If you can't, reduce your budget and temper your expectations. Of course you can put down less than 20%. You can put 15% down. 10%. Even nothing at all. There are programs for all of these scenarios. Just understand the residual effects on the next 5 to 10 years or more.
What is the rental market like?
In Arlington...right now...it's pretty good. Home prices are going up more than rents are. And rental concessions are becoming more of a norm so that property groups can compete with each other. The rental market is cyclical, however, and can turn on a dime.
I have to pay more than just your mortgage each month?
That's right. Closing costs. Property tax. Insurance. HOA or condo fee. Fixing the dishwasher that flooded your kitchen, warping your hardwood floors, and dripping down into your finished lower level onto your brand new pool table.
Get out there and purchase a home. Just think it through. No one wants to be handcuffed to their house, so make good decisions.