For the past two years I have been dreaming of becoming a first time home buyer, but there has been something stopping me and I can finally admit it. It’s the dreaded F Word…Fear! The thought of buying a home terrifies me. You may laugh considering I work in the real estate industry but like many other renters I am scared to make that leap into home ownership.
I currently rent a 2-bedroom apartment in West Orange, NJ. There is plenty of room for me, my husband Joe and our cat Rory to live comfortably.
One of the biggest benefits of where we currently live is we are just five minutes away from my parents who live in my hometown of Livingston. Our rent is low enough that we have the financial freedom to enjoy dinners out, vacations and an occasional shopping spree (ok, maybe that last part is just me). While this all sounds great, I still get a pain in my stomach every single time I write out my rent check knowing it is going right into someone else’s pocket and not toward my own possession. Does this sound familiar to you?
Joe and I have jobs we enjoy and our joint incomes, one would think, should allow us to buy a home. So what’s stopping me? That dreaded F word again…FEAR. Recently, a friend who owns a home in our town asked how much we pay for rent. When I told them our rent they laughed and said it was nearly $400 more than their mortgage payment! Again, instant stomach pain. And with that pain my apprehension returns. Can I truly afford owning a home? What about taxes? How much of a down payment can we make without living on Ramen Noodles for the next few years? Am I willing to give up the luxury of living near my parents to afford the starter home I have been dreaming of? Are you seeing a pattern emerge? Yes, all of these unanswered questions revolve around finances!
After renting for two and a half years I am ready to face my fear. I headed to coldwellbanker.com and checked out the rent vs buy, monthly payment and affordability calculators.
As I suspected, the rent vs buy calculator clearly indicated buying a home would be the best long term decision financially and the affordability calculator gave me a higher number than I had predicted! Moving into the town where we currently live is something we could definitely afford and if we expand our search radius we can even get more home for our money. As a Jersey girl, I think I know all the towns I would be interested in but I am still going to check out the lifestyle calculator to identify towns that meet our lifestyle needs. I think I will save that adventure for another blog post.
After looking at and accepting the numbers my next move will be consulting our accountant and my other advisor, my dad who has been in the real estate industry (with Coldwell Banker) for 20+ years, to learn about tax implications and other costs associated with buying a home. This has been a major step for me in my journey toward buying a home. These tools are all available on the first time home buyer section of coldwellbanker.com and are ready for you to try at your convenience. Remember…the only thing to fear is fear itself, so go ahead and run the numbers! You may be surprised; your dream to own a home may be closer to reach than you thought.
Are you going through the same process as me? Leave a comment and let’s chat!