You've done the math. With the down payment you've saved, you can safely buy a home for less money than you could ever have as a renter.
Yet, you seem unable to make a commitment. Are you sure you're really ready to buy a home?
If you find yourself saying any of the following to family, friends, or your real estate agent, you're not ready.
"I'll know when I see the right place."
"I want to see what I can find on my own."
"I'll only buy if I can get a fantastic deal."
"I'm waiting for interest rates to go down."
With houses for sale all over the place, you can easily find the right place, especially with your real estate agent screening houses for you. Prices are still lower than they were at the peak. Interest rates are still low. So what are you waiting for -- prices to rise more than they already have, for interest rates to go up? You get the idea.
Owning a home is a big responsibility, and the market has been volatile for years. If you're scared, that's understandable. So, maybe you need to examine your tolerance for risk.
Like the stock market or any other money investment, there is no sure thing, but there is plenty of evidence that returns are built over time. You'll eventually get your money back, or you might even make money on your home, if you:
1. Are realistic. A home should meet your needs for shelter and your family's activities. Don't expect your home to make you rich.
2. Buy within your means. It's no fun dreading your monthly mortgage payment.
3. Occupy your home long enough. It takes approximately four years just to get your closing costs back in equity.
4. Keep your home repaired and updated. If you have to sell quickly, you'll get a better price if your home doesn't need work.
Currently, market conditions are in your favor. High inventories in most areas, lower prices than others have paid in the past and low mortgage interest rates combine to lower your risk.
In addition, you have all kinds of incentives, like the ability to buy with a federally subsidized or guaranteed loan, as well as income tax and capital gains benefits. And there are unexpected dividends - homeowners are automatically assumed to be more responsible than renters, which is why you get a discount on auto insurance if you own a home.
If you're really ready to buy a home, you take action to make a good deal happen. You get preapproved by a lender so you're ready to make an offer on a home within your means. You give your wish list to your real estate agent, attend open houses, search on the Internet, and tell friends and family what kind of home you're looking for. Everyone and everything is working in your favor to get you to your goal.
You find the home you want, and you put your money down and you close.