4 Signs You’re Ready To Move Into Your Forever Home

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Starter homes are supposed to be just that, a starting point. But how do you know when it’s time to take the leap and invest in something bigger? In an attempt to answer that question, I’ve laid out four signs that you’re ready to move into your forever home. Read them over to get a sense of whether or not you might be ready to the next step.

You’ve outgrown your current house

Whether your family has grown or you just need more room to spread out, there’s no mistaking the feeling of a living space being too small. One day you wake up and it feels like everyone is bumping into one and other or constantly stepping on each other’s toes. Not to mention that it seems like everyone’s stuff is overflowing in every corner of the house.

When those feelings take over, it’s time to spread out. More than likely, you’re ready to move into a home that gives you more room to roam. Forever homes are generally a lot larger than starter homes and should fill this need quite nicely.

In this case, one of your major considerations when house-hunting should be determining how much room will truly suit your needs. Start by thinking about how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll realistically need. Then, zero in on if there are any particular features that your forever home absolutely must possess, such as a bonus room for the kids to play in or a big yard for the dogs.

You’ve got this homeownership thing down

Starter homes act as a training ground for homeownership. They’re the first place that you really learn what it means to maintain a home and pay down a mortgage. By the time you’re ready to move into your forever home, those things should feel like old hat. You should have the basics of homeownership down and feel ready to move on to a place that offers even more responsibility.

The reality is since starter homes are larger and often single-family homes as opposed to condos or townhomes, they naturally come with more upkeep. Be honest with yourself about how well you’re handling your home’s upkeep now, as is, and if you have the time, skills, and money to take on even more at the moment.

You can afford to spend more 

There’s no getting around it: forever homes are a big purchase. Quite possibly the biggest purchase you’ll make in your entire lifetime. With that in mind, it’s absolutely crucial that you make sure you’re financially able to handle a purchase of this magnitude before jumping into the deep end and buying something.

In order to figure out how much you can afford to spend, start by looking at a mortgage calculator. Play around with the numbers until you land on a sale price and monthly payment that feels comfortable for you. Then, double check that figure by putting it into your monthly budget in place of your rent payment to see how it feels when combined with your other expenses.

Once you have a solid idea of your maximum sale price, it’s time to see what you can afford. Plenty of real estate agents provide access to search tools that allow you to see available listings in your area. Pick one and use it to see the types of properties that are in your price range.

You know what your life will look like in 10-20 years

Conventional wisdom states that, in order for it to make sense to buy a home, you should plan to live in it for at least the next five years. With forever homes, that number is a bit larger. Since these homes are often larger and more expensive, you need to stay in it longer in order to break even on the move. In this case, you’re likely looking at a timeframe of at least ten years, maybe more.

To that end, ask yourself: Do you know what your life will look like in ten years? Can you see yourself still living in your current area? Is your employment situation fairly stable? If your answers to these questions are “yes,” you’re probably in a good place to invest in a forever home. If not, it may make more sense to look into something less permanent.

by Tara Mastroeni for Forbes

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