When it comes to buying a home, there is a lot more to consider than if you can just make the payments or not. There are maintenance tasks to consider for that particular home, size issues and other things as well. Here are a few things you may want to think about to see if you can afford that house!
How Much Fun Do You Have? - If you like to go to the movies, eat out, go to concerts or other forms of activity, you will need the cash flow to do those things. When you have a mortgage, you sign up for 3 decades of payments. Are you willing to give up all your "fun" things for that long just to afford your payments? Maybe you should consider spending less on a home if you want to continue to do some of those things you enjoy.
How Many Kids Do You Want? - If you are buying a home and plan on having children in the near future (or more children) you need to factor in the added costs there will be such as daycare costs or if you or your partner will scale down work time to be home with the kids. If you buy a home based on your current income this year and next year have a baby and one parent at home, that house may become a financial strain right away.
Do You Travel or Want to? - Travelling takes money. Are you ready to give up that extra cash to put into your house payment? Maybe you don't travel now but you know you want to. Don't make your budget so thin there is no wiggle room to work in a trip or vacation.
Do You Have a Green Thumb? - Lets say the home you are looking at has beautiful, intricate landscaping. Do you know how much it will take to keep it looking that way? How about mowing a few acres of grass? Maintaining grounds at a home can be expensive. You may think it's only during a certain time of the year, but if you have a lot of trees there will be trimming, leaf removal and other maintenance that comes with that as well. It's nice to have a lovely yard and grounds, but all of that needs to be cared for by YOU one way or another. Even when you do the maintaining yourself, you still need the tools to do so. You need to think twice before buying a home that may have more outside maintenance than you are financially ready to tackle.
Do You Want to Be a Pool Boy? - Along with maintaining a yard, having a pool can be a costly. You can hire someone to open and close it or do it yourself. The chemicals alone are costly and the work can be tiresome. If you live in a climate where the pool will only be used 3 months out of the year you may want to consider how much that will add to your budget for the year. Those three months can add $1200 or more to your budget depending on how much your bills will go up as well. Can you afford with that house payment an additional $400 a month to have a pool? If that seems like a big chunk, you may want to opt out of that house with a pool.
Do You Want a Safe Retirement? - Retirement may be a ways away, but in order to have a good and safe one you need to consider it now. First, the more and the longer you can contribute to your retirement account can make a big difference in what you have put back down the road. If your house is costing so much to your budget that you can't put back for retirement, that can make things rough later on. Also, the longer you have a mortgage on your home, the chances are you may still be making house payments when you hit retirement age. That big chunk of money each month can eat away at your retirement savings pretty quickly. If you have a less expensive home that you can keep your retirement accounts growing and maybe even have the house paid off by retirement can make a huge difference in your future and the things you and you family can do down the road.
As you can see, there are a lot more things to consider when it comes to affording a home than just whether the house payment is manageable or not. Make sure you take into consideration all the things that you value in your life so you don't short change yourself.
Remember you will have that house payment for a long time!