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Ready to buy?

Many people have a romanticized notion of what it is like to own a house. Being able to control your surroundings (i.e., choosing paint colors and not dealing with noisy tenants in your apartment building) has an undeniable appeal. Still, when you are deciding whether it is time for you to become a homeowner, you must put aside these feelings and take a long, hard look at the magnitude of what you are about to embark.

Certainly, owning a house can be a positive experience. It can also be a wise investment; instead of paying rent, your mortgage payment will go toward build equity. But along with those benefits comes serious responsibility that you must be prepared to assume.

The first difficult thing about home ownership is the upkeep. If you have rented in the past, then you probably called the building maintenance person whenever you experienced a problem. While you may not have received prompt service, at least you didn’t have to fix the problem yourself or (worse yet) pay someone else a lot of money to fix it for you. Unlike renters, homeowners must be prepared to deal with every unfortunate event, including overflowing toilets, busted appliances, and plumbing issues.

Also, you will have the added responsibility of making a monthly mortgage payment. While you have probably paid rent on a monthly basis in the past, mortgage payments are almost always more expensive. And if something goes wrong with your finances, it is much harder to move to a cheaper house than it would be to move to a cheaper apartment.

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