To rent or not to rent (in other words, buy). That is the question.
And it’s a good question, because going through all the hassle and expense of getting a loan and buying a home, only to discover the buyer’s remorse of either a bad house or too much house, you really have to consider the pros and cons:
Down payment. Don’t let the lenders fool you. While you can put down less than 20 percent for a down payment (and plenty of people do), it’s going to cost you the added expense of private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is just another way of saying the government is just making extra sure they’re covered if you default. Never defaulted on any debt in your life? Great credit? It doesn’t matter. Thanks to a 2015 change in federal lending laws, you’ll be paying $100-$200 a month in PMI for the life of the loan, no matter how much of your balance you pay down. So before you jump at that perfect house, consider how much PMI is going to pain you.
Market cycles. Is the market you’re looking in near the top of a historic price cycle? If home prices have been going up for a few years and don’t show any sign of slowing down, consider heavily the wisdom of buying right now. Those price increases may indeed slow down soon, and you’re left with a house payment that’s considerably higher than it would have been had you waited another year. It all depends on your market, so ask a knowledgeable agent.