Whether it's your first house or your fifth, buying a home is exciting. But it's also a big commitment. After you've signed all the paperwork and been handed your new keys, your responsibilities are really just beginning. That's why it's important to understand all that being a homeowner requires—both now and throughout the life of your loan.
As a responsible homeowner, you'll have ongoing commitments to your:
- Mortgage company—You agree to pay your mortgage payment (on time and in full) every month. If you have trouble paying your mortgage or think you might, you're expected to contact your mortgage company for help.
- City/town—You agree to pay your local property/real estate taxes (on time and in full).
- Neighborhood/HOA—You agree to pay for all needed upkeep and maintenance and be a positive asset to the neighborhood and community.
- Home—You agree to maintain the safety and soundness of your home keeping it insured and in good condition.
If you feel like you can't make these homeowner commitments, buying isn't right for you—at least not yet. Maybe you need to save up for a bigger down payment, improve your credit score, or build up your emergency fund…whatever the reason, plan on being a responsible homeowner before taking that next step.
Houses will always be for sale, so don't rush. Take your time to make sure owning a home is right for you and that you'll be able to afford your monthly payments.