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Should I buy a house?

Buying a house used to be a fundamental part of the American dream. You'd go to college, get married, get a car, get a job, buy a house, have children and have a great retirement at the end. But as time marches on this is becoming less and less the normal case. A great deal of the responsibility for this can be placed on the recent housing market crash and financial troubles that our economy has been going through. Because of this people are searching for alternatives to home ownership that are more affordable and less risky.

Buying a house represents a level of risk and requires a good level of financial stability. Because in today's

job market, some people don't know if they will be laid off or not, they don't feel comfortable making the long term financial commitment of buying a house and instead look to renting. The appeal of renting is mostly found in the money saved and the flexibility that goes along with it. Over the long term, renting and owning a house can actually pose a similar cost, but when you rent there is a low and stable upfront cost. Renting also allows a great deal of flexibility. If you don't know where you will be living in the next couple of years it may not be a good ideal to buy a house quite yet.

Simply put, buying a house is an extremely expensive endeavor. Not only are the upfront costs very high but you will also face yearly maintenance costs such as roofing, painting, cleaning and much more. But at the same time it can be a rewarding and personal experience. When you own a house you can make it truly your own in many ways. In most rental agreements you are restricted in what you can do to your living space. Even with the more liberal rental agreements you can never have the chance to make the changes to make a rental truly yours. A house also means financial and personal stability and is a great place to raise a family if that's what you intend to do.

In the end of course it is up to you. If you are financially stable and don't see much change in you living plans in the foreseeable future, buying a home may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you are just getting started in the job market, you haven't put aside enough savings, or you just don't know what your future will look like, it might be a good idea to consider renting.

Are you currently employed?
Approximately how much do you make in yearly income?
Do you see yourself living somewhere else in the next 5 years?
Do you see yourself working in the same job in 5 years?
Do you have children?
Have you talked to a realtor in your area about home prices?
Do you have any home improvement skills?
Do you own pets?
Approximately how much debt do you have?
Do you know what a home mortgage is?