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Top Priorities for Renters Who Might Be Buyers

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Considering the transition from renting to home buying? There are a lot of factors to weigh, not the least of which is determining how to save enough for a down payment without totally hamstringing yourself financially.

But there are a number of other considerations, both cost-related and otherwise. Owning a home entails a lot of additional responsibilities, all of which you need to be sure you're prepared for. Some of the most prominent include the following:

Maintenance

No longer will you be able to rely on the services of a landlord or hired hand to tend to minor issues on the property, as you can as a renter. As an owner, you'll need to conduct a cost analysis of every home improvement and renovation, bearing in mind how the upfront expenses that go toward resolving an issue can pay off over time in the form of appreciated value. A well-maintained home is an investment from which you can reap the ultimate benefits, but you'll need to account for the time and money spent on the front end when you're budgeting for your down payment, your monthly mortgage costs and the other assorted fees owed to real estate agents and for insurance.

Logistics and Lifestyle

Often, the decision to buy a home is predicated on a shift in priorities or family needs. A new job, a new baby or a desire for more space can prompt a reevaluation and the realization that the current rental unit will no longer cut it. But think practically—if your commute will be dramatically extended because the buying options in your price range will push you further away from your job or your children's school, it may be more efficient to continue renting for the time being. Conversely, if your utmost needs include gaining more space and finding a safer neighborhood for your kids, then the everyday comforts of you and your spouse may be sacrificed in some form. Whatever the overriding factors, it's important not to rush the decision.

The Equality Equation

Above all else, you need to carefully consider all your home buying options because of the long-term significance of the investment at stake. Conduct your research thoroughly, with particular attention to which homes stand the best chance of accruing long-term value. After all, you want to be comfortable in your space, but you also want the transition from renting to be well worth it.

How low will your payment be?