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The Right Age to Buy a House


Although buying a house for the first time is a big decision, it turns out there is no perfect age to do it. When it comes to taking the plunge, it’s more about individual readiness.

You’re likely ready to buy your first home if you:

  • Have steady income.
  • Have saved enough for a required down payment and closing costs.
  • Have an emergency fund with three to six months’ expenses.
  • Have little or no other significant debt.
  • Plan to stay in the home at least three to five years to recoup initial expenses.
  • Have improved your credit as much as possible.
  • Can comfortably afford mortgage payments for homes in your desired location.

While there’s no “right” age, there are trade-offs between buying when you’re a young adult and waiting until you’re older.

Why buy a home earlier in life?

If you can swing it, homeownership in your twenties or thirties brings many advantages.

For starters, money spent on rent is lost forever, and you don’t even get a tax break for your trouble. When you buy a home, you’re actually investing in your future, potentially reaping a nice tax break for the mortgage interest you pay (be sure to talk to your tax professional to confirm any benefits to which you may be entitled).

Over time, you’ll build equity you can borrow against if necessary, and the value of your home may increase enough to bring a substantial profit when you sell. Or if you stay in your home long enough, you’ll pay off your mortgage completely and enjoy living free of that monthly payment.

Why wait, then?

Sometimes putting off home purchase can be a good thing, too.

When you’re in your middle years or older, chances are you’ll have a higher, steadier income and a better idea of where you’d like to settle down than when you were first starting out.

You’ll also leave yourself time to build excellent credit, which may qualify you for the best available mortgage rates and terms. Additionally, taking the years to save a large down payment improves loan-to-value ratio, making it easier to find affordable financing.

Not ready? You’re not alone

The Pew Research Center found that young adults are waiting longer on average to move out of their parental homes than they were a generation ago, with over 32% of adults aged 18 to 34 still living with their parents.

The increasing age of first marriage also comes into play. For the first time in more than 130 years, this demographic is less likely to be living independently with a spouse or partner than remaining in their parental home, according to Pew’s analysis.

First-home purchase age also increased slightly. Zillow reports that back in the 1970s, most first-time homebuyers were 29 to 30 years old and often married with a child. Today’s first-time homebuyers average about 32 years of age and are more likely to be single.

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

But if you are ready

First Bank can help you decide if the time is right to buy by providing expert financial guidance and a wide variety of competitive mortgage options including conventional and government loans.

You can also schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable mortgage loan professionals who can help talk you through the process and next steps.

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