Though long considered a step on the path to success and the American Dream, homeownership has taken some hits in both popularity and dreaminess. Headlines tell readers everything from now's the time to buy real estate to why they should stay away from homeownership [sources: Kiviat, Tully]. So how are you supposed to know if buying a home is right for you?
Maybe you should ask yourself if owning a home is your dream or just the idea of the American Dream before you even consider whether you can afford it. Knowing what you want now and for your future is a first step toward understanding the financial -- and lifestyle -- commitment homeownership involves. And whether you forge ahead with excitement, or put the purchase on hold for a few more years, it's never too early to review all of the expenses involved.