10 Financial Factors to Consider When Buying a Home

Going Somewhere?

Moving into a new home across town involves some costs, but it might be a joy to pay them if you have the keys to your new home in hand. Some can even envision a move as their last, or at least the last they'll make in a long time. Going somewhere you love, whether to a new city across the country or a new condo a few miles away, might cost several hundred to several thousand dollars, but this is cash that usually hurts less because you planned for it. But what about the costs of when you have to move from a property you own and can't sell?

In the not too distant past, Americans bought homes with the idea that they would start families, pay off the mortgage and live there rent-free after retirement. More recently, buyers have lived in homes for the short-term, with a five- to 10-year plan for selling and moving up or out to another region.

Today, though, it's common for people in the United States to move about 12 times in a lifetime, with around nine of those moves occurring after age 18 [source: U.S. Census Bureau]. Whether relocating for a new work opportunity or to be nearer to family, when a moving checklist includes selling a home, it's not as easy as it used to be. And when you're unable to sell -- and make the payments -- the story becomes even grimmer. Short-sales, foreclosures and deed-in-lieu (turning the house back over to the bank) can cause long-term credit damage..

For every statistic and glimpse into buying, owning and selling a home, so many factors depend on the individual and as many -- or more -- depend on chance and unpredictability. Getting the numbers together is as much a science as it's ever been, and checks and balances along the way will confirm whether you've considered all of the financial factors and whether having a place of your own is worth every single penny: saved, earned or lost.

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