>> What are your personal reasons?
Do you need more room for a growing family, or want to move closer to work or schools? Make a list and think it through; it's a good way to balance out the financial factors in your decision.
>> How long do you plan to own this home?
You may be better off renting if you expect to move or get transferred within two years. Find short-term or long-term rentals in your area. Online rental guide can help you find rentals in your area. Calculate if you should rent or buy?
>> Do you have enough cash for a down payment, closing and moving costs?
For a $100,000 home with a 20 percent down payment, you may need less than $25,000. Calculate how much you can afford.
>> Can you afford to carry a monthly mortgage and still pay your bills?
A mortgage should take no more than one third of your net income. Budget to buy and determine how much your payments will be. If you're carrying extra debt, take steps to reduce it.
>> Do you need the tax break?
Many homeowners rely on tax deductions as a budget necessity--and one way to accumulate savings. The Tax Help for Homeowners guide fully explains home ownership and your taxes.
Whatever you decide, keep yourself informed and pay attention to your feelings. If area real estate is moving fast and you feel pressured to buy, this may not be the time. If you want to sell your current home and buy another, consider whether you can manage a dual sale/purchase. If you find a neighborhood you like but aren't ready to commit, consider renting there for six months to learn more about it.