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Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

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For rent or sale sign

Your lease is coming to an end. What’s next? Have you been curious about buying? When it comes to renting vs. buying, every case is different. We’re here to help clear some things up. Ask yourself questions, evaluate your current situation, and learn if homeownership is the right next step for you.

5 questions to ask yourself if you're considering buying a home:

  1. Do I have a steady, reliable income?
  2. How much total debt do I have (credit cards, car loans, student loans, etc.)? Is it manageable?
  3. Can I afford to pay a mortgage and other home expenses, such as insurance, property taxes, and repairs, in addition to my current monthly expenses? Use our Rent or Buy calculator tool.
  4. Do I have money saved for a down payment and closing costs? See Saving for a Down Payment.
  5. Do I want the responsibilities that go with being a homeowner? Watch What to Know When Buying a Home.

If you answered “yes” to these questions, buying a home might be the right path for you. But the answer isn’t always that simple. Let’s explore the pros and cons of owning a home.

Pros of owning a home

  • A place of your own - There’s no better feeling than painting a wall or making a home improvement, knowing a landlord isn’t going to make you change it at the end of your lease. Maybe you're ready to settle down in your community, make room for a growing family, or just give your pup the backyard it deserves.
  • Investment - You’ve heard this time and time again. When you rent a home or apartment, the money you pay as rent is an expense. On the other hand, owning a home is an investment that usually grows in value. As you make mortgage payments and the value of your property increases, your ownership (equity) increases.
  • Housing costs - While rents typically increase year after year, the principal and interest portion of fixed-rate mortgage payments remain unchanged for the entire repayment period. As your income increases, your payments become more affordable.
  • Tax benefits - Rent is generally not tax-deductible, but mortgage interest (including purchase points) on your primary residence may be. Homeowners usually are eligible for tax advantages not available to renters. Check with your tax advisor.

Potential cons of owning a home

  • Higher costs - You can expect to pay more for housing as a homeowner than a renter. Even if your mortgage payments are less than your rental payments, homeowners must also pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities, and upkeep expenses.
  • Repair and maintenance - When you own a home, the issues a landlord previously took care of are on your shoulders. From minor repairs to mowing and maintaining a lawn, get ready to get your hands dirty. Plus, when it's time to call professionals for major repairs or tune-ups, you're responsible for the bill. 
  • Potential loss - If you fail to make payments, the lender may sell the mortgaged property. This may result in losing your home and damaging your credit rating. That's why it's so important to make sure you're ready to buy a home.

Buying a home can seem intimidating, especially for a first-time home buyer. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to know everything about every aspect. There are experts ready to help, guiding you through every step of the way. We offer a variety of resources, like home-buying coaching, through our partner BALANCE.

If you decide that home buying is on your path to financial success, we can help you reach your goal.

Your homeowner era is here. For a limited time, we're offering first-time home buyers $1,000 towards closing costs. 1

  • 1 Virginia Credit Union is offering a $1,000 discount on closing costs on new mortgage loans for first-time home buyers subject to qualification and credit approval. This promotion is valid on new applications submitted between 10/01/2023 and 02/29/2024. The closing cost reduction will be limited to the lesser of $1,000 or lender closing costs and may not exceed maximum seller contribution limits set by program guidelines. Mortgage loan must close by 05/31/2024. This is not available for USDA or construction loan products. This offer can be used in conjunction with the Welcome Home Discount. It cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount and is subject to compliance with Virginia Credit Union's loan program guidelines. An individual is to be considered a first-time home buyer who (1) is purchasing the security property; (2) will reside in the security property as a principal residence; and (3) had no ownership interest (sole or joint) in a residential property during the three-year period preceding the date of the purchase of the security property. In addition, an individual who is a displaced homemaker or single parent also will be considered a first-time home buyer if he or she had no ownership interest in a principal residence (other than a joint ownership interest with a spouse) during the preceding three-year time period.