The New Home-Buying Rules

6. Don't Be Afraid to Wait a While

If you're not quite ready to buy, sit tight. "Home prices have stabilized, but there's no race for them to go higher," says Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors. "You still should be able to get a decent price in two or three years." This checklist will help you decide whether to take the plunge or put buying on the back burner.

Buy if...

  • You found the house you want.
  • You can comfortably afford it.
  • You believe the price is right.
  • You feel secure about your income.

Wait if...

  • You're worried about job security (yours or your partner's).
  • There's a good chance you'll move again within three years.
  • Home prices are falling in your desired area (try visiting trulia.com or zillow.com to get a read on trends).
  • You're pregnant. Having a baby is tiring and stressful. So is moving. Doing both within a six-month period can take all the fun out of getting that new set of house keys. Channel your nesting instincts into preparing a nursery in your current place, and wait until your baby is sleeping through the night before you commence house-hunting.

Originally published in the August 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

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