When most of us buy a house we are thinking about the here and now. Which makes sense; we're buying a house for our needs right now, not potential future needs, but, they are something to consider when buying a house now. Before jumping into a real estate transaction on a home that may or may not work for you, here are some things to consider about buying a house for both now and later.
#1. Plan on staying in the house at least five years.
If you're only planning on staying in a house for 2 to 3 years, buying may not be the best option for you right now. You'll have to turn around and resell unless you're planning on keeping it as an investment property, and the costs involved in reselling after just a couple of years, may not make a lot of financial sense. If you're planning on staying in one place for at least five years, buying will be the better choice. Of course, no one can predict the future, but if you know you're going to move in a short amount of time, you might consider renting until you find a house that you can stay in for a while.
#2. Will your family status change over the next 5 to 10 years?
This could mean a variety of different things from adding on to your family and having children or adopting, taking on an aging parent, hosting exchange students, or if you're planning on getting married in the next few years. All of these things should be considered and at least attempt to predict where you'll be in the next few years. This can help you plan better for today Will kids be moving out and going to college? Will you be an empty-nester?
#3. Consider home maintenance.
If you're entering retirement years, you may not want to house with a lot of maintenance. A condominium or townhouse might suit you better, where it someone else's job to maintain the landscaping, siding, and roof of the house. Are you planning on starting a garden in the next few years? Finding a home now with a little bit of land or at least a larger backyard might be on the priority list. Will there be any future surgeries that you know of that will limit your capability to maintain the home? Again, we can't predict what will happen in the future, but sometimes we may have an idea of what's coming up down the line.
#4. Ongoing home maintenance.
Are you looking for an older home that will need things repaired or replaced within the next 5 to 10 years? This is something to consider as well. If you buy a newer home, you won't have to repair or replace major items such as the roof, furnace, HVAC systems, water heaters, and other expensive items in a home. The older the home, the more likely you'll have to repair or replace these things as time goes on unless they been recently replaced before the property was listed.
We may not want to or even are capable of considering 10 years down the line when buying a house today, but it doesn't hurt to consider some of these possibilities. Will the house be adequate for your needs and your family in 5 to 10, or even 15 years? Putting a little bit of thought into it now will help you make a better decision for your future.