By Ryan B. Peterson, Osakis Economic Development Authority board member

Congratulations, you’re in the hunt for a home! Whether you’re looking at buying your first home, second home or building a new home, you should always start with asking yourself this question; “Should I press forward on this property, just because I Could?”

A home purchase is oftentimes one of, if not the, largest purchase a person will make in their lifetime, so it’s prudent to make sure you know exactly what to expect out of buying a home, especially in the current market of (more often than not) rushing through the offer process. But, if you’ve done your homework, you can go through that offer process with confidence. Going through a “Could vs. Should” scenario will benefit you and your family greatly. This is applicable if you’re a single person buying a home or a family looking to get into a larger home. It’s important to make sure you’re not sacrificing other financial goals just to get a set of house keys.

Most home loans are written over a 30-year stretch. If you look at where you’re currently at in life, it’ll likely look a lot different in 30 years (even 10 years from now). Maybe you’ll be retired in that time – you’ll want to make sure you can cover your retirement goals while still pressing forward on a home purchase. Maybe you’ll be growing your family – it’s important to still be able to save for your family goals, whether that’s contributing to a 529 plan, establishing a retirement plan, saving up for a boat or saving up money for an annual family vacation. Granted, the average time for a homeowner to be in their home is 13 years, but if you think about where you were 13 years ago, I’m sure it’s quite a bit different than where you’re at now.

It’s necessary to know what these goals are for yourself and your family, so you can relay those details to your lender. If you don’t do that, you may just get a preapproval letter for quite a lot more money than you anticipated. Just don’t let that number get to your head, because even though you Could afford it, it doesn’t mean you Should buy it. You need to remember those future financial goals, too. You’ve already got a boss at work, why have your house be another one when you’re home?

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Ultimately, it’s your decision on what is affordable to you or not, but just keep in mind that going down the what you Could buy road is one that might lead to not being able to cover inevitable home ownership expenses (appliances breaking, garage door openers not working, leaky pipes). I just ask that all of you reading this that are looking to buy a home make sure you are aware of the cost of the home, as well as the financial goals you’re setting for you and your family.

Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.