Before taking the plunge—into home ownership, that is—make sure now really is the right time to buy.

5. Be Prepared for Upkeep

The costs don't end after you sign your name on the dotted line. A home is a lifetime investment that requires TLC, from landscaping to decorating and everything in between.

You should be up for the overall maintenance of your home, in terms of time, labor, and expenses. Depending on the age of your home, you'll want to set aside 1 to 2 percent of its value per year for upkeep, as well as emergency repairs—more during the early years, if you plan on making any upgrades.

Photo: Getty Images

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