No doubt many wannabe first-time homebuyers have been sitting on the sidelines of the volatile housing market, unsure when or how to enter the game. If that describes you, you're probably fortunate to have missed out on the housing bubble and lax lending standards of a few years ago, when millions of people took out mortgages they couldn't afford – or understand.
Homeownership is a long-term commitment filled with expenses (both expected and unexpected) and responsibilities. The upsides – not to mention the tax advantages – are why approximately two-thirds of Americans own instead of renting. But homeownership is not always right for everyone or at every stage of life.