I am hopefully going to make this life changing purchase in the near future and I work in the software industry. Am I being naive to get some clarity on the financial status of the company I work for and the current status of my employment at the company before undertaking this process?

Basically, should I ask my boss, "Hey, your not planning on downsizing in the near future, are you?"

I have no reason to believe that I am not of value to the company and the company is stable and growing.

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    what do you expect to achieve? If he says yes, will you cancel buying the house? – Kilisi Jan 30 '19 at 21:55
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    If he says no, that doesn't mean there aren't layoffs in the future. It just means either he doesn't know or can't tell you yet. – thursdaysgeek Jan 30 '19 at 22:01
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    Some institutions sell a loss of employment credit insurance. It's super pricey, but if your job changes often, it's worth it. – Trevor Jan 30 '19 at 22:03

Is it common practice to discuss your employment status with your boss prior to starting the process of buying a house?

I've never been asked that question. I've never asked that question. And I've never heard of that question being asked by a prospective house buyer. So in my experience, it is not at all common practice.

Basically, should I ask my boss, "Hey, your not planning on downsizing in the near future, are you?"

In some public companies, your boss could not disclose that information if a downsizing event were upcoming. And even in private companies, few employers would want to provide any sort of solid assurance, as it could potentially be held against them should circumstances change.

Basically, you need to trust your instinct on what you see happening at the company, your knowledge about its stability and past experience. Since you say that the company is "is stable and growing" it seems as if you already have your answer.

Remember that "in the near future" is short term, while a mortgage is generally long term. You need to be financially prepared no matter what happens.

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It needs a lot of care and trust. By signalling that you'll have a mortgage to pay (or otherwise be in a financially demanding situation), it means that you'll be far less likely to resign. Therefore, they might draw the conclusion that you can take much more pressure than before. The only way you can do it is if you really trust your superiors and you are very sure about their honesty - and it would still need care.

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    I can confirm this, I've been part of the meetings where it has literally been discussed that a person has had a child or bought a house and is unlikely to quit, so more pressure can be put on them. Even to the point of lowering yearly raises. – Trevor Jan 30 '19 at 22:15
  • @TrevorD: Well that's nothing if not short-sighted. In a healthy market, you can just change jobs if you catch a sniff of foul play from your employer. – Juha Untinen Jan 31 '19 at 8:29
  • Exactly, it's a horrible negotiating position. – Fattie Jan 31 '19 at 12:10
  • @JuhaUntinen And yet they still do it. But some employers are very unkind to their employees. I try to remember a business only looks out for itself, not it's employees. – Trevor Jan 31 '19 at 13:38

Basically, should I ask my boss, "Hey, your not planning on downsizing in the near future, are you?"

That question? No.

Is it okay to say this to my boss?

"I'm about to start the process of buying a house.
It seems like a good time because I like it here, the company is stable/growing, and I think I'm providing real value.

I'm really nervous about this life changing purchase, so if I'm off base on any of these assumptions please let me know."

It is okay to say that.

If it is a publicly traded company they likely won't tell you... even if they knew you'd be laid off, because it would be their bottom out on the street if they did.

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No job is safe. If your manager says it’s safe, he may have been told not to tell anyone about forthcoming layoffs. He may not know (I had one manager who was told one hour before me, and one manager who was told at the exact same time).

What you have to make sure of is that you have enough knowledge and practice so you can be confident to find a new job quickly if you need to.

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What are you hoping to gain from the boss's answer? Do you want reassurance? What will you do if the answer is, let's say,.. non-committal?

If you are employable elsewhere I'd take the facts as I experience them (without asking further) and present it as such to the mortgage company. For example -- I've worked for XYZCorp for 2 years (or whatever) and have no knowledge of any upcoming change to that situation.

I was in the same (similar) situation myself in the past, lost out for 8 years due to second guessing myself. (financial loss of ~$50k)

Btw, if it's a company of more than about 5 people then your immediate boss likely won't know any more than you.

Get hold of any publicly available financial reports, tax documents, etc (if published)

Take a critical view and then (imo) go for it unless you see any obvious red flags.

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Just want to make a small point that your boss might not be at liberty to discuss this subject with you even if the decision you dread has been in fact already made.

Premature disclosure of such information may cost him his job.

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