Homeownership: It’s YOUR Decision

 I just read Meg Handley’s recent article in U.S. News and World Report and was appreciative of her home buying tips and fair look at who should/should not buy a home today.   While I liked the article, I loved the headline, “Uncertainty remains in the market, but experts say purchasing a home is still a […]

 I just read Meg Handley’s recent article in U.S. News and World Report and was appreciative of her home buying tips and fair look at who should/should not buy a home today.   While I liked the article, I loved the headline, “Uncertainty remains in the market, but experts say purchasing a home is still a good long-term investment.”

That about sums it up. 

For those with the financial wherewithal and lifestyle need, today is the best time in my more than 35 years in real estate to buy a home (I’ll get into the reasons in a moment).  But because of the nation’s high unemployment and the recession’s lingering impact, “confusing” is an adjective that fairly describes the housing market.

Just look at this recent coverage of housing:

Fortune Magazine – “Real Estate – It’s Time To Buy Again”
vs.
MSN Money    – “Homeownership No Longer The American Dream”

Wall Street Journal – 10 Reasons To Buy a Home
vs.
Time Magazine – The Case Against Homeownership

No wonder consumers are wondering what to do.  And no wonder consumers, in a Coldwell Banker survey, stated they are “nervous,” “anxious,” “confused,” “unsure” and also a bit “excited” about today’s home buying process.

So who should you believe?  Those for or against homeownership? 

I think the best answer is to believe yourself.  Each individual and family situation is different and the variables are great when considering home ownership, moving up, and/or downsizing.  And it is OK to ask whether renting is a suitable alternative. 

For many, it might be.  Those with projected short-term (less than 2-3 years) stays in a town, unclear job or relationship status or someone who likes the idea of a transient lifestyle should certainly consider renting.  And for those who do not yet have the financial means, steady income or have other fiscal restraints, renting is fine.

But for the majority of us homeownership has been part of the American Dream.  It’s in our DNA.  Yet as we exit the recession, I also believe the homeownership levels in our great country may decrease into the mid-60 % range from the near 70 % we have recently seen.  That’s OK.

I have moved a lot throughout my career, bought and sold a lot of homes and invested in real estate for the long term.  Clearly, I believe in the merits of homeownership for so many financial, lifestyle and social reasons.

And because of “Triple I-P”, homeownership opportunities are great today:

I – Inventory (plenty of homes to choose from)
I – Interest rates (mortgage rates remain at historical lows)
I – Incentives (these are the tax advantages homeownership brings)
P – Prices (down from mid-decade highs yet are showing signs of stability)

So while I think I have great experience and a great perspective – and there are people with great credentials on the other side – it’s your decision!   Remember, no real estate CEO (me), economist, professor, lifelong renter or anyone else with an opinion should decide for you.

Do your homework.   Speak with a local real estate agent and ask them to explain what’s occurring in the housing market in your town or where you want to live.  Then carefully examine your financial and employment situation, lifestyle needs/wants and long term goals.  And use the tools on coldwellbanker.com like the mortgage calculator, rent vs. buy calculator and affordability calculator to help.

We believe that a trusted Coldwell Banker agent and your use of the right tools will allow you to make a smart decision.

I hope this helps you make that decision – a decision that meets your needs.   Good luck!

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