The value of home ownership has been seriously questioned recently due to so many people losing their homes. From about 2003 to 2007, we experienced a real estate orgy! Everyone qualified for loans of any size, every home appreciated, and everybody took their tax free gain and gleefully moved on to the next house. If you needed more money, you simply called your local lender and increased the limit on your HELOC loan.
While I feel sorry for those who lost their homes, I believe that the biggest problem was that they didn’t take it seriously enough when they bought. Home ownership was considered a short term strategy, and there was little thought given to the long term benefits, commitments, or risks!
How is buying a home like getting married?
It’s not for everybody! There are alternatives – you can date, go steady, live together, and even have children without getting married. You can live in a rental house, apartment, or with your parents or friends and not ever buy your own home.
It takes a lot of research to find the right one. Maybe the right mate is not available when you are looking for him or her, or not located where you happen to be looking. It can take time and effort to connect. When you want to buy a home, the one for you may not yet have been built, or someone else may already own what you want so you may have to wait and hope it becomes available when the current owner is ready to move.
The basics need to be right. There are some things that you just can’t change about a spouse no matter how hard you try, or how long you wait. Basic values such as religion, attitudes about relationships with friends and family, whether or not to have children can be deal breakers. Throwing money at the problem won’t solve it if the core values aren’t compatible. With a house, while you can customize, decorate or add on, you can’t move it across the street, into another school district, away from the road noise, or add a panoramic view. There are some things that just can’t be changed! (This is the basis for the famous saying “location, location, location”)
You need to think about and plan for the longer term. Things change over time – some things are predictable, others are surprises. When buying a house, look ahead to the next phase of your life and try to anticipate your space and layout needs. If you are planning to have 5 children in the next 3 years, don’t buy a 2 bedroom house! If you are getting older and your back or knees are hurting, buy a single story house.
Emotions can cloud your better judgment. Being “in love” with a person or a home can keep you from recognizing some of the imperfections. Try to be realistic about your expectations.
If you choose the wrong spouse, or house, you may be miserable. After the novelty wears off, you need to live your life every day. If there are issues with your spouse or your house that you just can’t stand, you will not be happy!
It’s expensive to get in. The cost of a wedding can range from minimal to “sky high” and the cost of buying a house will include many one-time charges beyond the down payment.
It’s expensive to get out of it. Just ask one of your divorced friends how much that costs! When you sell your house, there will be selling expenses including title insurance, escrow fees, transfer taxes, and sales commissions.
The “free love” movement of the 1960′s didn’t bring an end to marriage. The free mortgages and rapid appreciation of the early 2000s followed by the foreclosures of today do not signal the end of home ownership. You just have to remember the basic reasons to go forward with either – that is to make your life more enjoyable in a home, or with a person you want to be with in the long run!
I like to work with serious buyers who are seeking a nice home & neighborhood where they will enjoy their lifestyle. If you are looking for an agent to help guide you through the many questions and considerations about this important decision, please call me and we can work together!
Call me for real estate help or advice!