If you’ve had a conversation with a Realtor recently, you’ve probably been advised that NOW is the time to buy a home. I am as guilty as the next real estate agent of touting the benefits of buying a home sooner rather than later. Conditions are such that should you buy now, within a couple of years time you’ll likely be very glad you did. Interest rates are not expected to go lower than todays rates, and in fact, are expected to rise considerably; home prices have not yet reached pre-recession levels in many areas, and there appears to be room to gain equity in homes bought today; mortgage insurance premiums have been slashed by the current administration; and there are several loan programs available that offer free downpayment assistance. Additionally, banks seems to be loosening the qualifications for lending in reasonable ways, and many potential homebuyers are in a much better position to purchase than they might think.
All that being said however, I make it my practice to help potential homeowners make good decisions about whether the time is right to purchase a home. I encourage them to sit down with a lender prior to getting heavily involved in the home search process, to find out how ready they are to buy, and what they need to do to prepare. Additionally, I educate my clients through a variety of media about the costs of homeownership, such as HOA fees and upfront closing costs, homeowners insurance, property taxes, maintenance and repairs, and even the costs involved with selling the home when they are ready to move again. Some of those conversations have resulted in a decision to wait and get better prepared to purchase down the road.
For more information about knowing when you’re ready to purchase a home, watch Elizabeth Banks give her two cents on the subject.