Folks in the community will often ask me about the 8,000 buyer credit. Do you think this helped the economy? Sure I say, in the short term. Who wouldn't want 8,000 free dollars to put toward an 80,000 dollar starter home? Kind of hard to screw up ANY financial transaction with an 8,000 buck head start! Here are some reasons I hope we have seen the last of such devices.
1) We are going to apply this credit to our loan-- Just about every buyer this year has make this comment. As soon as the check comes in it is going to the bank! Like any good agent, I keep in contact after the sale. So far only ONE couple has sent ANY of the money to pay off principle. Most bought trucks, took vacations, etc...
2)The Credit inflated prices-- Think sellers were not aware of the 8k credit? Does not take a rocket scientist to realize there is an 8k dollar carrot for the buyers. How would this impact negotiations over 3-5 thousand dollars??
3) Debt, debt, and more debt-- Our nation has to borrow money to pay the bills. So when Uncle Sam cuts this 8k check, he essentially does this by taking a cash advance from a credit card. Ever paid your household bills in this manner?? Sure hope our GRANDCHILDREN like high taxes and reduced govt. services!
4) The Mindset such programs creative--To me this is the MOST DESTRUCTIVE IMPACT of all. As a kid if I wanted something I had to work for it. There was no such thing as an advance on allowance. Programs such as this encourage people to depend on others for their needs. Responsibility takes a backseat to personal comfort. "I owe more than my home is worth. Time to bail, let the government pay the difference". A very different mindset for a country built on hard work!
So here's my new incentive plan. Upon request, any family in America will be sent a copy of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. In a nutshell, Dave teaches folks to live within their means, stay the HECK AWAY FROM DEBT, and give back to the community.
This is a paradigm shift. Before pushing young people into home ownership, we invest several years in their "financial education". My guess is this would solve many of the long term struggles our industry faces. Thoughts???