Don't Buy A Home Now

Home Builder with Retired

There are reasons why I say don't buy a home now. Let me give them to you.

You can read on and Trulia and Zillow and numerous other websites the Five, or Eight, or Ten reasons to buy, hints to sell, techniques to get a great deal and so on. There are reasons you should not buy a home now, and I'm not just talking about the Seattle residential real estate market. 

The first question you have to ask yourself, and it is one I ask every new buyer at our first interview, Do you really want to be a homeowner? It seems like that is a rhetorical question. Of course the buyer wants to buy a home. That is why he is in the office. The usual answer is, Well, yeah! And I always appreciate the enthusiasm. Then I ask, And what kind of down payment do you have saved up? And the answer tells me how motivated the buyer has been for long enough to save up whatever he has for the down. 

Three fingersSometimes the answer to the first question is, My folks really want me to.

And sometimes the answer is, All of my friends are.

And even, Not really but I guess I should.

These are three good answers that should be telling you that now is not the time for you to be buying a home.

A while back I was showing homes to a couple who were renting and they wanted to see a home just down the street from where they lived. I showed them that home and we chatted, but not enough. They both had good jobs, but very little to put down. They could only look week nights, because they liked to go skiing every weekend. When at the places we looked at, he was always looking for the spot where the big flat-screen TV would go, which they didn't own yet. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't listening very well. I found them just what they said they wanted and we made an offer that was accepted. At the inspection it turned out that they had changed their minds. There was so much to do and they would have to give up the ski weekends, and the TV and probably a few other activities they loved, once the winter changed into spring. So they didn't buy. They weren't ready to be homeowners quite yet.

So that is a reason not to buy a home now. You have a decent job but you're not ready to give up a few of life's pleasures to save up the down payment.

Here's another good one. You have a job and there is lots of opportunity to move up the ladder quickly, but it would mean a transfer to another city. Look in to the company transfer policy. If they won't fund the move and cover any loss you might have from the sale of your home, it might be better to wait.

house flippingAre you buying a home to flip and make a lot of money like Uncle Harry? Flipping is a job and akin to being an investor. Don't buy into this lifestyle unless you can afford to lose your investment.

It's harder these days to buy a house for very good reasons. Too many people who shouldn't have been homeowners bought when it was easy and now many of them are complaining that they were treated unfairly.

Homeownership isn't for everyone. If you're not ready to make sacrifices and save up for the down payment, don't even go there. If you don't like home maintenance, and can't afford to have every needed repair hired out, perhaps you should be a renter. When you are ready to be a homeowner, give a Realtor® a call. In Seattle call me. My number is right below.


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Glenn Roberts




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  1. Bill Burchard 05/08/2011 03:19 PM
Home Buying
Washington King County Seattle
Posts to Localism
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dont buy a home
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Ronald DiLalla
Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824 - Anaheim, CA
No. Orange Cty Real Estate

It all comes down to the interviewing process.  If their replies are iffy, then it pretty much may be telling you that they may not really committed at this time...I think  we all have gone thru a buyer's remorse at one time or another.

May 04, 2011 07:11 PM #35
Michael Durnell
PRP Inspections - Escondido, CA
Escondido Home Inspector


You make some great points, I just had this discussion with a few of my friends the other night. Although I believe it is the right time to buy a home, most people don't truly understand the responsibility in home ownership. On the other side of the coin, I recently read an article on MSN that stated some wealthy people are waiting until they see a true upward turn before they buy. It may be to late then. We will see.

May 04, 2011 08:00 PM #36
George Bennett
Inactive - Port Orford, OR
Inactive Principal Broker, GRI

Hi Glenn, These are good questions for young buyers and you have given me an idea for a similar list of questions for older sellers who have or are in the process of losing the ability to maintain their homes and yards, or they are now too far from their kids & grandkids, or because medical needs have made it necessary to move closer to medical care providers or even assisted living communites. Thanks for posting.

May 04, 2011 09:52 PM #37
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
Glen, hit the report concern message on this post to get rid of the spam comments.
May 05, 2011 12:46 AM #38
Jeremy Joslin
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - South Windsor, CT
Professional Real Estate Marketing and Sales

Good Post.  I also wasn't sue where you were going with the title, but you are right and homeownership is not for everyone.  People who don't like maintenance can always opt to purchase a condo. 

May 05, 2011 01:50 AM #39
Howard and Susan Meyers
The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore - Winnetka, IL

Interesting perspective Glenn.  Yes, home ownership isn't for everyone.  Many young buyers jumped on the bandwagon because they didn't want to get passed by for when they were ready.  We suspect that the huge rise in renters is partially a result of people's recognition that there are other alternatives. 

May 05, 2011 02:08 AM #40
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

Its so true that some people are just not ready to be homeowners yet. Being a homeowner entails an extra set of responsibilities that renting does not require. SO if you are not ready to take that plunge you feel like you are running out of air the further into the contract it goes, and thats when you end up with a cancelled contract. Better to dig into the situation a little more in the first place to feel out these people out. 

May 05, 2011 02:25 AM #41
Gina Chirico
Lattimer Realty - Fairfield, NJ
Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey

Glenn, what an interesting post and instead of holding up your sign that says BUY NOW!  ITS A GREAT TIME TO BUY! ETC. ETC. ETC.  You shed some light by telling the truth to homebuyers and that says a whole lot about you as an agent.  Very well written and respected post with not just garble about buying a home but the honest truth.

May 05, 2011 02:52 AM #42
Kelly Wuthrich
Silvercreek Realty-Eagle, Meridian, Boise, Kuna, Star~IDAHO - Eagle, ID
Eagle & Meridian ID Real Estate

Great post Glenn.  A very responsible look at home buying.  So many people buy for the wrong reason.  It's definitely a good idea to really feel out your buyers before investing hours of time into them and then find out they are not yet ready to buy.  I've been there...  Good reminder to ask the tough questions.

May 05, 2011 02:52 AM #43
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Glenn, your are absolutely right! Buying a home is a commitment and should be thoroughly thought out before making a purchase.

May 05, 2011 02:58 AM #44
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


Longer term it usually makes more sense to own than rent, however, rental has its advantages.

In Canada, a principal residence is exempt from capital gains tax, so that encourages home ownership here.


May 05, 2011 04:08 AM #45
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

It is true, that not everyone should own a home, You do have to work towards it... and even if you want one, if you think you will sell it in a few short years, you are probably better off renting. RE is a great longterm investment, but the short run has to many "IFs"

May 05, 2011 04:16 AM #46
Morris Massre
Pembroke Pines, FL
Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida

I think you are right Glenn.  Most people really don't know about everything that comes with home ownership.  It's kind of like the guy who wants a puppy cause it's cute and all and then reality sets in when you have to walk him several times a day.

May 05, 2011 04:53 AM #47
Torgie Madison
Quicksilver Real Estate Solutions, LLC - Portland, OR
Websites and Contact Management

I think I have read 10 posts in the last couple of weeks listing reasons to buy a home, so your article caught me by surprise! Really thoughtful post though, buying a home is a huge commitment that not everyone is ready for.

May 05, 2011 05:50 AM #48
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Glenn, so many people buy into the notion that they have to buy a home without considering the and maintenance...not a step to go blindly into...homeownership is definitely not for everyone.

May 06, 2011 11:26 AM #49
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Prado Real Estate South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Great post and well thought out Glenn! My nephew is in his early 20s and is just buying his 1st home, he is definitely ready to make the commitment, his dad is the one who wasn't ready for him to make that step!

May 06, 2011 03:48 PM #50
Sondra Meyer:
Star View Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
See It. Experience It. Live It.

Hi Glen, I hope you are enjoying your vacation.  You've made numerous excellent points here.  I also like your comment #17...."Buyers are not liars. It just takes them a while to realize what they really want and what they can handle."  I think that is part of our job...helping them understand what they want. 

May 08, 2011 08:07 AM #51
Tim Peterson
Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes - Madison, WI
Realtor Safety Training Classes

Hi Glenn-you are right a lot of people are doing it for the wrong reason but there are still some incredible values out there

May 18, 2011 12:47 PM #52
Glenn Roberts
Retired - Seattle, WA

Tim - That's the Costco/Walmart mentality. Because it's a good deal you should buy it. A home is too important. But I agree...there are good deals out there.

May 18, 2011 01:00 PM #53
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

What a great post! You are right it isn't your family, your friends or the media that is going to be paying for that home and the upkeep it is you and unless you really want it, then don't buy it or you are just buying into hype not a home.

Jun 02, 2011 06:46 PM #54
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