If you have the income, time on the job and your credit is solid, right now it's cheaper for you to buy than it is to rent. Right now is one of the best times in America to buy a home and it won't last forever. Why would I write that?
Follow The Money
• Smart investors know an opportunity when they see one. Investors snatched up 64.5 percent more homes in 2011 than in 2010. Investors account for nearly one in every four homes sold.
• The second home market is back with a vengeance. Both investors and individuals looking for vacation homes are coming back into the market. Vacation/second home sales up 7.0 percent in 2011.
The median investment-home price was $100,200 in 2011, up 6.4 percent from $94,000 in 2010, which means you may have already missed rock-bottom in that sector. The median sales prices for vacation properties was $121,300 in 2011, down 19 percent from 2010, which means you may still have a shot at the bottom there.
The Numbers Suggest Now Is An Opportune Time
The National Association Of Realtors reported the median price of all single-family homes dropped 4 percent from $170,600 to $163,500 in the fourth quarter 2011. Housing market forecasts for a recovery remain mixed, but it's about when, not if. It is important to note most housing forecasts are based on lagging information.Another driving force in housing, historically record low interest rates. Don't get behind the curve and wait until buyers flood the market and multiple offers on homes become the norm. Mortgage ratesare near record lows and home prices are within reach of many consumers who want to buy.
Even though the numbers suggest it's an opportune time there are still more things to consider than low mortgage rates and home prices when your plan is to be a successful homeowner.
Steps To Consider
• Get Pre Qualified. If you haven't already, check your credit reportto make sure your credit is mortgage worthy. Don't get taken by sound-alike websites that offer you "free" credit reports that are only "free" after you buy a credit monitoring service. Looking for a mortgage with weak credit could result in a higher than anticipated mortgage cost or no mortgage at all. Work with a seasoned lenderto start the home ownership process. We can refer you to several if needed.
• Know The costs.The cost of home ownership is more than just a mortgage payment. Owning a home comes with the cost of insurance, taxes, utilities and maintenance costs. Be sure to include them all in your budget to determine what is truly affordable.
• Know Mortgage Types.Fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) offer payment certainty, while adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) frequently provide lower initial monthly payments, yet those low rates could rise considerably over time. Work with a trained lender to help get the right mortgage for your situation.
• Work With A Realtor. Get a Realtorwho knows the market. It's easy to go digital and browse for housing. Actually going through the process and closing on a home without professional assistance is something else. Negotiations, inspections, necessary repairs and appraisals are not only time consuming they are also best handled by someone who does them daily verses once every seven years or so. Just ask any person trying to sell their own home!
• Know Buying A Home Is A Process. There may be some pressure to get in the market at today's affordable prices and low interest rates, but if you move too quickly that could be a mistake too. Take the time to obtain professional help, do a home inspection, learn the neighborhood, investigate the school district and buy only what you can truly afford.