SO EXACTLY WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BUY A HOME?
My short answer...When you are ready! By ready I mean financially ready, willing, & able.
It used to be that home-ownership was a primary goal in people's lives. Now society is so wrapped up in instant gratification that we do not properly prepare for life's true expenses & do not value true accomplishments (a trip to the Caribbean every year should not be considered an accomplishment if you need to charge it!). With all of the negative news on current state of the economy & mortgage "meltdown" blah, blah, blah...I think that we need to be better prepared for what is really important in life (yes, I am including myself in here).
I remember (growing up in a family of 6 children) wearing hand-me-down clothes & eating whatever dinner my mother could afford to prepare because paying the mortgage was the most important thing that my father could do! The roof over our heads came well before the goal of owning an expensive car or going on exotic vacations. By the way, my parents never had a credit card, car payment, or exotic vacation but they kept the roof over our heads & raised some great kids!
Home-ownership may just be the most financially rewarding & self esteem boosting goals that we can have. So why do most of our first time buyers already have car payments & vacation experiences prior to having a substantial down payment? Quite possibly it could be because we are a society based more on instant gratification rather than long-term goals.
So what do we do about it? Getting back to the question "When is the best time to buy a home?", let's start by educating our upcoming first-time buyers well before it is time to buy. Let's prepare our children by not giving them everything they desire the minute they ask (how many times have you bought the PSPs & Ipods only to see them collect dust in 2 weeks?) . Let's start teaching our kids to work for what they want and save money rather than spend. Let's lead by example. Let's take the time to prepare young people so they can be Financially Ready, Willing, & Able to buy a home before they spend their money on expensive cars & exotic vacations.
I know as Realtors we are also driven by Instant Gratification and we want the quick sale to close in 2 weeks but we should also take some of our time & knowledge to help prepare our future Homeowners & future Real Estate Investors so they can be prepared when it is their turn rather than caught off guard when they need to make a move.
My son just bought his first home at 20 years old and I will admit that I did not begin preparing him until just a few months ago but I learned a good lesson while helping him accomplish his goal of owning a home.
Your thoughts & advice are truly welcome.
RE/MAX of Ocean City, NJ
Working with Buyers & Sellers throughout Cape May County.