The sky is NOT falling, you can STILL buy a home

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Westbank Summit

No, the world is not coming to an end.

So I was pounding away on my treadmill watching Stuart Varney on the Fox Business Channel.  He was staring into the camera with such intensity and talking as though we were all straining to hear every word he was saying.  He must have thought he was Orson Welles narrating the War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938. "You MUST have 20 percent down to get a mortgage.  Mortgage interest rates ARE GOING TO BE 8 percent.  You must have absolutely PERFECT Credit to get a mortgage."

Straining not to grab something and throw it at the television and doing everything I could not to embarrass myself publicly, I quietly began thinking of questions I would ask him if I could meet him face to face, beginning with "What planet are you from?" and "Where do you get your information, comic books?" 

Here is some current information from the planet I live on.

• You don't have to have perfect credit to buy a home.  You do have to show recent good credit and the ability to pay.  Here are some basic FHA guidelines.

• Two Years of steady employment, preferably with same employer.

• Last two years Income should be the same or increasing.

• Credit report should typically have less than two thirty day late in last two years.

• Bankruptcies must be at least two years old, with good credit since.

• Foreclosures must be at least three years old, with good credit since.

• Your new mortgage payment should be approximately 30% of your gross income

•Recent mortgage rates were as low as 5.5 percent on a fixed rate, 30 year mortgage.

• You DON'T have to have 20 percent down to buy a home.  The FHA requirement is 3 percent  through December 31st 2008 and will increase to 3.5 percent on January 1st, 2009.

• There are even some zero down programs available in certain areas

I have mortgage companies calling me every day telling me how much money they have to lend and how good the rates are, they just need someone to lend it to.

It is sad that the media feels the need to paint a picture of doom and gloom for our country.  Yes, there are areas of the country that have been hard hit and YES we are feeling a little bit of that here in Central Texas.  The fact is, it is a great time to buy a home.  Prices are great and the selection is good.  And YES, you can still get a mortgage without giving up your firstborn or some other family member.  This country has been through recessions before and this country will come through this one with flying colors.  We are very fortunate in our area that we are not feeling the extreme effects that other parts of the country are experiencing.  Texas is still adding jobs when other areas of the country are losing them.  New companies are moving here every day providing those jobs.

The bottom line is, if you have been thinking about buying a home but have been holding back because of all the bad news out there, here is some advice;

1. Turn off the television

2. Don't read anything but the business page and comics in the newspaper

3. Go buy a home