Buy the House You Love, Not Love the House You Buy
Are rising home prices and mortgage interest rates making you antsy? Are you afraid that you won’t be able to buy that dream home here in Southeastern Massachusetts you thought possible just a few months ago? Do you feel like you have to go out and buy a home ─ any home ─ right now before it’s too late?
Ever hear that song by Stephen Stills, where he sings in his refrain “if you can’t live with the one you love, love the one your with?” That doesn’t work with houses. You’d much rather love the house you’re going to live in as oppose to trying to love a house you hate.
First of all, it’s never too late to buy a home. Secondly, buying a home is likely the most expensive financial transaction you’ll ever make. You’re the one who’s going to be living there, so you’ll want to be sure that you’re going to be satisfied with what you’re buying.
Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned veteran looking for another investment property, or are looking to trade up to a bigger home, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind:
- Yes, home prices are rising. But mostly it’s because of a shortage of homes on the market and a pent-up demand for people wanting to buy a home. Recently, however, we’ve seen more and more homes come on the market. But also remember that for the most part, prices of homes today are back down to 2000 - 2002 levels. In addition, rising mortgage rates and an increase in the supply of homes on the market should help dampen the seemingly rapid increase in home prices.
- Yes, mortgage interest rates are rising. However, with the exception of 2011 - 2013, mortgage rates are still lower that what they have been in all of the last 60 years ─ even during the housing bubble of the early 2000s! And, assuming that you’ve had no pay raises in the last 5 years, you still can afford to buy more home today that even just a few years ago.
Just because mortgage rates and home prices are rising doesn’t mean that you should run out and buy a home that doesn’t meet your needs. You're probably risking your entire net worth when purchasing a home, not to mention your sanity. So take the time to make sure that what you’re buying really is adequate for your needs. Otherwise, you’ll soon regret the decision you made. And you can’t fall in love with something you don’t like.
As you’re out shopping for homes, realize that no property is perfect, and not every home will have everything you want. So you’ll want to prioritize your wants and needs in a home, to focus more on the higher priority needs than the wants, and be realistic.
Also, don’t focus just on move-in ready homes. There are rehabilitation loans available where you can include most of the cost of home repairs, improvements, and upgrades right into the mortgage. So be sure to include foreclosures, fixer-uppers and short sales in your home search. Who knows, with a little imagination, you may be able to see that ‘diamond in the ruff’ can really be the one you love ─ after repairs, of course.
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East Bridgewater, MA 02333
Lew Corcoran, ASP®, IAHSP, IAHSP-CB