The following is going to sound as if I’m trying to “sell” you on the idea of buying a home. I’m not. It’s just that I firmly believe that in almost every instance, if you can buy your home, as opposed to renting it… you should. Why?
FIRST, make no mistake—right now, at this very moment you are already buying a home. The only question is, are you buying it for you and your family or for your landlord.
SECOND, there is no security in renting. In my years in the real estate field, I can’t even begin to tell you how many families I have seen, that were uprooted when the landlord decided to rent to his niece, or decided to cash in his investment. Families had to move, kids had to change schools, make new friends, etc… It’s tough on the family and tough on the kids.
THIRD, Right now, if you are renting, you are buying the home that you live in– for someone else. You are making their payments! Your money is lowering their principle balance—eventually, they’ll owe $0—but you’ll still be making payments! As the property appreciates—as it ALWAYS, eventually does, the landlord has more in assets, has more money, and what do you have? You still have payments– that are increasing every 6 months or so!
Oh, and something else about the payments that you are making for them– They use YOUR money to make THEIR house payments and then they get to deduct the payment they made with your MONEY on THEIR taxes!
FOURTH, We all know this one. Historically, no investment is more secure or so consistently appreciates as does real estate. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when the market goes flat or even loses some value. But these are historically rare and short lived. I’ve been in the real estate field since 1976 and have seen prices dip only twice. Right now, in some areas of the US there is a slow down and in some areas, even a slight down turn of prices. But still over 60% of the US is appreciating!
Obviously, the very best time to buy ANYTHING is when it is at it’s lowest and preparing to rebound—buy low sell high! The problem is that no one ever really knows what constitutes the very best time to buy. But this we do know, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WHO BOUGHT A HOME IN THE LAST 50 YEARS, OR SO, AND KEPT IT FOR AT LEAST 2 OR 3 YEARS, EVER LOST MONEY!
In real estate no one ever loses money by buying at the “wrong” time. They only lose money by buying too late or not at all.
Common Reasons Used To Not Buy
Prices are going down
First, as we’ve already discussed, on those rare occasions that prices DO drop, they rarely drop far, they never drop for long and they ALWAYS go back up. If you believe they are or have dropped a bit, this is the time to buy and get it before they pop back up—which they ALWAYS do. The only way to ever know that a market has hit it’s bottom (the absolute best time to buy), is when you’ve seen a consistent rise in prices—and by then you missed it and are paying more than you otherwise would have. And remember, while you are sitting there waiting for the “bottom” you are still buying a home for someone else and getting no tax breaks, whatsoever, on your hard earned dollars.
No Down Payment
In today’s market this issue is the most easily overcome. The newest loan programs allow for No Down Payment loans in an unbelievable number of cases. Now just to be clear, No Down Payment is not the same as No Money to Close. You would still usually need to have closing costs available, usually about 1% to 3% of the sales price. But that is usually about what would be required for first, last, and deposit on a rental. Furthermore, if you move into your home on, let’s say, August 1, you don’t owe rent in your previous home for that month, PLUS your first houses payment is not usually due for about 45 to 60 days after the close of escrow. Since you don’t have to pay that last month of rent and will probably be getting a deposit back plus the fact that you have no payment due for 45 days or more makes it relatively easy to find the closing costs necessary to become a home owner.
You are saving a big down payment to lower your payment
People have the belief that the higher the down payment, the lower their payments will be. This, of course, is basically true. The problem arises when there is an incomplete understanding of how all the financial numbers actually pan out.
First- realize that for every $1000 down, it saves only about $8 or $9 dollars per month in payment. So, if a person puts an extra $10,000 in down payment they saved about $90 per month. Now there’s nothing wrong with a $90 savings but at what cost?
If you save $10,000 over the course of a year, hypothetically, you can save $90 on your mortgage. The problem lies in the fact that very few people can save money as fast as real estate goes up in value.
Over the last few years nationwide appreciation rates have been anywhere from 8% to 15% and in many areas even much higher. Let’s assume you wanted to buy a $200,000 home in an area with Low Appreciation of only 8%.
In a year you would have an additional $10,000 for a down payment. But at 8% appreciation that $200,000 home is now worth $216,000. You put the $10,000 down but would then owe $206,000 instead of the $200,000 you would have owed if you had bought Now! So you would actually have a monthly payment that is even higher than it would have been if you put ZERO down today, plus over this year you would have had no income tax write off, and you didn’t get the benefit of the appreciation.
On the other hand, if you had bought today, next year you would have had $16,000 in equity, placed no money down, and would have been able to take advantage of a year’s worth of tax advantages.
The bottom line is that buying today and taking advantage of a No Down home loan or personal loans makes more sense than seeing if you can save money faster than real estate appreciates.
Interest Rates Are Too High
Many people are interest rate conscious when what they should be is bottom line dollar conscious. What does this mean?
I’ve seen many people walk away from a transaction that I knew was the very best thing for them, just because they didn’t like the rate. They thought “if I can only pay off a couple of bills, next year this comes off my credit, then my score will be higher and I can get a better rate”. Again, in isolation this makes perfect sense, but in the real world where everything interrelates, it’s much more complicated.
For example. “When this comes off my credit, I can get a better rate”, or “I hear next year the rates will be lower”…
Many people who are rate conscious will fall into the trap of looking to the rate rather than the bottom line. Let’s assume that as buyer they are correct that if they wait they can get a better rate. Realize, on a $200,000 loan, an interest rate reduction of a full 1% will save about $130 per month. Now this is a big savings, but what is the cost?
By waiting a year until they could get that 1% lower rate, they would have saved 12 months of $130 over what they would have paid for a total of $1,560 in payment savings. But for that year, they were still a renter, buying a home for someone else, letting someone else have that year’s tax deduction, paying off someone else’s house—last but not least, remember, all the homes have been appreciating that year.
So, in order to save $1,560 in interest, the following situation has been created…
Now, when they do buy a home, assuming a 8% appreciation rate, the same property is going to be an additional $16,000 dollars. So…
They lost $16,000 in equity…
They are actually paying $16,000 more for the same home
Because the house costs them more, their payment will still be as high as it would have been if they had bought now, with the 1% higher interest rate! So when it is all said and done, they didn’t even lower their payment!– and lost $16,000 in equity.
All to save $1,560!
And remember, if the credit improves or the rates DO go down, refinancing is usually an option!
I’m the first to admit that there are legitimate reasons to Rent, even if you qualify to buy. But for your and your family’s sake, don’t use the above reasons for not buying.