My wife and I are thinking of buying a house. We are both in our late thirties and have never owned our home. I don't believe that a house is a good investment, and since we didn't know for sure we were going to be staying in California, we were never in a rush to buy a house. Now that our kids are growing up and our rented place is getting too small for our needs, we are seriously thinking about getting our own place.
Buying a house in our town is out of the question. There is no way we can afford to buy here - at least, there is no way we can afford to buy anything that could be considered decent. We have started to look in towns that are somewhat more affordable, and this weekend we went to several open houses, a few of which seemed very nice and were within our budget.
I think there are a couple of good reasons to buy a house at this point in time. For one, real estate prices have come down substantially - although not in our town. Mortgage rates are reasonable (check out this calculator), the government is offering some great tax incentives for buying and, perhaps most importantly, I think that in the coming years we will face some inflation - meaning that mortgage debt may diminish in real value as the value of money decreases.
Nevertheless, the decision is not clear cut for us. There is one major factor acting against us: employment. My wife is currently not employed, and getting a new position may take many months. In addition, my own company is not the perfect image of stability. I work for a start-up, and while my company is doing well, you never know how things will work out when you depend on outside funding to keep your business going.
We're going to take it nice and slow. We'll look for something we really like that fits our budget, educate ourselves on what it means to buy and own a house, and make sure we have the right advisers to assist us. If the stars align, we may even own a house by the end of the year.
I like the sound of that. :-)
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