Should I Buy a House Now Or Wait?

As 2009 enters its fourth quarter, many people are asking “Should I buy a house now or wait?”  The National Association of Realtors is running advertising right now asking the question, “Why are you sitting on the fence?” For the cynical out there, you may think that this is a shameless way for the Real Estate industry to drum up business. After a few lean years real estate agents are hungry for a sale, you may think. But still you ask, should I buy a house now or wait? 

Well, while it may be true that some agents have dropped a few pounds and have had to tighten their belts just like everyone else, the good agents are keenly aware of the great deals that are out there. They are the ones to turn to help you determine should you buy house now. They are on the phone, sending emails, and educating their clients about what is happening in the industry and in the real estate market.  

There are fantastic deals available, and the smart money is investing in these deals as a way to expand their wealth base and take advantage of the opportunities right now, while others are still sitting on the fence. So when you think about should I buy a house now or wait, think about what adding a well-priced home to your financial portfolio will mean to the future wealth of your family.  

Is this the bottom of the real estate market? Many want an assurance of this before they decide should I buy a house now or wait. Well, nobody knows for certain, and pundits on both sides of the issue make a strong case for whether or not we have seen the bottom. While it’s interesting to hear what “they” have to say, at the end of the day it is your family’s financial well being and quality of life that should determine should you buy house now. Most often, the bottoms are not recognized until we are well on our way back up and many opportunities are missed.  

Affordability: Across the nation for various reasons, prices have declined. The counties that experienced the greatest increases in prices are now experiencing drops in prices which are starting to look like great buying opportunities. So ask yourself, “Should I buy a house now or wait until things are less affordable?”  

Low Interest Rates: True, lending standards have tightened up; however, there are still loans to be made. Buyers are taking advantage of conforming and FHA loans where rates can still be found in the 5% interest range. With FHA financing available in the Orange County area, the increased loan limit of $729,750 is looking especially attractive. Even borrowers with a credit score as low as 580 can consider a home purchase in today’s market. It is best to talk to your lender or mortgage broker to get the most recent information on the loans available to you. So ask yourself, “Should I buy a house now or wait until interest rates increase?”  

Government Incentives: Don’t miss out on this one. Many homeowners have claimed that it is the $8000 tax credit offered for 2009 that prompted them to take the step into home ownership. This tax credit expires December 1, 2009 so don’t wait if you want to qualify for this benefit. So ask yourself, “Should I buy a house now or wait until the tax credit expires?”  

Mortgage Protection Programs: For those that may be concerned with the viability of their employment, there could be a program to assist with your mortgage payment if you become unemployed. The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) offers the Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Program [http://www.lagunabeachrealestatemarketblog.com/2009/10/02/should-you-buy-a-house-now-or-wait] for first time home buyers who lose their jobs due to layoffs. There has also been mention of some lenders that are offering similar programs so be sure to ask your loan specialist about this option. Also, another insurance program that has always been available is through disability insurance which applies if you become disabled. Be sure to check out all your insurance and “safety net” options so that you can weather out the storm of any unforeseen event. So ask yourself, “Should I buy a house now or wait until my job situation changes?”  

Choosing to live the life you want in an area you choose: Do you love your neighborhood, your school district, your commute, your view, your community, the size and “feel” of your house? If you cannot answer with a strong “Yes!” to any of these questions, then now may be the perfect time to step up and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. For the coastal communities of Orange County and Laguna Beach, that means waking up to the smell of the ocean and cool ocean breezes; a year-long temperate climate; great restaurants, entertainment and schools; a short drive or walk to the beach to surf or sun. It’s a lifestyle choice…is it yours? Ask yourself, “Should I buy a house now or wait until I’m ready for the retirement home?”