Are You Afraid to Buy a House?



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Are you afraid to buy a house?

I was watching Fox news the other day at a family members house (we don’t watch the news) and the news reported that housing was down 37% because people are afraid.  I just had to laugh. Afraid of what? People aren’t buying houses because they are afraid?

Then, after we took our house off the market, I had a realtor call us. He asked, “Why do you think your house didn’t sell?” I said, “Because people are afraid, which is really dumb because right now is a great time to buy, with interest rates in the 4% range.”  He said, “Wow, I wish I had you on the street corner shouting that out to everyone.” 

After that, I called mom and told her it is just so dumb that people are afraid to buy houses right now. After all, you still need a place to live!  

As we got to talking, we realized that the problem, once again, is that people are just listening to the news and going along with what “they” say instead of actually thinking about what is best for them.



 

If you are afraid to buy a house right now, here are a few tips to help you:

  1. Don’t buy more than you can afford. This goes without saying, but if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it! Period! This is what caused the housing mess we have right now. People bought more than they could afford.
  • You still have to have a place to live. Renting may be costing more than buying right now. Figure out how much it will cost to buy and see if it might not be cheaper to buy than rent. You can go to any bank and they can run the numbers for you.
  • Are you are afraid of house repairs? If so, have $1,000- $2,000 in savings before you buy so that if something does go wrong you will have the money to pay for it.
  • Are you afraid of losing your job? Is there a serious threat, like your company has actually said they are going to lay people off or is it just because the news is saying jobs aren’t out there? If it’s the latter then see points 1 and 2.

Really, right now is a wonderful time to buy so if you are thinking about it sit down, crunch the numbers and find out if those low interest rates could actually help you!

      -Tawra



 

Photo by: robertlz

(BTW, I LOVE old things especially old houses and this is one of the coolest pictures I’ve seen of one!!)

Comments

  1. Bea says

    I think part of the reason people are afraid to buy a house is because they think they won’t be able to sell it and make a profit, because housing prices may never go back up to the ridiculous prices they were. People bought houses and used them as gold mines to get home equity loans to finance things, instead of saving up, and they also used loans to pay off their credit cards, which they shouldn’t have run up to begin with. I think people these days are feeling that when they buy a house it’s only going to be a shelter and not a way to get a lifestyle they shouldn’t have anyway.

  2. says

    13 years ago we bought our first house.
    the town was not growing anymore so house prices had dropped and we got our 3 bedroom 2 garage house and property for $20,000. We paid it off in 2 years and have lived rent free since then.
    We were told by the bank manager to not put a lot of money into fixing it up. The town was never going to be growing again so we keep it up and fix it the way we want to be comfortable.
    People have told us we should do this and that but we say no. They say that we will never sell it and make a profit.
    The towns main employer left so 3/4 of the town is unemployed the mines are here for another 4 years unless they find another gold strike. So we will be moving then more than likely.
    If we don’t sell the house we can walk away from it with no loss. But if there is a boom time again people will buy what ever is available. Or we can come back and retire into the house.
    It has been a win win situation for us.
    But don’t just buy a house that you think will make you money. Stick to what you can afford and live with. Make it a home not just a house.

  3. Elaine says

    We just bought a larger house (a foreclosure) in a great location since our family is unexpectedly expanding this fall. However, we want/need to sell our old house but the housing market in this area is so bad we know we’ll never get our money out of it (we just bought it in 2008). So we’re hoping to rent it out until the market improves enough that we can sell it and get our 20% down payment back after Realtor fees, etc. I guess we’re the opposite–we’re not afraid to buy, but we’re afraid to try to sell a house! :-)

  4. rose says

    grandma.. thats awesome you bought a house for $20K… if i bought a house for that cheap price, i would make it as comfortable as possible too… and not worry if i sell it at a profit… if i walked away from it and didnt make a profit, i would actually have made a profit bc all those yrs of not really paying any rent/mortgage like i do now, that would be my profit…
    that is why i keep telling my hubby that i would buy a cheap mobile home and if i ever sold it for like $100, did i lose money? no bc i look at it this way, they depreciate like a car and well, i lived basically for free (the lot rent in some places are really cheap) and well, the money i would save by living there, that would be my profit… he always looks at me like i have 2 heads… and then he asks “what about hurricane season?”.. i tell him well, i would have $2000 saved just for that hidden in a safe (one of those little safes you can buy at walmart) and if there was a hurricane coming, i would just go to a shelter … and if i had a home near my relatives, i am sure someone would take us in.. and then he asks “what about the pets”? … and i tell him “well, by the time we moved into one of those places, the dogs would be so old and sickly they would be put down and the cats, well, they are soooo old too and the by this time only one would be left or both of those would be gone… and by then no more pets… ”
    with that said, he just rolls his eyes and says he hopefully soon the houses will go down so low we can buy one and live off of is ss and have a garden and be fine.. and i agree…
    :D ..
    i am definitely like elaine, not afraid to buy but afraid to sell..
    rose :D

  5. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    On NPR on Friday they said that housing in San Francisco fell 30%, and with the ?4.5%? interest rate a $300,000 house mortgage was down from $1500 montly to $800. With prices like that you can’t afford not to buy because you can’t rent that cheaply.

  6. Sara says

    Dear Tawra,
    I’ve been a reader for a long time and this is my first time posting. I guess I am one of those people who’s afraid of purchasing a home. It’s been my dream but since I don’t make enough money to save for the down payment, I would definitely be one of those people who purchases more home than they can afford.

    Where I live in CO, the median home price for the average-sized home is $450,000, which is way out of my price range. My mother and I relocated here from another state, because of job availability, but it’s a struggle. We were approved for low-income housing and this is the only way we were able to move into a better apartment. The rent here for a small 2-bedroom apartment starts at $1200, not including anything.

    Our dream is to move to another area in CO where the cost of living is not 102%, and to be able to purchase our first home. I do have faith in the lord and know that he will provide for us when the time is right.

    Thank you for all you and your mother do in providing encouragement and hope to your readers, especially during these very difficult times.

    ~Sara

    • says

      Sara I’m not sure what part of Co you live but I have been looking at houses for me in the 90,000 to 100,000 price range in Loveland and have found a whole bunch of homes in that price range there and in that area. One way to determine if you can afford a house is I usually figure without any down payment my monthly payment will be about 10% of the price of the house. For example a 90,000 house will run me $900 house payment. That price also includes insurance and taxes so I have no surprises or extras.

      Now of course that is just a ball park figure and different things apply but that is a general rule and usually the payment is less rather then more when I figure like this. If you really are serious you may talk to a real estate agent because they often know of many deals you can get like programs to help first time home owners and things like that where you don’t always need a down payment. Things maybe tightening up a bit but if you haven’t already, talk to someone and don’t just assume you can’t afford something.

      Of course if you are wanting a brand new top of the line home then that may not be do able but years ago people always would start with something used and small and work their way up. I’m not saying you fall into this category but I often see people who don’t even look at anything unless they can have their brand new dream home right off the bat. I just hate to see people throwing away $1,000 rent or more a month with nothing to show for it when they could even be paying less and have a home in the end to sell if they need too.

  7. Sara says

    Jill,
    Thank you for responding to my post. I probably should have been clearer about the rent cost. I was able to find a place for my mother and I, in a low-income area which costs $900.00 + utilities (and allows pets!), which surprisingly, is considered affordable around here, especially with a little dog.

    Since we want to buy a home, we took a free first-time homeowners class that was offered here, but pretty much know that we won’t be able to find anything here. This area’s real estate hasn’t really been affected by the housing crisis, which is good for people that own their homes but bad for the rest of us who want to buy or need to rent.

    I cannot move right now because I am paying off a large debt which we incurred due to medical reasons and some bad decisions. I have also looked for open positions around the area you mentioned, but nothing so far. I have to make sure that I have health insurance for me and my mom also has to find a position that offers it since she doesn’t qualify for Medicare yet.

    I am working on improving my skills and increasing my income by taking a tax preparation course which will hopefully land me a part-time job, which I’m told, can pay pretty well during tax season. With this additional income, I hope to take care of the debt, and can then focus on saving for the down payment and posible relocation somewhere more affordable.

    Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I appreciate that you take the time to reply to your readers, it’s wonderful. God bless you and have a great day.

    Sara

    • says

      You are welcome Sara and it sounds like you have a good plan lined up and are on target. Sorry if I was off track. It is a little hard to answer things sometimes without all the info. Keep up the good work and sounds like you are really headed in the right direction. There are times when you have spending under control just making more is the only answer.

  8. Ashley says

    This article made me smile because we just bought a house at the end of September. It is a big beautiful and CHEAP house! We weren’t even going to buy. Last year we were renting a tiny geriatric trailer because we wanted to use the money elsewhere. Then my family had a crisis. All of a sudden my mom was raising my younger brothers and sisters alone (11 are still at home). We thought she might need to live with us so we started looking. Oh my goodness was this the time to buy! We bought a 2,500 sq ft home with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and three living areas. It has a walled in yard and two car garage. It was built in 2007 and the original owners only lived here a year. All of this for a mortgage payment a tad over $1000 (with taxes and insurance).
    The house was a short sale and there are several others in the area just like it. So many people got themselves in a financial hole buying expensive houses, but now is the time for frugal people to get ahead buying a house while it’s so cheap. After all, we stock up on eggs when they go on sale. Why would we do any less on such a major purchase?

  9. Alisa says

    Dear Jill and Tawra, This is a very interesting article. Right now I am in the research phase of looking at homes in PA. Currently we live in NJ in a 4 bedroom 1 bath home. My daughter and her family moved back with us and we are all crammed in here. The taxes in NJ are killing us, $9,000 a year and between my husband’s disability and my salary we make about $45,000 a year before taxes. I need to move to a cheaper area but still close to NJ so I can visit my step children and grandchildren. So do I find a job there and commute even with the price of gas until I sell here and buy there? Do we sell here, buy there and then look for work? I’m confused about which steps to take first. What was your situation when you made your move?

    • says

      Alisa it is hard to advice on these things with out really knowing everything about your situation so please take what I say with a grain of salt. Personally I would get a job first. That way you can try to find a house close to where you work, find out more about the area you are moving too (the schools, is there a church close by, parks etc.) and you have the security of a job. I now advise people to try to buy a home as close to your job as possible with gas prices the way they are. We have to in some ways -not to panic anyone but to be realistic – need to think what if I can’t get gas at some point or don’t have a car is my work close enough I can ride a bike or walk?

      Tawra has done it different ways. They have moved where they had no job and didn’t know anyone before but their situation is a little unique now in that we can run the web site from any place in the world that we want and don’t have to worry about finding a job. We take our job with us.

      The reason they are moving to Colorado now is in the past house prices have been double and triple of what they are here in Kansas so we were pretty much stuck here. Now though the house prices there have have dropped really bad where here in Kansas they have stayed the same the same. This means they can now sell their house here and get one in Colorado for close to the same price.

      Plus you have to add in things like utilities, taxes, food is much cheaper in Colorado then here. Even little things add up for example they were paying $60 about for their business internet a month and in Colorado they will be only paying $15 a month for an even faster service. You need to factor in everything.

  10. Alisa says

    Thanks Jill. I will take some of your thoughts into account when I really start going full throttle into the house search. Lisa

  11. Stephanie says

    My husband and I just purchased an inexpensive new home that was less than what we were preapproved for, and would have a monthly mortgage payment that is the same as his army housing allowance.

    Our current rental is about 80 dollars less a month than we’d pay for our mortgage- but in our current rental our electric bills are in the 300-380 range during the summer (we use window air conditioners because we don’t have central air or anything here, even though we’re careful to save power in other ways), and in the winter we just deal with the cold and pile on the blankets to save money.

    The house we are having built is energy star certified, and our bills with refridgerated air would be about 100 or so, going by what it costs the builders in electricity for the model homes. So, while our monthly housing expense would be a little bit more, our total cost of living will go down a lot. Not only that, but we’re in an area with a vastly expanding military base that is bringing in tons of new people, so the value of our home will increase over time a bit faster than in other areas. It’s a win-win! We even found out from our mortgage company that our payments wouldn’t start until one month after we close, so that month of savings will be excellent to start an emergency savings fund for home repairs. That 930 plus 100 dollars a month will grow over time.

    It is almost always cheaper overall to buy a home than to rent, as long as you stick with something you can afford. My husband is up for promotion soon and we’ll have more money, but I’d rather pay off credit cards and our car loan than spend all our money on a huge house. This house has everything we want, and I’m so excited to move in!

    Now is such a great time to own a home. You’re never too young to invest in a house, as long as you get preapproved for the amount and you find something where you can afford the monthly payments. We are going to be in this area a long time and we figured, the sooner we buy, the more the value of the house will increase.

  12. Jan says

    I am not afraid to buy another house, I tried, but even though the market is good to buy houses, unless you have a very high down payment and a credit score over 750, banks don’t want to lend you the money. My current house is on the market, but I can’t move till it sells so I can get a really good down payment on the new one. I love my house and would stay here, except for the fact that when I retire at the end of the year, there is no way I can stay in this state, it’s way too expensive.

  13. Regina says

    Our house is paid for and we don’t intend to move. I would like to point out that buying a house involves buying a house and land. You can remodel or rebuild on a piece of land but the land is where it is. We bought where we did because we wanted a bigger piece of land for 4-H animals and a big garden. To do that we had to buy an older house farther out of town. For someone interested in reducing the house costs to afford more land, Trailersteading by Anna Hess has some interesting ideas. You always need to consider what’s happening in the area. Our area has massive unemployment and many unoccupied homes are vandalized. However the crime isn’t much worse here. The schools are suffering too. We stay because of grandkids, our church and the climate.

  14. michelle says

    my husband I would like to buy because rent is really high. Our problem is that we do not have a down payment and can not save one because rent is so high in our area. We were one of many who lost their home in the housing crisis. We did not buy more than we could afford and had 6 months salary saved when he lost his job and that was not enough to save our home because after 6 months he found a job at a huge cut in pay. But here is my question. Our landlord has offered to sell us our rental and do owner financing. The price is more than we want to spend but he will finance us at 4% with no mortgage ins. Our payment will be 550.00 less per month than our current rent and we can not rent anything else in our area for this amount. He will finance with a 10 year balloon. Should we buy?

    • says

      You know that balloon payment scares me. If you can’t afford to save enough for a down payment on a house then there is no way you will be able to save enough to have a balloon payment in 10 years. Even though we usually recommend buying, there are cases where if you can’t afford it then it is ok to rent. There are some positives to renting – you don’t have to spend a bunch on home maintenance for one thing. You said your payment would be $550 less a month but you need to deduct house insurance and things like taxes. I don’t have a clue how much that would be in your area but even if it is only $200 a month that that will make your payments just $350 less. Check that out before you make a decision. Also there maybe some closing costs and extra. This is where people can get hurt by not adding in every little cost.
      Here are a couple of other options you could try. Could you find an apartment to live in for awhile that is cheaper and then you could save, there may be other homes out there that would be owner financing, could your husband take a second job for awhile until you get enough for a down payment. But if it is more then you want to spend that is a red flag there and the 10 year balloon payment is another one.

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