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 Also see: Buying Guide | Mortgages

This Rentlaw.com article discusses if "today" is the right time to buy a home.

As a real estate agent, everywhere I go people ask if they should buy "today". While I specialize in commercial real estate, I enjoy selling anything. Homes are fine. Are you renting today, buying for an investment, looking to "stop throwing money away". 

Before you buy, know your goals. Are you the type that likes to move around or are you somewhat stable. The more you move, the more your related financing  and moving costs are.

In today's market, with the exception, it may be beneficial financially to RENT vs. BUY. IF you are inclined to become a homeowner today, I suggest you do your research. How?

 Start by identifying the areas you or you and your family could consider living in.  Get out a piece of paper and start taking notes on the areas. Bring a video or still camera and take pictures of what you like and don't like. Contact SEVERAL real estate agents in the area you are considering and give them your criteria - BE FLEXIBLE. While many of us like the idea of "move-in-condition", consider you can paint, sand floors or change a kitchen or bathroom. You just might save some money and have a bargaining edge, especially in markets where may units are on the market.

I tell people I know to find FIVE houses you like in an area, identify the strengths and weaknesses then begin making your offers. Your agent may not want you to, but do it. If you don't fall in love with house A, B, C, D - then you have the upper hand in buying "right" if there is such a thing.

In newer overbuilt communities or condo developments - you may find units the developer HAS to sell, what a homeowner has to sell, or an investor HAS to sell. Try to find out who is selling and for what reason. In the new "standard" communities where every house is the same - find out every house available or the MIGHT BECOME available.

RENTING  - you may want to continue RENTING vs. BUYING for all the same reasons. Many developers, investors or homeowners are "stuck" with their properties and are not willing to take a loss (actual or perceived) at this time. In many instances, it may be cheaper to RENT. The rent you pay them may cover their mortgages, taxes and insurance, which is more then what you are going to pay in rent.

The following from our Home Buying Guide

 

Mortgage Guides

Renters Insurance
Apartment Condo Home
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