By Kay Wilson-Bolton
November 10, 2005
Buying a first home can be an unsettling experience. Lots of questions come to mind—usually in the middle of the night. How will I know a good house when I see it? How can I make sure I’m making a good investment? What if I pay too much and home prices drop? Should I wait until prices come down?
After years of hefty home-price appreciation, we all wonder how long the good times will last. History shows that real estate markets go up and they go down. However, over the long term in this country, prices have tended to move higher and a home is always a good investment.
I remember when we were selling homes at the end of the 1970s, when prices had taken a big jump, we had a hard time believing that prices could go any higher. The market did cool in the early 1980s. But today home prices are three to four times higher than they were then in some parts of the country.
Here are some house-hunting tips. Keep in mind the long view. Most of us live to ripe old ages and while few people ever plan to pay off their mortgage, assuming that you plan to make this house your home for least 5-10 years will take the edge of uncertainty. In this way you can ride out any downturns in the market and sell when the market improves. Try to avoid getting into a situation where you are forced to sell in a down market. Don’t be afraid to wait for a while until there is more certainty in your life.
Set your sites wisely on a home you can afford and put off til next time the home of your dreams. We all know that price often dictates our choices and keeping your sites set realistically will allow you to enter the housing market sooner.
Some buyers put off home buying plans for fear that the real estate market will fall. You could be kicking yourself next year when you haven’t bought and home prices are further out of reach.
It is often tempting to wait for a new housing development that is on the horizon. There is no guarantee of continued supply of homes in a region where “no-growth” is guided by the public will and SOAR initiatives govern where homes will not be built.
Our current market can be called a “seasonal adjustment” and that’s good. There is nothing on the horizon that says it will last. Now is an excellent time to buy while prices are more flexible.
The questions of “should I or shouldn’t I’” are best answered by a REALTOR® with some experience in the local market and have informed opinions or work in companies where this type of information is openly shared.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and can be reached at 805.340.5025.