Decide if homeownership is right for you

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 Deciding to buy a home in Today’s Market

COLDWELL BANKER provides tips to help First-time home buyers decide if now is the time to buy

For those with the financial wherewithal and lifestyle need, today’s market provides a potentially great opportunity to buy a home.  Homeownership can provide many financial, lifestyle and social benefits.  In today’s market, buyers also benefit from plenty of homes to choose from, low mortgage rates, home ownership tax advantages and home prices that are still relatively low in many markets, yet showing signs of stability.

However, many potential buyers may be hesitant because of unemployment concerns and other economic concerns. “Confusing” is an adjective that fairly describes the housing market right now. With the latest headlines warning against homeownership, and then others declaring it’s a great time to buy; it can be difficult to decide what to believe.
The professionals at Coldwell Banker offer the following advice to help potential first-time home buyers decide if home ownership is right for them right now.
Consider personal finances and lifestyle: First-time home buyers should carefully examine their financial and employment situation, lifestyle needs, wants and long term goals.  Free tools are available on that can help, such as the mortgage calculator that estimates monthly payments, rent vs. buy calculator that shows if buying or renting will cost less, and the affordability calculator, which helps determine how much buyers can realistically spend.
Find a trusted real estate professional: Real estate is local; what is happening in one town may be very different from what is happening in national headlines.  A local real estate agent can explain what’s occurring in the housing market in a specific town or city to help buyers make the right decision for where they live or want to live.
Consider the pros and cons of renting and buying: It is OK to ask whether renting is a suitable alternative. For those with projected short-term (less than 2-3 years) stays in a town, unclear job or relationship status or someone who likes the idea of a transient lifestyle, the prospect of renting may be a wise consideration.  And for those who do not yet have the financial means, steady income or have other fiscal restraints, renting may be the best choice for now.
Home buying is a personal decision: After taking personal financial and lifestyle situations into consideration, the decision to buy a home should be based on what works best for the individual buyer.  There are people with strong credentials who will argue the case for either renting or buying, but no real estate professional, economist, professor, or anyone else with an opinion should try to determine what is ultimately, emotionally and overall best for the buyer. Working with a trusted agent, who has done good research and the has the right tools, will allow potential buyers to make their own smart decision.