If you have been weighing the possibility of buying your first home, now may be one of the best times in many years to buy. Don’t let negative news reports about what is happening around the country (in states much harder hit by the fallen housing market than New Hampshire ever was) deter you from one of life’s greatest moments… opening the door of a home that is completely yours.
There are many positive things about owning your own home, beyond just that satisfying feeling of a place that is “yours”.
- Equity: Yes, equity. It is coming back, slowly but surely and buying now when prices are low means that over the coming years, as your home’s value slowly increases; so will your equity. When you pay rent, your money is gone to improve your landlord’s financial health. Historically, homes appreciate by about 4 to 6 percent per year, and New Hampshire properties are holding fairly steady at this time. But, experts says real estate values are poised for that increase to return in the coming year or two. This means the home you might buy today will probably cost you more in a year or two. A smart financial move is to buy low when values are on their way up. That time has come. Remember homeownership is about building long-term financial stability. Though it is not a get rich quick investment like it was in the housing boom when values went through the roof, a home bought for $12,000 in 1962 is most likely worth 10 times that today.
- Stability: If you acquire a fixed-rate term on your mortgage you can safely rest-assured that your payment will be predictable. Fixed rate means your interest rate remains the same through the life of the loan and so will your payment. If your mortgage payment is $700 today, then it will still be $700 a month until you pay off the mortgage. This allows for people to budget and make solid financial plans. Homeownership generally has some very predictable costs, even the big ones; from cleaning the furnace once per year to replacing the roof shingles every 15 to 20 years.
- Great interest rates: Interest rates are at historic lows in the 4 percent range instead of 6.0 percent or higher. The lower your rate the less you pay per month and the less you pay over the life of the loan. It could mean owning your home in the end for much, much less in interest costs. Home prices, though fairly stable, are lower than they have been in many years which means they are more affordable than ever. If you have a steady income and cash for a down payment, you could qualify for more house than you might imagine.
- Freedom to choose: If you have rented you know that beige is the color of most everything in an apartment. Beige carpets, beige walls and beige tiles. And you can not just paint a room to make it your own or hang a picture on the wall without worry about repairing the hole to your landlord’s satisfaction. It is not your own home and none of the decisions are typically yours. There is a tremendous satisfaction that comes from painting your bedroom a color that you find warm and soothing to the senses. There is excitement and years of pleasure in seeing appliances that match your style in your kitchen. Owning your own home means you have the freedom to decorate and make it personal. It means you may plant a garden or a tree or create a flower bed that makes you smile.
- Neighbors and community: In an apartment your neighbors typically come and go. You may not like some of them simply because you hear their vacuum cleaner or television at odd hours and it invades your space. You may not know some of them because they move out quicker than the time it takes to form some sort of relationship. When you are part of a neighborhood of homeowners there is a long lasting connection to the people who live near you. There is more of a chance to get to know somebody and form a bond that you can count on for years to come.
Most people dream of owning their own home someday. Another great reason to buy now is that sellers, preparing for winter and the holidays are open and ready to hear reasonable offers so they can get on with their own plans for the coming New Year. If you find the right home now, you could be starting the New Year in a place that is truly your own.