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8,004 reasons now is a good time to buy a house

Is real estate at the bottom?  Will rates ever be lower? Will you ever be able to qualify for a loan again?  I don’t know the answer to any of those questions.  There certainly may be a better time to buy a house but lets look at whether this is a GOOD time to buy (or maybe even really good).  Here are my reasons 1 – 8004 that now is a really good time to buy a house.   

Reason Numbers 1 – 8,000:  Cold Hard Cash

Our government wants you to buy a house so much they are going to give you up to $8,000 if you are under a contract by April 30th to buy a primary residence and close by June 30th.  As long as you meet those deadlines you will qualify for tax credits of up to $8,000 (for first time buyers or $6,500 for repeat buyers).  This is a tax CREDIT not a deduction.  The $8,000 is a direct reduction of the income tax you pay so it goes directly back in your pocket!  $8,000 in cold hard cash is yours for the taking.

Reason Number 8001: Really, Really Low Mortgage Rates

Ok, so this song sounds familiar but fortunately this is a good thing for you.  While not at absolute rock bottom, fixed rate mortgage rates are unbelievably low.  According to financial publisher HSH Associates, Nationally 30yr fixed rates averaged just under 5.5% for January 2010 while 15 year fixed rates dipped to 4.9%.  The likelihood of us seeing higher rates in the next few months is much higher than it is for them to drop further.  An increase of just 1/2% on a $300,000 loan means nearly $100.00 /mo increase in your monthly payment.  

Reason 8,002: Procrastinators will pay more in loan fees

As I mentioned in an earlier post, FHA is increasing the cost of its mortgage insurance by 1/2% to 2.25% for all loan case numbers issued on or after April 5th 2010.  That’s an extra $1,500 in up front cost on a $300,000 loan just for waiting.  There is no reduction for first time buyers. 

Reason 8,003: You may not get a loan later… really

According to the Wall Street Journal, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are stuck with about $300 billion in loans that are 90 or more days delinquent and they have unleashed armies of auditors to sift through files looking for underwriting flaws so they can force lenders to buy those loans back.  As lenders face increased loan buybacks, guidelines will continue to tighten.  Average credit scores for loans backed by Fannie and Freddie jumped 40 points from 720 just two years ago to a current level of 760.  What do you think happened to the people with scores in the lower range?  The answer is simple, they didn’t get loans.

Reason Number 8004: Great Deals are happening all around you

I’m going to keep this part simple.  There are some amazing deals to be had out there.  statistically speaking, home prices are beginning to stabilize in many parts of the country and buyers with a bit of patience remain in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating a great deal. 

What to do next?

  1. Gather all your financial information (w2’s, paystubs, bank statements, etc)
  2. Meet with lender (I am happy to recommend one) to get started with your loan approval
  3. Find a great agent that will help guide you through the negotiating and paperwork (can recommend one here as well)
  4. Make your best deal
  5. Figure out how to spend your $8,000 tax credit

One Response

  1. Hey Neil,

    This is a great post, well done — I’m going to have to start checking in more often!

    I wanted to say thanks for mentioning HSH, it’s always appreciated. In case you’re unaware, we developed a document that’s attracting a lot of attention: it’s our “2010 Outlook for Mortgage Rates and the Mortgage Market.” (http://www.hsh.com/2010-Outlook.html) It examines the 10 most import factors that will impact rates and the market as a whole. Just thought you would find it useful.

    Again, great post, thanks for the mention, and I’ll talk to you soon,

    Tim Manni (HSH Associates)

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