Renting v. Buying
So, here are my thoughts...
Through my 20's I was always happy to rent for several reasons...
1) I couldn't really afford to buy in Washington or Chicago
2) I was never really sure I would be in either place long enough to think that buying was a good move for me
3) As I embarked on working at (a consulting firm) and traveled as much as I did, it was nice to not have the responsibility of home ownership...if something went wrong, all I had to do was call someone to fix it, I didn't have to deal with it
4) When the economy tanked, I was happy to be a renter because I felt like if things went south, I didn't have to worry about a mortgage. I could pack up and move home with very little to worry about.
Then I moved to Memphis...
1) I kept renting because I didn't know where I wanted to live and didn't want to commit
2) Then met John, got married and got pregnant pretty fast. Now I want a house badly...for the investment, for having a place that is our own to work on, and to have some security about having a home that can't be taken away by a landlord or something.
3) But we've had to save and it's hard because we kinda skipped the "starter house" era and are looking at the equivalent of a lot of people's second homes (a little bigger, something we can grow into)
4) We want to buy while the housing rates are still low (hahah now-ish)
5) We have been casually looking all fall and just signed on with a realtor over the holidays.
6) If we find something this spring before baby, I'd be happy...but ideally in the next year we'll find a place
7) The reality is that unless we buy a house at the very tippy top of our budget, a mortgage will likely be less expensive than our current rent.
8) The inventory stinks. Pretty bad. There is very little on the market in Memphis and things are moving really fast. Honestly, many houses are selling pre-market, just through word of mouth. We've looked at several houses via friends and many of them didn't ever go on the market at all.
From our perspective as investors: Builder confidence is at 9-year highs, and Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, estimates that new home sales will rise 41% this year to 624,000 and single family starts will rise 32% to 840,000. The homebuilders have sold off on margin fears even as mortgage rates have continued to fall. We believe that the housing market will continue its steady recovery and there are solid opportunities for long term investors in the housing stocks.
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