8/19/10

to buy or not to buy, that is the question

We have to move. To Salt Lake. We're hoping for mid-November. I only have four requirements: I don't want to have to ascend stairs to get into my dwelling (I will have THREE children under the age of three), I need a washer and dryer, I need at least two bedrooms, and I don't want drug-pushing/drunkard/brothel neighbors like we did when we lived on 33rd South. In my fondest dream, I'd love to live in the older neighborhoods in the Avenues. Yes, I know, that's asking a lot. But I'm hoping if we keep a weather eye open and diligently and patiently wait, we may be able to find something.
We're getting a lot of advice to buy a house. Those words send bright red alarm bells off in my head because I've seen disasters happen for young marrieds who buy a house too soon. But even my conservative grandparents are advising it, saying rent is super expensive but buying houses are cheap right now. I feel so uneducated in this department! So I've set out to do some research, Trev and I are going to talk to an economics professor down the street, and I've already scoured the Springville Library's shelves for home buying books.
Right now we've decided to look at both renting and buying, and pray like crazy about it. Rent is extremely expensive, its hard to find anything in SLC with two bedrooms for less than $1000 a month. So a mortgage in comparison to that does look appealing. But if the market is so saturated right now making houses less expensive, who's to say it would be any better when/if we have to sell it in a few years, if Trev gets a different job? Blah. I just want to make an educated decision that will be good for our family, but I'm not sure I have all the resources to do that. A crystal ball could come in handy right now.

7 comments:

  1. Well, since you asked, I'll put in my two cents. I may be the lone nay-sayer, but my advice is to be very careful about buying. Even though rent is expensive, buying a house likely isn't worth your money if you don't plan on staying there for five years or more.

    For the first several years you're paying on a mortgage, all you are really paying is interest. After 2-3 years you will still have essentially no equity in your home.

    Selling a home is an expensive process as well. Even if the market hadn't crashed, Blake and I probably would have just broken even on the sale of our condo after closing costs and realtor fees and paint and carpet cleaning. With the housing market being hardest hit and the economic recovery happening at a slow pace, I wouldn't count on market values raising dramatically enough in a year or two to make buying worth it.

    Then, there's the whole mess about picking a good neighborhood and moving when you want. My cousin's advice is to rent in the neighborhood you think you might want to buy in first. Then you get to know the area, if you feel safe there, how the schools are, etc before you commit yourselves to it. It's also easier to look for a good deal on a house when you live close and don't have to drive long distances to get there. If you get a new job or want to move, you've got to sell your place first, which is much different than just giving notice to the landlord and getting out of Dodge.

    I have a lot to say on this subject because of our experience selling and also because we have been considering buying down here for quite a while. With all of my cautionary notices though, I will say this: I trust that you and Trevor will do what is right for you and your family. Your experience will likely be completely different than ours was.

    With some diligent searching on Criagslist and KSL and networking with friends and talking with a realtor, you will find the right place for you. I think you're completely on the right track by getting as much information as you can about your options. We REALLY liked the realtor we worked with to sell our place; we'd be happy to give you his number if you want to call him.

    And now I end my epistle to you my dear brother and sisters of Springville. Til we meet again!

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  2. Whoa! I just re-read your post. Maybe you weren't actually asking for advice and I just gave you a lot of unsolicited advice. Sorry if that was the case. You can just ignore my previous comment if you want.

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  3. If you are interested in moving into the East Mill Creek area of Salt Lake, my friends are putting their house up for sale. (But I'm not sure if it fits your qualifications, since you'd have to ascend a couple of steps to get to the front door - although you could go inside from the garage instead.)

    I can vouch for the neighborhood and ward, because it's my home ward. My family lives just down the street! (Although I understand your dream to live in the Avenues. Those houses are so lovely.) Here are some pictures that Canessa posted of the house:

    http://cbleeflang.blogspot.com/2010/08/for-sale.html

    I can put you in touch with them, if you are interested.

    Good luck! We'd love to buy a house, but we're not in a good financial position to do so...yet. Maybe in a few years! :)

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  4. We just bought a house and we are so glad we did! Our mortgage is less than what we were paying for rent and the place is at least twice as big. That said, we plan on living here for at least five years. Otherwise we may as well have just rented.

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  5. My one and only requirement for our next home is that it have a fenced-in yard.
    Just keep that in mind, because you may someday have a boy........

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  6. I have no advice on buying houses since I have never done it. In general it just kind of freaks me out and I'm happy to just stay in apartments for a while. But all that aside, I just wanted to say we REALLY ought to get together before you go! It's ridiculous that that's only happened once, and even though you aren't moving very far away, we still should do it. A Princess and Frog viewing party perhaps..?

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  7. We had been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the economy to do what it did so that we could finally get into our house. By an economy stand point, now is the time to buy. I look at my friends that bought early in their marriage and it was a good thing that they did. It really was a boost for them later on to already be a home owner. HOWEVER, you and Trevor have to do what your hearts tell you. If you don't want to own a house right now and are pleased as peach to rent, then do just that. Do what's best for you. Yes, listen to everyone's advice and weigh it carefully. I'm sure that your prayers will guide you to what's right. One more thing... patience is the key word.

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