My Two Cents

your new equity

Surveys by the U.S. League of Savings Institutions and the National Association of REALTORS have documented the trends of the 1990s. Only 44 percent of homehuying households are made up of married couples with dependents. Unmarried couples, with or without dependents, now form a measurable segment of the homebuying population. As the 21st century approaches, older homebuyers make up an increasing share of the market, affecting the design of new housing and creating “trickle-down” opportuni ties for younger homebuyers in the form of the larger homes they leave behind. Real estate finance has also changed. Where Grandpa was offered a simple mortgage at a standard, fixed interest rate, today’s buyer can choose among hundreds of innovative plans, each designed to meet some borrowerís particular financial needs. The desire to retreat from the pressures of an increasingly crowded society, inflation, tax considerations, the need for self- expression: all enter into the decision to buy a home. When you own your own home you can play the stereo at midnight, keep a dog (keep two dogs!), plant a garden, drive nails into the walls wherever you want, and use your own washer and dryer. And the portion of your monthly mortgage payment that goes to reduce the principal debt acts as automatic, forced savings.

It takes just three things to buy a house: some cash, depend able income, and good credit. And if you’re lacking any of these three, no need to despair. Home ownership is still possible: there are techniques for overcoming each problem. Just be sure to level with the real estate agent you work with about your financial problems. A competent agent can recom mend appropriate financing strategy for your particular situation.

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