Tuesday, February 10, 2009

To buy or not to buy is the question

If you any of you read my interview on FiLife last week, it's no secret that I'm simply salacious about real estate. It's up there on my shelf of "favorite things," along with shoes, fondue and Mad Men. One of the reasons why I can't wait till Love graduates law school next year -- aside from us moving back to California -- is that we can start saving to invest in said real estate. I want to own apartment complexes, office spaces, downtown buildings in San Francisco. I want to be Donald Trump (minus the horrible hairdo and gold-plated cufflinks), and even coming close would make me happy. This insatiable appetite for real estate is what keeps me addicted to HGTV -- especially shows like House Hunters and My House is Worth What? -- and what fuels my late-night searchfests on Zip Realty, bowl of sugar-free chocolate pudding in hand.

It appears that MarketWatch, as much as they share my love of real estate, seems torn on the issue of whether to buy in or not. They've written two lengthy articles: one trumpeting the merits to buy and the other explaining why not to. The dichotomy proved to be an interesting case analysis.

Reasons for buying a house:
  • Affordability is better than ever
  • You have a large inventory to choose from
  • Builders are offering big discounts
  • Mortgage rates are historically low
  • You can get a federal tax credit

Reasons against buying a house:

  • Prices are still dropping
  • This sale will be on for a while
  • You may not stay put
  • Your job could be the next to go
  • Your cash reserves will be eaten up
Within the personal finance blogosphere, there seems to be two camps of people: Those who are on Team Home and those who aren't. As much of a pessissimist as I make myself out to be, I'm still pro-real estate -- bad market be damned! Do you agree or disagree? More importantly, are you, too, addicted to HGTV? Don't lie!


Revanche said...

I'm pro-Home, but not right now. Y'know, what with needing a new job and all, it makes sense not to buy. All the good points are just so much noise if you don't have sustainable income. Otherwise, though, if your income is safe and you have the cash reserves, I would be more than happy to root you on.

Emilita said...

Wow, that was a nifty little interview you did.

And okay, not that I really know you beyond this blog, but I wanted to say I find your goals and career path pretty admirable. I hope that in a few years I can be where you are -- steadily progressing in my writing career, ready to invest in long-term plans like real estate with my long-term partner.

Though I'm probably going to do it on the east coast. :)

Anyway, thanks for continuing to share your financial and style insights!

Crystal said...

Revanche: Thanks! I agree that if you're freaked out losing your job, or don't have enough savings in reserve, property is probably a bad idea. Otherwise, God speed!

Emilita: Thank you so much for the compliments! That's very sweet of you. You can do anything you set your mind to (as cheesy as that sounds), and even though I don't know you outside of your blog, you seem like you've got a great head on your shoulders. I'm not worried about you. :)

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