Is home­own­er­ship within you reach

The Progress-Index - At Home - - FRONT PAGE - STATEPOINT

If you’ve ever thought about pur­chas­ing a home, you’re not alone. Called the “Amer­i­can Dream” for good rea­son, nearly four out of five renters now say that home­own­er­ship is a pri­or­ity for them in the fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors’ (NAR) 2013 Na­tional Hous­ing Pulse Sur­vey.

Home­own­er­ship is of­ten as­so­ci­ated with cre­at­ing a sense of com­mu­nity, mak­ing mem­o­ries and build­ing fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity. But if you’re a ren­ter, the pos­si­bil­ity may sound daunt­ing, par­tic­u­larly if you’ve heard that credit is get­ting harder to at­tain and mort­gage rates and house prices are ris­ing.

Own­ing your own home can pro­vide you with fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity and the op­por­tu­nity to build eq­uity over time -- so don’t make a de­ci­sion to take your­self out of the mar­ket be­fore do­ing your home­work and reach­ing out to an ex­pe­ri­enced hous­ing pro­fes­sional for guid­ance.

Why buy?

While renters are sub­ject to ris­ing rents, of­ten on an an­nual ba­sis, a monthly mort­gage pay­ment that stays the same for the en­tire pe­riod of a loan pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant sta­bil­ity, mak­ing long-term plan­ning and bud­get­ing eas­ier. So when de­cid­ing if home­own­er­ship is within reach, con­sider the added ben­e­fits of a 30-year fixed mort­gage rate. Not only will you have sta­ble pay­ments for 30 years, you’ll be build­ing eq­uity and can take ad­van­tage of cer­tain tax breaks.

Re­cent num­bers sug­gest that now is a great time to buy, ac­cord­ing to many in­dus­try ex­perts, as mort­gage rates are still his-

tor­i­cally low. Al­though rates have been ris­ing in the past few months, as of mid-Septem­ber, the Fred­die Mac u p d a t e o n mor t g a g e r a t e s showed the 30-year fixed-rate mort­gage rate still be­low five per­cent. In the early 1980s, the rates ex­ceeded 18 per­cent. And in an econ­omy that’s bounc­ing back from a re­ces­sion, po­ten­tial home­buy­ers are feel­ing more con­fi­dent -- with less con­cern about jobs and fore­clo­sures than in 2011, ac­cord­ing to the NAR sur­vey.

Home­own­er­ship may be within reach if you:

• Have re­li­able in­come, good credit and doc­u­men­ta­tion to ver­ify your sav­ings.

• Can af­ford at least a five per­cent down pay­ment plus re­lated clos­ing costs.

• Have ad­e­quate cash re­serves to with­stand a loss of job, long-term ill­ness, large main­te­nance costs or other fi­nan­cial set­back.

While home­own­er­ship can pro­vide many ben­e­fits, it’s im­por­tant to care­fully eval­u­ate your life­style and fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion be­fore div­ing in, par­tic­u­larly if you’re a first-time home­buyer. You’ ll also want to be­come ed­u­cated about the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with home­own­er­ship -- fi­nan­cial and oth­er­wise. It’s one of the big­gest fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions you’ll ever make and the more you know the bet­ter.

“Ed­u­cated bor­row­ers are bet­ter pre­pared for suc­cess­ful long-ter m home­own­er­ship and over­all fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity,” says Christina Di­azMalone, Vice Pres­i­dent of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Out­reach at Fred­die Mac.

To de­ter­mine if home­own­er­ship is right for you, and learn more about credit, mort­gage op­tions, and the mort­gage process, speak with your lender, or visit Fred­die Mac’s home­own­er­ship pages at www.fred­diemac. com/home­own­er­ship.

Don’t de­fer the dream of home­own­er­ship be­cause of what you may be hear­ing. Do your re­search and reach out to an ex­pe­ri­enced hous­ing pro­fes­sional. You may find that it’s an at­tain­able goal for you and your fam­ily.

STATEPOINT PHOTO

Nearly four out of five renters now say that home­own­er­ship is a pri­or­ity for them in the fu­ture.

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