Mcmansion north

Mcmansion north (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 12, 2012 — Realty Times Feature Article by Carla Hill

Attractive interest rates and bottomed-out home prices have many homeowners wondering if now is the time to make a move. Is the climate right for purchasing that dream home? It all depends on your personal needs, finances, and of course, the state of your local housing market. Find out if now’s the time to make a move by taking this quick quiz.

  • How much do you owe on your home? Many homeowners today find themselves owing more than their homes are worth. These owners should think long and hard before selling homes at a loss. 
  • What are your housing needs in the decade to come? Are you a new couple expecting to expand your family? Today’s market presents great deals that can facilitate you moving up to a bigger home.
  • Are you nearing retirement age? While it may be appealing to buy the dream McMansion you’ve had your eye on, it’s important to remember that bigger homes require bigger maintenance, something many seniors look to avoid. Still other families are moving up to bigger homes that have the room for multiple generations. 
  • Are you willing to take on a larger mortgage? Even though interest rates are low, a larger home will not only cost more in taxes and utilities, but you could also find yourself with a steep mortgage payment.
  • Do you have an 8-month emergency fund? There is still much uncertainty in the job market. Every household should be sure to saved back at least 8 months worth of cash for an emergency fund.
  • How are your retirement savings? The same line of thought applies to number five. Housing isn’t turning out to be quite the booming investment it once was and while home prices are starting to rebound, a home is never a substitute for a solid retirement plan that is in full swing.
  • Why are you buying? Is it for more space, a better school district, or to take advantage of today’s screaming deals? These can all be admirable pursuits. Are you instead buying for the status and prestige of a neighborhood? Homeownership is still a hefty responsibility, even with low interest rates and high levels of affordability. It should never be entered into lightly.
  • How quickly are homes selling? Most households cannot afford to carry two mortgages, so be sure that you are able to sell your home first before buying that dream home. Talk to your local real estate agent about the current market conditions, such as how long a home is taking to sell, sale prices, etc.
  • What do you need? This last question is more philosophical and may take some extra time and thought. After the 2009 recession, many consumers are asking themselves, “What do I really need?” Wants versus needs are sometimes a hard pill to swallow in a consumer-driven society, but many families are finding that they are happier with smaller homes and more family time. There are great deals to be had in today’s market. If your family is ready, financially and emotionally, for a move up, then be sure to contact your local real estate agent for more details on the condition of your local market and for some of today’s hottest listings.