Location, location, location … and now opportunity

Long time no post, will try to improve. I’ve been writing a great deal for others, the paid writing kinds of thing that sort of have to take a priority slot when you’re trying to pay the mortgage.

And speaking of mortgages …

Forbes magazine has just named the Big Tomato the nation’s worst housing market. I guess that means I shouldn’t be expecting a new neighbor in the empty house next-door any time soon. Like a lot of people, the owners leveraged their equity and got caught in the downdraft as they tried to sell. It’s approved by the bank for a short-sale — that means you can get it for less than is owed on it — but with so many houses to choose from in similar straights … well, at least it’s not a meth house.

The situation presents a great opportunity for those who want a house and were shut out by the go-go days of just a couple years ago. It’s back to basics time, no more speculation. Buy a house to live in, to raise your family in and consider it as a long-term investment last. In other words, make it your home. Save for a downpayment, figure your budget and don’t buy more than you can afford. Pay down your credit cards and consider dumping that nice car for basic transportation for a while. Many a rich person chose to drive a beater for a while as part of a long-term strategy for financial security.

I’ve lived through two crazy markets — the late ’80s and the most recent — and bought homes at the bottom of each of the upswings. Not smart, just lucky. But what I wanted both times was a home, a place to paint the walls any color I wanted, to do the yard as I wished and call it my own.

Am I happy that we’re the worst housing market in the country, according to Forbes? Not at all, because I know how many people have lost and will lose their homes. But if in the end we get more people thinking about home, community and what’s good in the long-term, we’ll all be better off for it.

Home ownership — not flipping houses as investments — is good for neighborhoods, and what’s good for neighborhoods makes a city thrive. So let’s get back to basics — and remember those basics when it all goes crazy again. Which it will.

4 thoughts on “Location, location, location … and now opportunity”

  1. How many times do I have to tell you people? DO NOT USE YOUR HOUSE AS AN ATM.

    Don’t refinance and take out the equity! Refi for a better rate, sure… but don’t sell your equity! YOU NEED IT!

    Don’t keep taking out seconds or thirds (“home improvement loans”) to redo your kitchen, bath, yard, whatever.

    Why can’t people be happy with what they have? Why can’t they just save? It’s not supposed to be easy.

    Sam

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  2. Sam has people skills; he is good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?

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  3. Sam, I hope the damned kids start staying off your lawn real soon so you can get back to concentrating on your police scanner. Oh snap!

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