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.