After the erratic market we've had in real estate these last few years, there's a lot of pent-up demand for housing. Will 2011 be the year when buyers get off the fence? If you're one of those hesitating, here are some things to consider:
Why do you want to buy a home? The main reasons have little to do with finances. We buy our homes to have a good place to raise our children, a safe place for our families to live; to have more space, and control of that space. There is talk of 2011 being the year a house again becomes a home (as opposed to a short-term investment). If you do buy this year, be sure that you are buying a home that you can live in comfortably for awhile.
How long is awhile? At least until you can make some money when you sell -- experts are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 10% by 2015 for homes purchased in 2010. And prices are still down, so buying before they start back up makes a lot of sense.
Have home prices stabilized? In most of the country, they may slip a little bit more in 2011. But interest rates are starting to creep up, so you need to keep your cost (monthly payment) in mind when you are crunching numbers. Waiting for the rock bottom price won't do you any good if the interest rate came up while you waited. That teeny percentage stretched out over the life of your mortgage can cost you more in the end.
So go ahead and look. Your home is one of the largest investments you will make, and whether you're making your first purchase, trading up for a more substantial home, or downsizing, 2011 could be a great year in real estate. Sit down at your computer -- over 80% of home searches begin on the internet. It's the perfect activity for ffffffffreezing February!