I work with many investors and I also consult with the news here in AZ on stories as well as a fund manager each month, so I have a pretty extensive understanding of the investment market, just now going to be of much help there, you just need to find a great agent that will work well with you to achieve your goals.
West USA Realty
Invest wisely my friend. Crunch your numbers on good rental property and it will provide you with years of residual income. Some tips for good rental property:
-next to major services (grocery, banks, dining, etc)
-low crime rate
John J Mondello Jr, Realtor
"I find the house, you make it home."
Think real hard when buying a house. Will this house provide me what I want and need enough to justify losing all of this money? Would it be better to wait and get 1.25% a month in a money market (about $110 a month per $100k in the account) or spend it now? If prices appear ready to drop more would I be better off to buy now or pay rent for awhile? This requires looking at how much price drop you expect and compare it to lost bank interest and rent costs.
Once the money is spent it may never be able to be replaced. That is my position. The difference is I have saved a lot of years all I could to build up my nest egg. Is the house you are considering buying really good enough and fit your needs well enough to drain your bank account?
After you buy the house will you be able to afford to pay for insurance, (possible flood insurance), heat, taxes, electricity, replacement roofs, furnaces, flooring, and other problems as they arise (not if but when)? Buying a house is easy. Keeping it not so easy. Repairs will happen. Some minor, some major. Some sooner, others later on. Make sure you keep some cash (if possible) so when the furnace dies and you need $5,000 to replace it you can. It may not happen, but what if it did?
Things to find out about foreclosures.. This can and likely will affect all house prices.
By the numbers does it make more sense for you to rent or buy? Realtor costs (when selling)and closing costs (when buying) add together take a lot of cash from you. One realtor said it was about 12% of the purchase price. It may be more or less.
Why renting could be the best decision even if buying appears cheaper. A very different way to look at things below.
A way to look at interest rates when deciding to buy a house. Consider everything inside including the opposing ideas in the comments.
A basic overview of the house buying process. SImple and easy to understand.
Not to be found elsewhere. Questions that if asked can help you to avoid problems you would not even think of before buying a house. This is based on problems I have come across or read about.
Consider what the site below says.
The downturn in Kenosha came after new subdivisions sprang up all over the community during the national real estate boom. The financial crisis stopped home builders in their tracts and they haven't recovered yet. The long protracted downturn has slowed the local economy as it impacts as much as 40% of related industries, including home construction, retail sales and lumber.
Wisconsin residents are hearty people, who have a passion for the love of their state's outdoors. The government may give the area a boost with extra stimulus packages as Kenosha is forecast to sustain average housing deflation of 5.8% through 2010.
The place to start for step one is to decide to you want to add a mortgage or just pay cash. If using a mortgage also see a lender. If cash only set your limit and include costs for inspections, appraisals (no need to pay to much), title search and insurance (a necessity), a CLUE report (insurance history of the property), paying the lawyer fees and to register the deed. (I may have left out a few things.)
Once you have a number in mind that you will buy up to that amount start to interview a few real estate agents. Then see what the story is in your area and when ready make offers (one at a time).
Once you get an idea of what is out there and perhaps what price range, house specifics (how many beds/baths, how much property, how much square footage, neighborhood, etc.), then start interviewing agents. Your question is bound to attract a lot of agents who will tell you to contact them. Instead, interview as many agents in person as it takes until you feel comfortable with one who has the knowledge, personality, patience and an obvious interest in what you need/want. Do not settle or get pushed into anything that is uncomfortable for you.
All cash is great but leave room for other costs associated with buying a home (inspection and title search are important) as well as a comfortable cushion for the normal (and not always so normal) house expenses that crop up.